Tricia Gemmell’s Speech for the Avila book launch of ‘In Her Voice’

March 16, 2023

I want to thank you all for coming here tonight to celebrate with us, not just the publication of In Her Voice, but the whole journey that Australian Women Preach has been, and continues to be for those of us who produce this weekly podcast, aiming to model the church we want to be: diverse, inclusive and welcoming.

Without the Plenary Council it may never have come into being.  For the first time in living memory Catholics were asked to speak boldly and listen deeply to one another, to discern amongst us the voice of the Spirit of God.  From very early on, as a facilitator of listening sessions, I repeatedly heard people unhappy with the Sunday sermons they were hearing, desirous for Scripture to be interpreted in a way that was relevant to their time and place.  That was the seed.

Sometime during 2020 I tentatively shared this idea with Tracy McEwan, Vice-President of WATAC at the time.  Why don’t we just find a woman to preach every week, to normalise the voice of a woman breaking open the Word of God? The rest, as they say, is history.  Tracy is an amazing facilitator.  Not only that, she had WATAC networks at her disposal.  A passionate feminist, she embraced the idea wholeheartedly, and almost before we knew it, we had the most wonderful working team you could imagine.  It has been an absolute joy to be a part of this.  Spread across the country, we meet weekly on Zoom and it is always one of the highlights of my week.

We launched ourselves into the podcast world on International Women’s Day 2021, and we are now celebrating our second anniversary with this book, In Her Voice.  It contains 28 sermons from the last two years, chosen with a view to reflect the diversity of our women preachers, in terms of age, geographical location, family origins and cultural heritage.  While most are Catholic, we chose to include women who came from other Christian denominations – most of these being regular preachers in their own churches.  Read the biographies at the end of the book and be amazed at the wealth of talent there.   Read the homilies and see the depth of scholarship and insight, provoking you to rethink what you thought you knew.

We are proud of what we have achieved in raising women’s voices, in demonstrating that women too hold the Spirit-given charism of preaching the Word.  Let’s hope we don’t have to wait too much longer to see and hear them in church.

In the meantime, read the book and be convinced for yourselves.

In Her Voice: Raising Women's Voices in Preaching the Gospel is published by Garratt Publishing, RRP $29.95. 


Tricia Gemmell has a Masters in Theology, is a member of the Australian Grail, and has been a parishioner of St Leonard's Naremburn for 35 years.