Emily & Rosemary Fund for Women in the Church

Voice of the Faithful has administered the grants awarded under the Fund. Disbursement was completed in 2012.

The Emily and Rosemary Fund was established to support women who lose employment in the Roman Catholic Church as the result of injustice or discrimination, and to help women who are working to bring about justice and equality in the Church.

Initiated by Lynette Petruska, an attorney practicing in St.Louis MO, with a donation of $75,000, the fund honored her grandmothers, Emily and Rosemary, two women whose devotion to their families and to the Church inspired Lynette.

Lynette established the Fund in response to the injustice and discrimination she experienced after opposing sexual harassment and other sexual misconduct at Gannon University in Erie PA, where she was appointed the first female chaplain in 1999:

"I was fortunate to have a profession to which I could return but many women serving the Church find themselves and their families at great risk when targeted by discriminatory practices or when they stand up to injustice. This is my way to help, at least in a small way."


During the life of the Fund, Voice of the Faithful administered five application periods. The Committee assessing applications reviewed 32 requests from 14 states and 21 dioceses and awarded 10 grants; average value of each grant was $6,820.

Voice of the Faithful thanks Lynette Petruska and the Committee members for their generosity and their efforts to help overcome the obstacles of gender discrimination and injustice within the Church.

The information below details the grants awarded and provides information about the announcements and the Fund background.

Grants Awarded

VOTF Press Release

Who Are Emily and Rosemary?

Lynette Petruska's Story

Statement by Barbara Blaine, President of SNAP

Review Committee

  • AnnDrea Benson
  • Sister Anne McCarthy
  • Mary Freeman
  • Sheila Connors Grove
  • Svea Fraser