A First for a Canadian Scholar
SHANNON FARRELL of Edmonton is the first Canadian woman to receive a Licence in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute - the "Biblicum" - in Rome.
The licence marks a prestigious level of scholarly achievement: Farreil is now on her way to a doctorate in Sacred Scripture and is studying in Jerusalem.
The 35-year-old Edmonton native, a member of St. Joseph's Basilica Parish, is the daughter of Clifford and Betty Farrell. (Betty is a national council member of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace.)
Farrell attended St. Catherine's School and Assumption Academy in Edmonton, and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English at Carleton University in Ottawa.
IN ADDITION, she received bachelor's and master's degrees in theology from Newman Theological College and studied overseas in Germany and Italy as well as Jerusalem. Farrell is also an accomplished linguist and speaks French, German, Italian and Hebrew fluently, and reads Greek.
She celebrated her achievement with Pope John Paul II at his early morning Mass on Oct. 15 - coincidentally, the Feast of St. Theresa of Avila, a doctor of the church.
In a letter to the WCR, Farrell writes that her joy in her accomplishment was "not for my own sake, but in the name of the Canadian Catholic church and Canadian women everywhere."
Farrell was one of only 15 women studying at the Biblicum, whose student body also includes 300 men.
THE BIBLICUM (and related Catholic enterprises in France and Jerusalem) was born at the end of the 19th century with the purpose of defending Catholic orthodoxy and contributing to a field of knowledge revolutionized by historical, archeological and literary discoveries.
The basic structure of the institute was laid down by Pope Pius X in 1909.