• Entry type: Organisation
  • Entry ID: AWE0709

The Grail

(From 1937 – )
  • Occupation Religious organisation


The Grail is an international women’s movement , which describes itself as ‘a spiritual, cultural and social movement of women grounded in Christian faith and committed to the vision of a world transformed into a global community of justice and peace’. It was established in Sydney in 1937 after the arrival in 1936 of members of the Women of Nazareth, an international lay Catholic women’s organisation with its headquarters in The Netherlands. It sought a new and significant role for lay women Catholics in the church. In the view of Sally Kennedy, author of Faith and Feminism, ( Sydney 1985), ‘it combined a strong sense of women’s potential in the Catholic Church with a realistic appraisal of women’s powerlessness in it, and a high level of pragmatism to overcome this’. Its original focus was on the concept of specialised long-term training of youth leaders. Its focus is now ‘upon women’s education and personal development, on social and cultural critical analysis and organised action grounded in conviction’. It has centres in Sydney and Melbourne.

Published resources

  • Book
    • Faith and feminism: Catholic women's struggles for self-expression, Kennedy, Sally, 1985
    • Truly feminine truly Catholic: a history of the Catholic Women's League in the Archdiocese of Sydney 1913-87., Carey, Hilary M., 1987
    • Women breaking boundaries: a grail journey., Kalven, Janet, 1999
  • Resource

Archival resources

  • The Grail Centre, Sydney
    • The Grail records

Related entries

  • Member
    • Reid, Elizabeth Julia (1915 - 1974)