Chicago, IL 60644, United States
Durkin graduated from Siena High School.
6363 N. Sheridan Rd., Chicago, Illinois
Durkin went to Mundelein College (now part of Loyola University).
1025 E 58th St, Chicago, IL 60637, United States
Durkin had a seventh child while studying part-time over nine years to earn first a master’s degree and then a doctorate in theology at the University of Chicago Divinity School.
After graduating from the since-closed Siena High School, Durkin went on to Mundelein College (now part of Loyola University). She had a seventh child while studying part-time for over nine years to earn first a master’s degree and then a doctorate in theology at the University of Chicago Divinity School.
In the mid-1970s, she became an assistant professor in religious studies at DePaul and taught returning adult students in DePaul’s School for New Learning. She also spent time as a visiting faculty member at Loyola University’s Institute of Pastoral Studies. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, she was an assistant professor of religious studies and director of the Office for Moral and Religious Education at the University of Dayton in Ohio.
Durkin's works focus on family, women, marriage, and sexuality. She collaborated with Joan Meyer Anzia in writing Marital Intimacy: A Catholic Perspective. The authors emphasize the importance of sexual love as being representative of faith and as the force that can revive a relationship that has faltered, enabling both partners to get beyond their misgivings and start over.
Durkin, her brother Greeley, and others wrote the study Parish, Priest, and People: New Leadership for the Local Church, in which they compare two churches, one in Chicago, and the other in a more modern and affluent Chicago suburb. They examine what brings people back to the Church and how the community of the Church can be enhanced by the leadership of the parish priest.
With Feast of Love: Pope John Paul II on Human Intimacy, Durkin paraphrases the meditations of Pope John Paul II on the beginning chapters of Genesis, presented to public audiences over the course of a year, and provides her own response and summary. She writes that the first three chapters have more to say about sexuality than is commonly thought and that they elevate the partnership of the man and the woman with God. Durkin presents the Church's historical stand against birth control and that Catholics have drifted away because of it.
In How to Save the Catholic Church, Durkin and Greeley bemoan the loss of Church identity, piety, and discipline since Vatican II. They write that the Church continues to devalue women and sexuality and has allowed its support of scholarship and the arts to be diminished. The solution, they say, is to return to old-fashioned tradition and to accept the practice of birth control. They also advise that God can be found in all things and situations. Durkin and Greeley do not write about life issues, including abortion, race, world hunger, and capital punishment.
Sexuality is Durkin's examination of the subject in practice, from the biblical view, and as it has been looked upon by the Church in the past and may be in the future. Durkin's feminism allows her to approach sexuality from angles the mainstream tradition did not consider, without neglecting the wisdom in the traditional views.
Durkin and Greeley collected a diverse group of writings from the Bible, the Koran, and by prominent authors, including William Shakespeare, Thomas Moore, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and others for The Book of Love: A Treasury Inspired by the Greatest of Virtues. The volume is divided into sections with titles that include "Married Love," "Family: The Birthplace of Love," "Friendship," "Everlasting Love," "Love of the Neighbor and the Stranger," and "Senior Love." The range of works includes poetry, music, stories, folklore, and children's tales.
Along with her husband, Durkin was active in many Chicago Catholic organizations, including CANA Conference of Chicago and Chicago Area Lay Movement. In the 1960s, she founded Ladies Theology, an educational and speaker series that became Theology of Park Ridge and ran for decades. She also worked on the revitalization of Old St. Patrick’s Church in Chicago.
Durkin was committed to Catholic social justice action and supported the efforts of Concern Worldwide US, a global humanitarian organization. The Catholic Church was a very important vehicle for her to do great things with her life.
Durkin's husband's name was Jack. Together they had 7 children. She is survived by her daughters Laura, Eileen, Anne, and Elizabeth; her sons Sean and Daniel; and 18 grandchildren.