News and events Tilburg University

Fund for Women & Theology established after donation of over € 1 million

Published: 04th February 2021 Last updated: 05th February 2021

The Congregation of Women of Bethany and Tilburg University have together established the Women & Theology Fund with an endowed chair on 'Moral Formation'. In this way, the Women of Bethany and Tilburg University aim to further develop the subject of Women and Theology. This fits in with previous research and teaching through the appointment of two women professors as part of the Philip Eijlander Diversity Program. The congregation decided to donate € 1,050,000 to the Tilburg University Fund Foundation.

The Women of Bethany are a religious congregation within the Roman Catholic Church, founded in the Diocese of Haarlem in 1919 under the inspiration of the Jesuit priest Jac. van Ginneken. The congregation's goal was to train women to support low-educated families in difficult circumstances especially with faith education and catechesis. From the very beginning, the work of the Women has been characterized by a great openness to non-Catholics and to ecumenism. At present the congregation still has eleven members in the Netherlands and three members abroad, namely in Austria, Spain, and the USA. A number of them are still very active, despite their often advanced age.

Cooperation with Tilburg University

The Women of Bethany want to pass on the torch of their inspiration so that it may live on in others. They looked into the idea of financing projects that support workers in their (biblical-theological) training and their formation, spiritual development, and the promotion of their expertise. And to focus on women in this respect.

Many of the Women were educated at theological institutions in Amsterdam and Utrecht which have now merged with the Tilburg University School of Catholic Theology. The Women of Bethany therefore decided to seek cooperation with Tilburg University. They did so in the form of a donation of € 1,050,000 to the Tilburg University Fund Foundation, the largest donation to date for the University Fund. This donation has been set up as a named fund with a purpose within the Tilburg University Fund Foundation ANBI (public benefit organization). For this donation, the Women of Bethany obtained authorization from the Bishop of Haarlem-Amsterdam.

The donation has a specific purpose: the establishment and funding of an endowed chair on 'Moral Formation', a senior research fellowship, a PhD position in the broad field of catechesis, religious education, Catholic education, new evangelization, or new apologetics, a fellowship on 'Catholic Social Thought and/or Catholic Theology' for advanced study by students, and a training program for young theology teachers.

Later this year, the formal start of work under this Women of Bethany Fund will be marked with a festive signing ceremony on campus. The Women of Bethany, the Bishop of Haarlem-Amsterdam Msgr. Dr. J.W.M. Hendriks, and the Presidents of the Executive Board, the Board of Governors, the Tilburg University Fund Foundation, and the Board of the Tilburg School of Catholic Theology will be present at this ceremony.

Note to editors

If you would like to attend the signing ceremony later this year or if you have any questions, please contact the press officers of Tilburg University, e-mail:, phone (+31) (0)13-466 4000. More information can be found in this interview.