Mary Daly, the self-described "radical lesbian feminist" theologian, provocateur (provocateuse?) and prolific author who, in the overly polite words of The Boston Globe, "tussled" with Boston College (over many things, but particularly over her decision not to admit men to her classrooms) has died, at the age of 81.
Tussled? Her explosive efforts to bar men from her classroom at the Jesuit school led to a suit filed by a male student in 1999, which eventually led the administration to attempt to force her to accept men into her classes, which led to her retirement. That story is told here in a BC press release of the time. Daly countersued, maintaining that she was forced out against her will. (Few things, as I recall from the time, could drive the faculty and students at BC to distraction as her case, but de mortuis nihil nisi bonum.) The Globe quotes Robert Daly, S.J., her colleague in the theology department: "She basically fairly clearly defined the outer limits of radical feminist theology," said Fr. Daly, who chaired the theology department during much of Mary Daly's tenure—and was not related to her. "People around the world are generally grateful for her having done that."
Said Sr. Joan Chittister, O.S.B., an admirer: "Her legacy is a cloud of women witnesses and male theologians, too, who have now been released into whole new understandings of what the tradition really holds and really means for all of us, male and female. She was a great thinker, she was a great icon. She will be maligned by some, but history will see her very differently." The Globe's obit is here. NCR's lengthy take here. And NPR's take is here. Lawrence S. Cunningham of Notre Dame describes her as the "gold standard" of radical feminist theology. RIP.