From time to time NBCW publishes leaflets and guides on issues of particular concern to Catholic women. These are available in hard copy on request, and also available as e-copies that can be downloaded from this website. All our publications are free.

These publications are the result of much research and consultation with various bodies and organisations that can give relevant input. They are not theological documents; rather they give practical information and advice.


On this page you will also find a section for articles written by NBCW members or friends on matters of particular interest to Catholic women.

Publications of the National Board of Catholic Women

Who joins the Catholic Church and why? Susan Longhurst, Diocesan link for Southwark Archdiocese (NBCW Vice President, 2023)

Susan is extremely grateful to the NBCW for funding her doctoral research which represents the first detailed sociological study of contemporary Britons undergoing Catholic conversion in the UK. Susan conducted this research at St Mary's University, Twickenham.

The increasing influence of secularisation and widespread religious decline has been reflected in the paucity of conversion research and sporadic academic interest over the last forty years. Inspired by recent research exploring adult initiation to Catholicism in the US and identifying significant parallels in the UK, this research sought to answer two key questions 'Who joins the Catholic Church and Why?'

The main aims of this research were to map the profile of individuals choosing to convert to Catholicism in 2018/19 and to explore the motivations, factors and experiences which had influenced their decisions to become Catholic. Using the Archdiocese of Southwark as a case study, a mixed methods approach was adopted, comprising a quantitative survey and semi-structured qualitative interviews conducted in a phased approach.

The construction of a demographic profile of contemporary British seekers in the Archdiocese of Southwark had important implications for tailoring adult initiation catechesis for a spectrum of religiosity. This study found that religious change could be explored using motif experiences, and found that the power of relationships both past and present had enormous power to spark religious awakening, especially for those identifying as 'Nones' or having no religious affiliation. This finding has important implications for grandparents in the role of transmitting faith and Susan has been asked to speak with the Grandparent's Network in several dioceses.

This research culminates in a range of recommendations for the Church's mission, recognising the opportunities to evangelise in the earliest stages of spiritual awakening, in conjunction with an ecclesial mindset of radical welcome and the role of post-initiation support in laying the foundations for a strong, Catholic identity. You can read more about Susan's research here.

Susan is a Lecturer in Religion and Ethics at St Mary's University, Twickenham and is UK Director of Mission at Sycamore, Roman Catholic Charity led by Fr Stephen Wang.


Helen Burgess, diocesan link for Northampton Diocese - representing the NBCW at Northampton Diocesan Assembly July 15th 2023.

I am Helen Burgess the NBCW Diocesan link for the Northampton Diocese. On the 15th of July 2023 I was one of 350 delegates from across the Northampton diocese who gathered at Thornton College for the Diocesan Synod Assembly, Pilgrims of Hope. As part of this process 5 working parties had been identified and I was asked to lead the women's ministry working party. I gathered a team and for many months we prayed, listened, reflected and eventually produced a report which we submitted to the assembly. You can hear an overview from the working parties here: and watch the live stream from the assembly here: All of the reports and preparation webinars are here: including the women's ministry webinar.

The synod team reflecting on the day said that "Through the prep sessions, through the webinars, and through the day itself there was a great sense of people coming together, and of a shared sense of purpose and openness to the Holy Spirit. At the beginning of the day we heard from Bishop David, the working parties and the youth stream. We even had a note of prayer and appreciation from Pope Francis. Then we moved into workshops, which were by turns reflective, passionate, and eye-opening. Stories of hurt and healing were told, and dreams shared for the future. Our final session gathered together some of the learning from the day, electrified by the youth stream. Bishop David shared with us three key words: koinonia - fellowship, working together against division; agape - laying down our lives in love for one another; and exousia He finished by telling us that

An action plan will be finalised over the summer to address the main concerns of the listening.
Every area of diocesan life will be encouraged and supported as we look to meet the changing needs of our Church and the world.
A new Diocesan Pastoral Council will take forward the agenda of the Assembly
As delegates we were all encouraged to become ambassadors for the Assembly, and we finished the day with a beautiful period of prayer and worship. We thank everyone who worked so hard to make the day a success". (

As the NBCW Diocesan link I was able to host a stall promoting our work and with the help of Sister Miriam from Turvey Abbey (NBCW Women in the Church Committee) produced postcards to advertise what we do and who we are. All in all it was a very inspiring process and we look forward to subsequent steps.

Helen Burgess

The feminine voice in the Synodal process

Written by: Barbara Cookson, St Aelred's York (Middlesbrough Diocese)

Women of Middlesbrough Diocese, we need to hear you. Do not be afraid to speak up. Many parishes like ours will be continuing to hold synodal gatherings during January and early February. The discussion groups we have held using the spiritual conversation process recommended in the Vademecum have been very well received. It has been really encouraging to hear people who would normally remain silent be directed by the Spirit to make valuable contributions.

Since 1968 when the Humanae Vitae encyclical of Pope Paul VI was published, many women of childbearing age have tended to hold themselves remote from the mainstream of Catholicism. For many, the Church's sexual teaching is simply not reconcilable with societal changes in women's education and expectations that have taken place in the United Kingdom since 1968. These include various items of equality legislation promoting equal pay and opportunity. A woman of today cannot
choose between a Catholic marriage with a family supported by a well-paid husband, and a holy life of virginity as the Church's teaching appears to anticipate. Is the Holy Spirit truly asking women capable of very high academic achievements to choose instead motherhood and poverty. This may indeed be the answer that should go forward in the synodal process, but it would really be helpful if we could hear more feminine voices on this vital topic.

Do not be afraid. Even in 1968 and referencing one of the documents of the Second Vatican Council, the Pope said that "men (sic) of science can considerably advance the welfare of marriage and the family and also peace of conscience, if by pooling their efforts they strive to elucidate more thoroughly the conditions favourable to a proper regulation of births". Men of science have not responded. On November 1, there was a debate in Parliament that had been originally promoted by David Amess on the need for research into endometriosis, for which the contraceptive pill is the only offer. Society and the Church must move in harmony and in dialogue on this topic.

The synod is not a survey. There are no recriminations and if your parish priest is embarrassed by mention of menstrual blood, the menopause and endometriosis, counselling can be arranged.

The Adsumus prayer is well worth meditating on as you consider your response. We must not let ignorance lead the male hierarchy of the church down the wrong path nor partiality influence its actions. If you don't want to speak at a meeting at least ensure you contribute your thoughts in writing and extend the invitation to those Catholic women and girls who have been placed on what Pope Francis calls the periphery. They are still beloved members of the church and we must recognise that.
If, after you, your neighbours, friends or daughters wish to speak up and cannot participate in advertised parish events, then they can contact the Diocesan team via

Barbara Cookson
St Aelred's York


A thought-provoking evening. Challenging questions. Read the report

Book Review: Rescued: The Unexpected and Extraordinary News of the Gospel by Riccardo, Fr. John

Book Review: Rescued: The Unexpected and Extraordinary News of the Gospel by Riccardo, Fr. John

By Sue Petritz,

NBCW Diocesan Link for Arundel and Brighton & Women in the Church Committee

One of my Christmas requests was for a copy of Rescued: The Unexpected and Extraordinary News Of The Gospel. I couldn't put it down. Fr John Riccardo the American priest and author has an engaging style and the experience and background to offer a new insight on our understanding of the good news.

A recommended read from Bishop Robert Barron with a foreword by Scott Hahn, this American published paperback of just 184 pages makes it a doable read whatever your time constraints.

What make this an inspirational read, is the constant feeling of ' Gosh I never thought of faith like that , or in that way'. Each chapter opens up a new understanding of aspects of faith, of what God has done for every one of us. I dare you not to find the pages on the immensity of Creation, mind blowing.

The three paramount questions asked by everyone: Why am I here? Where am I going? How do I get there are considered by the author. It is his stories and reflections that link those three questions and provide answers, bolstered by his constant referral to scripture and life's experiences as he leads us through the four stages that ultimately enable us to be 'rescued'.

As if we needed to be reminded that God is not boring or insignificant Fr Riccardo jolts us out of such a mundane view. He rightly says that not many have spoken of Jesus being 'a warrior on the cross: fighting for us'. And what about the heart of the Gospel being God has done all this 'because we matter'. So that Jesus from the cross says to each of us ''You are worth the trouble. You are worth my becoming man, being scourged, crowned with thorns, and going to the cross. You are worth dying for. You matter to me!'

In the final chapters, the author provides eight ways in which Jesus by his cross and resurrection has made a difference? How can we possibly resist responding to God's love? We can't or shouldn't. Ours is the Mission Response the author sets out in chapter 16 & 17.

Read this book and I dare you not to be motivated to act towards 'Helping God Get His World Back'.

Read, enjoy and …share. Also available as an audiobook.

Rescued: The Unexpected and Extraordinary News of the Gospel by Riccardo, Fr. John (ISBN: 9781593253813) from Amazon's Book Store.

£10.91 · In stock

Raising Awareness of Domestic Abuse - A Resource Pack (booklet)

2nd edition 2020

The incidence of Domestic Abuse has risen dramatically since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of the UK in March 2020. This booklet gives practical advice on what constitutes abuse, how to recognise if abuse is occurring and how and where support can be given. It is a toolkit for lay people and clergy. It has been sent to all Bishops and is being made available to all parishes. "It poses the questions that many of us want to ask, and offers practical guidance and advice, clearly explaining the Church's teaching on this matter." Rt Rev Terence Patrick Drainey, Bishop of Middlesbrough.

Download Here

Who can receive communion with us? (leaflet)

December 2020

A leaflet giving guidance to lay people on when Christians from other Churches may receive Communion in a Catholic church. This is available in two formats:

Printable double-sided trifold leaflet (set printer to landscape) Download print version

If you would like to order a number of leaflet please send us your details via contact us

NBCW Safeguarding Policy

Download here

Receiving the Gifts - Women and Receptive Ecumenism (booklet)

July 2019

Receptive Ecumenism is about learning from and listening to those in other Christian Denominations. This is a report of a research project sponsored by NBCW, delivered in the form of a very accessible toolkit for groups wishing to hold workshops on this subject.

This is available as a high-resolution version suitable for printing. Download Here

It is also available as a faster download to view on phone or online. Download here

Decision-making about care in the Corona Virus Pandemic (leaflet)

April 2020

A helpful overview of the care decisions you may face during the Corona Virus. This brief guide raises important points to consider when making choices about your care, and clarifies how you can be sure that your decisions are known and respected.

Download Here

NBCW Guide to the Annulment Process (booklet)

4th Edition 2019

A booklet designed to give information and guidance on the legal process in applying for a Declaration of Nullity. It explains the process, and in clear language demystifies some of the terms used by the Marriage Tribunal.

Download here

Women and Poverty

The Coronavirus has had a devastating effect on the economy and poverty is increasing in the UK. This booklet (currently being updated) is a toolkit offering encouragement and guidance for women, inspired by Catholic Social Teaching, who want to engage in the political processes relating to women's poverty.