The movement within the Roman Catholic Church known as Roman Catholic Womenpriests (RCWP) began with the ordination to the priesthood of seven women on the Danube River in Passau, Germany in 2002 by canonical male bishops. In 2003, three canonical male bishops recognized the need for womenbishops to ordain womenpriests. They ordained two womenpriests as bishops: Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger and Dr. Gisela Forster. As the movement spread, the need for English speaking bishops emerged. In 2005, Dr. Patricia Fresen from South Africa and Germany was ordained bishop. In 2006, Dr. Ida Raming, also from Germany, was ordained bishop.
As more women presented themselves for ordination in the US, Rev. Sibyl Dana Reynolds traveled to Germany from the RCWP Western Region in 2008 and became the first Roman Catholic Womanbishop in the US.
In 2009, four women, Joan Houk, Andrea Johnson, Bridget Mary Meehan and Regina Nicolosi, were ordained bishops to serve other US regions. With growth in the movement and bishop retirements, there have been additional womenpriests ordained bishops to serve the needs of the people.
All of the womenbishops have been ordained in full Apostolic Succession using the approved Ordination Rite of the Roman Catholic Church. The womenbishops carry on the work of ordaining women in the Roman Catholic Church.
The first RCWP ordinations of womendeacons and womenpriests in North America were held on the St. Lawrence Seaway in Canada in June 2005. The first RCWP ordinations to take place in the United States were celebrated in July 2006 on the convergence of the rivers in Pittsburgh, PA, where eight women were ordained priests and four women were ordained deacons.
The number of womenpriests continues to grow. Since 2007, women have been ordained in the USA, Europe, Canada, South America, and South Africa; and, in 2017, the first Chinese woman was ordained. Womenpriests are ministering in over 35 states across the USA.
As we grow from the seven bold women first ordained on the Danube River in 2002 to Women Priests ministering throughout the world, Catholics have accepted us as their priests. Cordero, Juanita, and Suzanne Avison Thiel. Here I Am, I Am Ready. Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA, Inc., 2018.