The women also include Leslie Ferrar, former Treasurer to the Prince of Wales.
She will take up her new role on September 17th.
Ms. Kelly, a member of Opus Dei, served in the Labor Government between 2004 – 2008 as the Secretary of State for Education and then joined HSBC Global Asset Management as Global Head of Client Strategy.
Pope Francis set up the Council for the Economy in 2014. It is currently headed by Cardinal Reinhard Marx. The council sets policy guidelines for the Secretariat for the Economy that Pope Francis established in the same year.
The Council is comprised of eight Cardinals or Bishops and seven lay people with strong professional financial experience.
Anthony McClaran, Vice Chancellor of St. Mary’s, said: “To be appointed as a member of the Council for the Economy in the Vatican is a huge honour and I’m sure that someone of Ruth’s experience and background will be a major asset to the Council in its important work.
“Ruth leaves St. Mary’s at the end of August and we would like to offer our good wishes for the future and thank her for the very considerable contribution she has made to St. Mary’s.”
Ms. Ferrar, a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, was Treasurer to the Prince of Wales, from January 2015 until July 2017. She was educated at Harvard Business Scvhool and the University of Durham. On leaving the Royal Household she has taken on a number of non-executive and trustee roles.
The council is divided between lay members and bishops. The appointments represent the most senior roles for women in the Catholic Church to date. Pope Francis has made it a personal commitment to enhance the roles of women.
This article was first published in The Tablet and was written by Ruth Gledhill. Photograph by Fiona Hanson/PA Archive/PA Images