Sunday, October 25, 2015

Bringing Women’s Voices to the Synod on the Family

I hope you enjoy this guest post by parishioner Chiara Brown.
God Bless,
Fr. Chuck

Bringing Women’s Voices to the Synod on the Family

I recently returned from a trip to Rome, where I had the privilege of participating in the book launch and symposium for the recent Paulist Press book release, Catholic Women Speak: Bringing Our Gifts to the Table. The book is a collection of essays by Catholic women sharing their lived experiences and voices, created specifically to help remedy the scarcity of female voices at October’s Synod on the Family.

As translator for two of the book’s articles by Italian theologians Lucetta Scaraffia and Cettina Militello, and through the generous gift of the sisters of the Society of the Sacred Heart (RSCJ), I was able to attend the symposium. There we heard theologians such as Ursula King (one of the first women ever to earn an MA in Theology) and Elizabeth Johnson speak on changing role of women and family, as well as theologians and sociologists from the global south such as Nontando Hedebe and Ana Lourdes Suárez speaking on the effects of poverty and marginalization on women and families, and finally theologians including Lucetta Scaraffia and Cristina Lledo Gomez speaking on how women can “bring their gifts to the table” within the Church. The discussion was passionate and informative, with women from around the world and from various perspectives sharing their true, lived experiences, wrestling with the problem of how to have these experiences and perspectives heard and acted upon by the Church hierarchy.

During the Symposium, we were treated to the good news that the book’s editor, Tina Beattie, was able to have copies of the book delivered to the Synod for the bishops to read. We were later told that the books were quickly snapped up, so we are all eager and prayerful that the message of the book has been heard by the bishops and taken to heart.

A few of us also took the occasion to attend the Pope’s General Audience on Wednesday, and it was a real experience to be in St. Peter’s Square, amongst thousands of the faithful, to see our Pope Francis in person! I have to admit to some disappointment that I missed seeing him coming by in his Popemobile, because everyone’s hands shot up with their cameras to take his picture, effectively blocking my view, but I was thrilled to be in the same space as him and to hear his address, fresh from his visit to Cuba and the United States.

If you are interested in reading Catholic Women Speak, you can order it from the Paulist Press website at And let me know what you think!

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