Video: Solidarity with CNWE in Rome

CNWE members in Canada participated in the Synod in Rome, through prayer, intention and action.  Members were encouraged to take a photo of themselves in solidarity, and Sr. Giang Pham put those photos and reflections together, into this 7 minute video on YouTube:

Telling Our Story to Belgians

Thursday I was the guest speaker at a luncheon organized by the Centre for Women’s Studies in Theology at the Faculty of Theology, Catholic University of Leuven (Louvain) Belgium.  I had been involved in founding the Centre in 1993.

While I was asked to speak to several questions, I did manage to describe what our CNWE team did in Rome, our rationale, and how we did our legwork with the media.  Those present were almost all young graduate and doctoral students in theology, and the reaction I heard back was deep disappointment about the misogyny in the Church (using just that term).  I was asked if I saw even a tiny crack in the stained-glass ceiling, and I said Yes — just a hairline crack.  I let speakers know that they were heard, and encouraged them to hope and to work for reform in this historic moment.  

Then I met two longtime friends for coffee, two religious sisters, 86 and 87 years old.  And they were interested in what we did as well.

So the tent expands a tiny bit further…

Susan Roll

Telling Our Story to German Women

On Friday evening October 13, I was invited to join a group of German women to tell the story of what we nine CNWE folks did in Rome the other week.

The occasion was a weekend pilgrimage in the footsteps of Hildegard of Bingen, directed by Annette Esser of the Scivias Institute in Bad Kreuznach, Germany.  The participants were some 25 women, members of the local branch of the Katholische Deutsche Frauenbund (Catholic German Women’s League, or “kdfb”) from Cologne. The kdfb is one of two large Catholic women’s organizations in Germany that total some 500,000 members.  Many of the women in the Cologne group are also members of Maria 2.0.

While the kdfb is the more progressive of the two organizations, both of them have come out strongly for the admission of women to all ministries in the Catholic church.

I described how CNWE was founded and who we are now.  I sketched the background of the 1971 proposal from the Canadian bishops led by Cardinal Flahiff that the Vatican study admitting women to ordained ministries.  I described how we prepared for the three specific events in Rome, how we made press contacts ahead of time, and how that paid off in terms of press coverage both of our presence and the rationale behind the WOW organizations’ actions.  I even came equipped with our paraphernalia and demonstrated how we decked ourselves out for the Friday march — lanyards, canvas patches on our backs, wearing pink on Wednesday and purple on Friday.  I told of how we had to meet the demands of the Italian police to carry out the march on Friday, walking in silence.

They were delighted with the strong sign of solidarity from Canada.  

And I managed to present it all in reasonably decent German, and with much enthusiasm and excitement (probably very un-German!)

And so we enlarged our own tent a bit.

Susan Roll

Rome Reflections Day 6

Rev. Roberta Fuller

Rome, the eternal city:

We, CNWE, came for the WOC Vigil for gender equity & we went to the Women’s March for Women’s Rights, – for human rights in our own Roman Catholic Church, yet all this time, we have been in the midst of Rome, the eternal city.

Under the umbrella pines spreading sacred shade & beside the blossoming oleander everywhere, we breathed in the sunshine-filled air of Rome.

CNWE folks were fortunate to stay at the Resurrection Father’s monastery almost atop the Spanish Steps, ten minutes from the Trevi Fountain where, of course, we threw coins in the in the water to be granted traditional wishes.

We passed the vast Basilica of Maria Maggiore, full of magnificent mosaics, stopped at the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano, beside the holy steps, then passed infamous Colosseum of gladiator contests to reach the Circus Maximus, site of ancient chariot races. 

History, both glorious & gory surrounded us but beneath the towering palms & between the elegant boutiques & luxurious shops, we found time & space to explore the Catacombs of Priscilla, an early woman priest.

We journeyed to the Basilica of St. Praxedes with Women’s Ordination Conference gathering to pray together for women’s full participation in all ministries imminently.

As CNWE people, we gazed in awe & wonder at St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, & so we prayed that justice, equality & inclusion evolve from the ongoing Synod.

Another highlight during our visit on October 4th, the Feast Day of St. Francis, was the release of Pope Francis’ Laudato Deum – the sequel to his definitive encyclical on the climate crisis, Laudato Si’.

Perhaps the true highlight of our focused trip to Rome was the Women’s March through the city on October 6th to not only advertise our mission but also to promote our hope for fair & equal recognition in our own Roman Catholic Church.

We continue to strive in faith for our vision of equal acceptance of unity for all men & women alike to forge a better world together.

Eternal Rome: Eternal hope.

Rev. Roberta Fuller