Video: Synod Discussion on Zoom with Sister Elizabeth Davis

Sr. Elizabeth Davis (RSM), was one of 54 women voting members at the historic “Synod on Synodality” at the Vatican from October 4-29, 2023.  In this recording of her January 17 presentation, for which 300 persons registered, she speaks of her experience of being a Synod member, some challenges/opportunities she sees for Catholics world wide, some implications of being “a synodal church in mission”, and her sense of urgency in the importance of Catholics engaging the process more deeply, prior to the next session of the Synod in October 2024.

This Zoom was inspired by the example of nine members of the Catholic Network for Women’s Equality (CNWE) who also went to Rome in October 2023, participated in a “Synod outside the walls”, and met with Elizabeth at that time.

The Zoom was actualized through a unique collaboration among the Catholic Network for Women’s Equality (CNWE-Western region), Reseau Compassion Network (RCN), the Grey Nuns of Montreal (SGM), and the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions (RNDM).

May this video help all of us discern how we can further participate in the process of becoming a Synodal church.

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

Video: Prayer for the Synod at Cardinal Flahiff’s Grave: October 4, 2023

Greetings all.  Here is a 20 minute video of our October 4 prayer at Cardinal Flahiff’s grave, that was put together by one of our Sisters, Giang Pham.  The day was cold, grey, wet and windy.  You can hear the wind blowing in the recording.  (“fill the earth, bring it to birth, and blow where you will” – as Miriam Therese Winters sings.)

Sr. Giang also did well in picking up the sound – i.e. the voices and the music.  And while it’s a “phone video”, it has an artistry, and reflects a moment of community larger than us all.

A transcript of the service is available on YouTube, in the description.

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