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:
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.
Sunset view from the rooftop of where we are staying
We have arrived in Rome on the eve of the synod. Our Canadian CNWE contingent is here and the mood amongst our group is hopeful and determined. We are struck by the resolve of these women and men who love their faith but have been hurt by their Church. That echoes for us too. It’s not anger that brings us all here but rather determination that things can be different and that we can be part of the change. For if not us, then who?
We are inspired by the words of Pope Francis at the ceremony for the creation of the new Cardinals in which he said:
“Diversity is necessary; it is indispensable. However, each sound must contribute to the common design,” Continuing with the metaphor of an orchestra he continued “This is why mutual listening is essential: each musician must listen to the others.”
Banners we will wear on our shirts for some events
So on this eve of the opening of the synods we are hopeful that all voices will be heard and considered. We have various events planned over the next several days in collaboration with other reform minded groups from around the world. We will stand in solidarity, shoulder to shoulder, with these groups. We look ahead with gratitude to all the woman who gone before us working for justice and we look behind at those who have our backs. We hold the prayers and good wishes and hopes of our supporters close. You could say it’s our song book.
As we walked the streets of Rome tonight in the glory of the architecture and history which surrounds us, we think about the historic nature of this synod. And we are so grateful to be here, in this moment, in this place, sharing it with you and raising our voices for reform!
Jeanie and Nancy
Jeanie McKibbon and Nancy Quan are friends from Calgary with a shared passion for good food, good wine, good community and knitting.