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Storytelling event to empower women to take more visible role in the Church

2014-03-07

In a recent interview to mark his one year anniversary, Pope Francis said the role of the Virgin Mary is greater than any bishop or apostle. He added that the Church is feminine at its origin, and so the role of women within the Church should be greater.

JOCELYNE KHOUEIRY
Founder, "La Libanaise: Femme du 31 Mai”
"Women play a great role in so many levels. It starts at a personal level when she discovers her vocation and identity as a woman. She carries positive energy, good will. Her characteristics as a mother gives her a certain power on a human level.”

On March 8, to commemorate International Women's Day, eleven women in various leadership positions within the Catholic Church will share their stories. 

The event is organized by Voices of Faith, an initiative to support and empower Catholic women to take on greater leadership roles. It'll feature testimonies from religious as well as lay women, across the spectrum, from international to local perspectives.

CARITAS CHINWEM IFEDIBA
Mission of Igbedor (Nigeria)
"I'm here to tell the world that the people of Igbedor especially the children they need help, and there must be something to do, to help them.”

Sr. Caritas comes from the mission of Igbedor, a remote island in the Niger River delta, greatly prone to flooding. The small group of sisters looks after 8,000 people, including 5,000 children. As a result of its isolation, the people are completely dependent on the sisters. Their two priorities are healthcare and education. Embodying the selflessness of women religious across the world, Sr. Caritas decided to tell her story, not for recognition, but to get more help.

CARITAS CHINWEM IFEDIBA
Mission of Igbedor (Nigeria)
"In terms of education, I believe that they have to give them a structure. Because since two years ago, after the big flood in Nigeria, the school there, that sisters had to build, all of their work was flushed out by the flood.”  

Likewise, participants will hear from women in leadership roles on a global scale. Jocelyne Khoueiry is a member of Pontifical Council for the Laity. She also founded a lay association of former female soldiers, that now speak out against violence. This shift has earned her a nickname as a "warrior for peace.”

JOCELYNE KHOUEIRY
Founder, "La Libanaise: Femme du 31 Mai”
"We started off as a combat unit during the war in Lebanon. Then, bit by it, we became a Marian movement within the Church, working for the family, for women, and the dignity of human life.”

The storytelling event will take place at the Cinema Vaticano, but will be live streamed online. Organizers said the event is meant to raise awareness of the work and impact women have in the Catholic Church. As Pope Francis has stated, that's a topic that needs greater attention, and for organizers, the fact it's taking place at the Vatican reinforces his commitment to making it happen.


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