Sr. Sally Hodgdon: There has been a conversion occurring in the Synod Hall

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While the synod has been mainly focusing on bishops and youth, there are also religious women who are participating and adding their voice to those of the men. American Sr. Sally Hodgdon is one of these women.

As the Superior General of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Chambery and Vice President of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG), she wondered what it would be like to enter the “bishops' world” for this month. 

Superior General, Sisters St. Joseph of Chambery
“Actually, I've been surprised, really happily surprised at the openness and the willingness to dialogue and to listen to the youth. They are really open to the new ideas. Some of the bishops and cardinals are sharing very new ideas about how the youth can engage in the Church and help lead the Church forward. So it's been a positive experience overall.”

She asserts there is equality for all genders and positions during the synod, even if she is unable to vote as a woman. One example of this are the four-minute interventions that everyone is able to deliver. 

Sr. Sally also insists the small groups are where a person has the most impact, regardless of age, status or position. The small groups are where amendments are drafted and added to the final document. 

Superior General, Sisters St. Joseph of Chambery
“Do I think I've had an impact? Yes. Do I bring up issues when it's related to participation in the Church by all laity, including by women? Yes. Do I say something when there's a concern about the language being too masculine? Yes. But so do some of the men.” “There has really been a conversion occurring in the Synod Hall, which is what you pray for – that the Spirit will move our hearts. It is clear that many of the bishops and cardinals are in a different place than where they were when they arrived here Oct. 2.”

This conversion has also helped contribute to certain elements of the final document, which will be presented Saturday at the Holy See Press Office.

Superior General, Sisters St. Joseph of Chambery
“Yes, in the Synod Document, there will be specifics mentioned to how to include the youth more in the Church, youth councils at the national, diocesan, international level. Letting the youth lead in certain areas. The issue of women will also be in there. Yes, all of that will be mentioned.”

Sr. Hodgdon says the difficult part will be the follow-up, seeing how each Synod Father and attendee lives out these ideas and concrete steps to include the young people in the Church.

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