Today I’ve had the opportunity to go to the church of San Pietro in Vincoli, a temple which is very visited because it guards the chains with which the apostle Peter was imprisoned and it also contains the extraordinary sculpture of the Moses by Michelangelo. There, before the Blessed Sacrament, I asked the Lord for his inspiration to write to you the message of May 2019.
On May 13, the date chosen to celebrate the founding of WUCWO, we will turn 109, by the grace of God.
Let me pay a heartfelt tribute to the visionary women who in the early years of the last century discovered clearly the importance of studying the obstacles faced by women around the world and how to overcome them. They, uniting the "Catholic women's leagues" of the time, decided to tackle social problems together.
As early as 1928, these women worked in the League of Nations in the commissions on "Trafficking of Women" and "Childhood Protection", victims, in many cases, of forced migration. The same dedication was demonstrated when they joined the UN (it seems that WUCWO was the first Catholic organisation to obtain a consultative status there). The founders fill us with true pride and recognition for having faced the problems that we still have to deal with today.
We count on their exemplary lives and their intercession from the Father's House. Let us pray for all the women who preceded us and for the young women who will follow us. Let us keep in mind that this month the new Board will meet to draw up the Plan of Action for this period. Let us remember the countries that are suffering the most from natural disasters, from tragic exploitation, from socio-economic, political crisis, and/or persecutions because of their faith.
Especially in this Easter time "in some places a spiritual “desertification” has evidently come about, as the result of attempts by some societies to build without God or to eliminate their Christian roots" - as Pope Francis tells us - we are called "to be living sources of water from which others can drink. (...) Our Lord gave himself to us as a source of living water. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of hope!” (EG 86)
I share with you two concrete proposals: that each organisation chooses one day of May that suits best to celebrate WUCWO Day with the beautiful prayer prepared by the Africa Region, which I thank for their contribution (attached again), and that the collection, that is usually done in this time for the benefit of WUCWO, this year will be donated, if you choose so, to the project with indigenous women of the Amazon, in Venezuela, to be in line with the Synod that the Pope will celebrate in October 2019.
We have already presented the project of FUNDEMUL, a WUCWO Member Organisation, to the Secretariat of the Synod for the Pan-Amazon region. This project is based on its previous experience, followsLaudato Si, and features workshops with women from the ethnic group Warao, that is composed by approximately 36.000 people that live totally abandoned, excluded from the attention of the State and are in danger of extinction due to violence, sexual and economic exploitation, hunger, disease and also trafficking. They are indigenous whose houses are built on the banks of the Orinoco River, without any service. Given the distressing humanitarian crisis that Venezuela is going through, our support is needed in order to realise such workshops.
I thank in advance all the member organisations that, with their prayer and/or financial contribution, help WUCWO carry out this project, which is in accordance with the wishes of the Holy Father. To better understand that the Synod is a valuable heritage of Vatican II, I recommend reading the introduction of Episcopalis Communio (Pope Francis, September 2018).
I say goodbye to you with affection, wishing that the words of the Risen One become reality in us, WUCWO women: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).