WUCWO women: at prayer, fraternal and missionary
We are living a particular year in human history because we are trying to get ahead of the global crisis generated by Covid-19. The virus worsened the situations of injustice and the tragedies that a large part of humanity and our planet already suffered. As the Pope often reminds us: you never get out of a crisis the same, either better or worse.
And for WUCWO, it is an even more unique year. WUCWO’s Board has decided to extend our 110th founding anniversary throughout 2021. In this way, despite the emergency, we will celebrate it by going back to our roots, to obtain the “sap” we need to collaborate in the transformation that today the world demands of us.
Due to the diversity of cultures of the members of WUCWO organisations, each woman, each organisation, each country or region, will give a different response to overcome the emergency and better emerge from the crisis compared to the prior situation. However, I think we have a common denominator: the profile of the WUCWO women. This profile is no different from what the Pope reminds us today for the whole Church: that the style of Jesus in the Gospel is one of closeness, compassion and tenderness (Cf. Angelus of February 14, 2021).
And that profile is not different, we could say, from the "sap" that emerges from our roots. That is why I share with you my reflection of these days on a wonderful text that Pius XII dedicated, in 1957, to the 14th International Congress of WUCWO. The Pope described in a long message the problem of the "promotion of women" and characterises our mission and apostolate around three aspects: the apostolate of truth, the apostolate of love and the apostolate of action.
The apostolate of truth is illustrated as the relationship of women with God, their belonging to Christ and their dependence on the Church. Among his statements, he tells us that: “it is not enough to know Mary and her greatness; we must also draw closer to her and live in the glow of her presence (for) a better understanding of Christ and a more intense union with her mysteries”. The conclusion that I have drawn from these essential points is that in order to live hand in hand with Mary, with truth in relation to God, Jesus and the Church, we have to be PRAYING WOMEN.
Pius XII explains that the apostolate of love means helping needy populations “without a feeling of sufficiency as if you had everything to donate and nothing to receive”, but rather giving value to the gifts of others and being able to build oneself with the closeness of the poor and destitute. With our pastoral categories we can affirm that it is an impulse to live as FRATERNAL WOMEN.
And he exhorts WUCWO women to the apostolate of action to carry out “the great missionary duty of all Christians” (...) bringing “to individuals, families and societies the essence of Redemption (...) through the concerted action of all Catholic women who, thanks to your Union, are increasingly aware of their common mission, of the effort that calls them in solidarity, as living members of the same Church, to make the kingdom of Christ penetrate everywehre”. In other words, it encourages us to be a Union of MISSIONARY WOMEN.
If we read all that message in the light of Vatican II, it is evident that our identity as praying, fraternal and missionary women is in deep communion with the magisterium of Pope Francis. I propose that we immerse ourselves in his Wednesday’s catechesis recently dedicated to prayer, that we renew the call to be “Samaritans”, underlined in the documents Human Fraternity (February 4, 2019) and Fratelli tutti (October 4, 2020) and that we become a “Church that goes forth” to achieve “the missionary aspiration of reaching everyone” (Evangelii Gaudium, 31).
In line with this life program, WUCWO will celebrate International Women's Day 2021, reading Fratelli tutti, with women leaders of other religions, with the Women's Consultation Group of the Pontifical Council for Culture and in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the sponsorship of Embassies to the Holy See headed by women, in a webinar - in English, French, Spanish and Italian, on March 3 at 9:00 CET - open to all public.
In the midst of the current uncertainty and aware of our own fragility, let us be women who take deep roots in daily prayer, who move in solidarity at the urging of fraternal love and who burn with the zeal to present the Face of Christ to all, without leaving anyone behind or by the side. I wish you, in the proximity of Holy Week, that Mary will teach us to be like Her, to offer the whole world a feminine face of the Church with closeness, compassion and tenderness.
María Lía Zervino, Servidora
WUCWO President General