Let us work as a laboratory for peace and dignity
“Peace and dignity” are characteristic of the efforts of so many women, even more so if we are Catholics. “Catholic” means “universal”: concretely, we want to express that we have “a global heart” that embraces people and communities of the planet, especially those who are suffering most from violence and those who live where their dignity is trampled on, knowing that this situation has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
In the last few days, warlike actions have taken place against Ukraine. We feel great sorrow for the Ukrainian people and we wish to accompany closely our dear sisters of the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League of Canada and their families. However, is it in our power to do something for peace in Ukraine?
“Jesus taught us that the diabolical senselessness of violence is answered with God's weapons, with prayer and fasting,” told us Pope Francis (23 February 2022) by calling on all, believers and non-believers alike, to a Day of Fasting for Peace on 2 March, and on those of us who live Ash Wednesday, fasting and praying for peace. May this be an historic day for our WUCWO women’s laboratory for peace and dignity.
Also, on Friday 4 March, on the ecumenical and interreligious celebration of International Women’s Day, we will pray for peace, with the prayers of women believers of various religions with whom we have been in dialogue for the last 3 or 4 years. Please invite your family, organisation, friends, neighbours, people of other religions and also non-believers to join the webinar (from 3 pm to 5 pm Central European Time; more info on wucwo.org).
WUCWO had previously announced a Prayer Campaign for its new project, the World Women Observatory in Africa, to alleviate the terrible plight of women in that region. In Uganda, for example, fatal cases of Covid-19 were few, but lockdown led to a marked increase in teenage pregnancies. For this reason, we will send you a Way of the Cross to start this Prayer Campaign, united in our laboratory for peace and dignity.
We are women of faith. For a moment, let us imagine a column of prayers intertwining from earth to heaven, of 8 million women imploring peace and dignity... That column that rises daily from our “laboratory,” if it carries our faith-filled prayers, will it not be able to move the merciful and almighty heart of our Father God? Will it not move the guardian angels of those who are responsible for wars and injustice to cancel their “diabolical senselessness”?
We are women of hope. We will not give up. God willing, we will meet with women from the Middle East and the Mediterranean in Athens in September 2022. Following in the footsteps of our meetings organised together with IFCA in Amman, Jordan (2013) and Bari, Italy (2016), we will take another step forward in this laboratory for peace and dignity. We will listen and discern together, enlightened by the magisterium. We will agree with them and with all the women of WUCWO who are able to participate, on concrete goals and actions. We propose to sign a charter, a pact of friendship, to carry out, each one in her own city, the plan that we will draw up together.
We are women of charity. We do not want to forget the most vulnerable women. That is why we have launched a Fundraising Campaign for the World Women Observatory in Africa. In this month of March 2022, we have an excellent opportunity to save by fasting and donate that money for our most needy sisters. Let us donate out of love and remember that, as St. Paul says: “Though I should give away to the poor all that I possess, and even give up my body to be burned -- if I am without love, it will do me no good whatever” (1 Cor 13:3). (See wucwo.org and Women’s Voice No. 57).
In what sense are we a “laboratory”? In laboratories, be they drug or seed laboratories, substances are combined and medicines are obtained to heal ailments or seeds to improve the flora. Similarly, WUCWO is a privileged space where each one of us can put the best of ourselves in terms of prayer, spirituality, reflection, welcome, action, creation, sacrifice, money, among others. If we properly combine all these gifts, we will contribute with remedies of peace and seeds of dignified life for those who need it most.
May Mary, Queen of Peace, together with so many holy women who have gone before us, give impetus to our laboratory. Before sending my warmest regards, I want to share with you the prayer of one of them, Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
María Lía Zervino, Servidora
WUCWO President General
PRAYER FOR PEACE
O Lord, there is a war
and I have no words.
All I can do
is to use the words
of Francis of Assisi.
And as I pray this ancient prayer
I know that, once again
You will turn war into peace,
and hatred into love.
Give us peace, O Lord
and make weapons useless
in this wonderful world.