This month I would like to invite you to join me in a thanksgiving to God for everything received at WUCWO. Three verbs come spontaneously to me: to listen, to share and to grow. Let me share with you just some of the good news I have recently collected and in some cases experienced, region by region.
I start with the Asia-Pacific Region because three days ago I arrived in Rome after visiting our organisations in the Philippines and Indonesia, together with two distinguished members of our organisation in Korea. What an extraordinary capacity of welcoming our women have shown us! We have appreciated their culture full of colours and beauty, their firmness in faith, their apostolic activities, their interreligious dialogue for human fraternity, their training projects and also their care for poor women and families and abused girls, as well as the care of our Common Home following Laudato si’. We have listened to many of them, learned and shared, we have started a social friendship that we hope will bring many fruits and help us grow in the region. We certainly would have liked to be able to visit the other organisations in the region, each with its own richness.
The women members of our European organisations are certainly showing a high degree of participation in the synodal process. They are personally and jointly engaged in it. We are proud to have such a high degree of involvement in ecclesial issues. I am particularly grateful to those who went on pilgrimage to Assisi and lit a candle and/or prayed for me asking for the help I need for the new mission that Pope Francis has entrusted me in the Dicastery of Bishops. I also thank the European women who work in international bodies, with a great effort, always ready to stand firm with all those who suffer and in defence of life, from conception to natural death.
We have been very pleased to hear the opinion of the women of the North American region, always so committed, who have responded in large numbers to the survey that our Vice President General, Maribeth Stewart Blogoslawski, organised and summed up magnificently and that was handed to the Secretariat of the Synod, obviously with all the other answers, on synodality in the Church. An excellent presentation. I am very pleased with the reflection and commitment of women from our organisations in that region in the running of WUCWO as such, in its statutes and bylaws, in its finances, etc. It is a pleasure to hear them, share problems and dreams and learn from them in order to develop our organisation and our projects.
In the African region, the mobilisation of women from our organisations, both French and English-speaking, is incredible. They assumed the responsibility of the work of the World Women’s Observatory (WWO) in their continent and they are preparing and testing the survey that will seek to listen to up to 25,000 African women around the issues of gender violence and female discrimination, while making its strengths resonate. More training sessions are being set up so that women can be social correspondents and listen to those who normally do not have the capacity and opportunities to manifest themselves, so that our Observatory can collect through them the experiences of women in the different languages of the ethnic groups (for example, they have already translated the pilot survey into Swahili). We will share their testimonies, learn from their pains and resilience. Together, we will give visibility to those women who for many are invisible.
In addition, in the region of Latin America and the Caribbean, the WWO continues to provide a qualified service to the Episcopal Conference of Latin America (CELAM), which has a great interest for the women of the continent. Our organisations have worked effectively and remain open to build a network of women willing to communicate with other women from different organisations and countries. Little by little this communication network is woven suitable for listening, sharing projects and growing together. It is remarkable the continuity that the WWO has gained in that region, in large part because of the efficient and fruitful work of our Treasurer General, Mónica Santamarina de Robles. To all these women who help us grow in our organisations and personally, I want to thank them from my heart.
From the depth of what the Lord has allowed me to hear, I wanted to share with you only some specific examples from each region, which I believe make us grow in our goal of being co-responsible for evangelisation and integral human development. I invite you to join us in thanking each other for being associated to WUCWO.
May the Lord and our Holy Mother bless you,
María Lía Zervino, Servidora
WUCWO President General