by Nadia Ramoutar MMM Communications Coordinator Ireland 23.05.2023
Last year, the news headlines from Rome told us that in the words of Pope Francis “things are opening up a bit.” The Pope made this comment after it was announced that he intended to appoint two women to the Vatican’s Dicastery for Bishops, marking a historic first for the office tasked with advising the pontiff on which Catholic priests to appoint as bishops across the world. (National Catholic Reporter, 6th July 2022)
“Two women will be appointed for the first time in the committee to elect bishops in the Congregation for Bishops,” Francis told Philip Pullella, the Reuters’ Vatican correspondent.
The new constitution breaks with tradition in ways to open up the Church leadership to Lay men – but also to women. Not everyone will be happy about this news or with the break in centuries of tradition. But this Pope, who has raised eyebrows amongst the pious on many occasions, appears to know something that goes back to the days of Jesus’s life: Women can be trusted to be part of the leadership of the faith.
Gospel repeatedly reveals that Jesus chose women to be in his inner circle and that he included women in important moments – like when he arose from the dead. He made it clear that he was for women. Jesus, unlike some of his followers since, valued women.
The MMMs are a beacon of light for me in female leadership in the Church. They go where they are most needed and often into difficult and even dangerous situations. They do not cower behind their gender when it comes to standing up and making a difference.
I recently met with an MMM Sister who was sharing many of the difficult situations she has been in helping people in their hour of need. She was clearly moved by these experiences and had the wisdom to reflect now on the frustration she felt then. Trying to be a light in the world and shine is not always rewarded or even noticed – and certainly not celebrated. We don’t do this work in the mission for glory but for the good of the people most in need. It does however make it a little easier to know that doors that were once closed to women are now not only being knocked on but are being opened. Welcoming more women into leadership roles offers the world a chance to have new perspectives at a time when new solutions are desperately needed.
We are often faced with bad news lately. Some of the things happening in the world with mass shootings, viruses, disease, and infant mortality could drag us down. In moments like this though, I see a light and feel the momentum moving forward; perhaps it’s a very slight little quiet step but in many ways, it is a huge leap for a better more inclusive and diverse future. I am grateful for a Pope who is unafraid of the critics and ready to listen to wise women rather than keep them away from the table of decision makers. It has been said by poets and song writers that the crack is where the light comes through.