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How to be a missionary synodal Church

DSC 0070The Instrumentum Laboris (Working Document) for the second session of the Synod on Synodality was presented on 9 July, the working document containing the contents and questions for the more than 450 participants in the second session of the Synod on Synodality, to be held from 2 to 27 July, was presented in the Vatican press room and by live broadcast.

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Synodality for Mission

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On June 13, the Dicastery for the Laity organised the Annual Meeting of Moderators of Associations of the Faithful, Ecclesial Movements and New Communities, where it was possible to reflect on "The Challenge of Synodality for Mission", with the participation of more than 220 people from up to 95 Associations of the faithful from all over the world.

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WUCWO participates in CSW 68 at the UN in New York with a side event on the prevention and elimination of violence and discrimination against women in Africa

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The President General of the World Union of Catholic Women's Organisations (WUCWO), Mónica Santamarina, was in New York at the end of March for the 68th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 68), where she participated in various events and meetings, together with Barbara Dowding, Regional Vice-President for North America, and Maribeth Stewart, WUCWO International Representative at the United Nations, New York. Among the various activities, WUCWO organised, with its Women's World Observatory (WWO), a side event sponsored by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation:

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Members of the Tanzania diocese visit WUCWO

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In recent days, the World Union of Catholic Women's Organizations (WUCWO) had the opportunity to host some members of the Tanzania diocese, who shared valuable insights on the crucial role of working with younger generations and women's access to education. Among the visitors were Evaline Malisa Ntenga, WUCWO's Regional Vice President for Africa; Professor Deogratias, President of the Laity in Tanzania; Mr. Dalmas, President of the Laity in Zanzibar; Mr. Leonard, Youth Representative of Tanzania, and Theresia from the Early Childhood Society, accompanied by her mother Stellah.

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8 February: Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking

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WUCWO joins the International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking 
On Thursday, February 8, the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations (WUCWO) will partner in the International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking. This day, organized by Talitha Kum, aims to make a joint effort to raise awareness and combat a scourge that, to this day, remains prevalent. Talitha Kum, the international network of religious sisters committed to the fight against trafficking, aims to raise awareness in society about this serious violation of human rights. That's why we encourage WUCWO members to also participate in this moment of prayer and reflection.

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Eradicating Violence Against Women: A Global Call to Solidarity and Action with WUCWO

eradicating violence.jpgOn 1 December 2023, a significant event to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women was held at the evocative Villa Bonaparte in Rome, home of the French Embassy to the Holy See.

The initiative, promoted by H.E. Madame Florence Mangin, Ambassador of France to the Holy See, and H.E. Madame Annemieke Ruigrok, Ambassador of the Netherlands to the Holy See, in collaboration with the World Union of Catholic Women's Organisations (WUCWO), gave voice to several female ambassadors to the Holy See and institutional representatives who presented measures and interventions adopted in their countries to inform, raise awareness and above all combat gender-based violence.

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Mónica Santamarina in El Debate


      Photo: Periódico El Debate - Jorge Ruiz

Mónica Santamarina in El Debate: Driving the Participation of Catholic Women in the Church and Society. 


Mónica Santamarina, interviewed in November in El Debate, offers a detailed vision of the work of WUCWO and explains her perspective on the role of women in the Church.

Santamarina, recently elected as President, sets priorities for the next four years, including the consolidation of the World Women’s Observatory, the work on the side of the Synod to promote the participation of women and the attention to issues such as migrants, refugee women, religious freedom, hunger and food shortage, as well as ecological conversion.

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"Women's Cry" Photographic Exhibition Makes Impact in New York

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The "Women's Cry" photographic exhibition, curated by Lia Beltrami in collaboration with the World Union of Catholic Women's Organizations (WUCWO) through its World Women's Observatory (WWO), has landed in New York during the United Nations General Assembly's 78th session. This powerful exhibition, initially displayed in St. Peter's Square last May with the collaboration of the Vatican's Dicastery for Communication, is a testament to the resilience of women in remote areas and conflict-ridden countries.

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World Day of Migrants and Refugees - September 24

migrants engOn the 24th of September 2023, the 109th World Day of Migrants and Refugees (WDMR) will be celebrated and promoted by Pope Francis and the Dicastery for Integral Human Development.

This year, the theme chosen by the Holy Father for this important day is “free to choose whether to migrate or to stay” that makes us reflect on the fundamental right for individuals to decide for themselves whether or not to leave their homeland.

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Breaking Barriers

pexels-los-muertos-crew-7177723.jpgBreaking Barriers: Study Reveals the State of Discrimination and Participation of Latin American and Caribbean Women in the Church and Society. 

In an effort to address discrimination and promote equal opportunities for women in Latin America and the Caribbean, the World Women's Observatory (WWO) of the World Union of Catholic Women's Organisations (WUCWO) and the Socio-Anthropological Pastoral Observatory of the Knowledge Management Center of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM) have presented the results of the study "Discrimination and Participation of Latin American and Caribbean Women: A Look from and towards Our Church."

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"Women's Cry" at the "Women Deliver" 2023 International Conference


Filmmaker and Art Director Lia Beltrami Presented the "Women's Cry" Project at the "Women Deliver" 2023 International Conference

Kigali, Rwanda - The prestigious "Women Deliver" 2023 International Conference has become a reference point of empowerment and advocacy, attracting over 6,000 women from all corners of the world.

As the conference convened in Kigali, Rwanda, from 17th to 20th July 2023, the focus was firmly set on championing women's rights and sustainable development.

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The new President General of WUCWO

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The new President General of WUCWO is the Mexican Monica Santamarina. 

 Assisi, 20 May 2023 - The General Assembly of WUCWO has just ended in Assisi after a week of intense debate and discussion. The central theme was "WUCWO women, artisans of human fraternity for world peace".

 The event brought together representatives from all over the world with the aim of addressing global challenges and analysing the fundamental role of women in promoting peace.

Over 67 organisations from different parts of the globe attended the Assembly, with a total of 832 participants from 38 countries on all continents.

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The Holy Father Francis received the women of WUCWO


For the first time Pope Francis met with representatives of all the women of the World Union of Catholic Women's Organisations (WUCWO).

On Saturday 13 May, the women of theWUCWO met with the Holy Father in a Private Audience, primarily to receive a missionary mandate from the Holy Father on the synodal journey of the Church.

Pope Francis had promised this audience last year, when the Executive Committee of the body had presented the report of the World Women’s Observatory (WWO) on "the impact of Covid-19 on women in Latin America and the Caribbean". On that occasion, Pope Francis had encouraged WUCWO to advance its mission, particularly on the African continent.

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Papal Audience, 13th of May 2023

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WUCWO's audience with Pope Francis
and Thanksgiving Mass in St. Peter's Basilica
Saturday 13 May 2023
The Audience with Pope Francis will take place on Saturday 13 May morning. In the afternoon a thanksgiving mass will be celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica at 5pm. 

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Raise Awareness of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence

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On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, 25th of November 2022, WUCWO intensifies awareness regarding gender violence as a weapon of war.
Together with the British Embassy to the Holy See and with the support of the Vatican Sports Team, Athletica Vaticana, we organised a Walk to Raise Awareness of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence on Sunday 27th November 2022 from 10 am to 12 noon in Rome.

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Photograph courtesy of Don MacKinnon 

From 7 to 10 October 2022, under the title Women Builders of Peace in a Church which Goes Forth” WUCWO organised the third meeting with Women from the Middle East and the Mediterranean, in order to make known the reality of women in this Region and the work that some organisations are doing. More than 120 women from 33 countries participated.

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World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly 2022

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On Sunday, July 24, 2022, the Second World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly will be celebrated throughout the universal Church. The theme chosen by the Holy Father for the occasion is "In old age they will still bear fruit" (Psalm 92:15) and intends to emphasize how grandparents and the elderly are a value and a gift both for society and for ecclesial communities.

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WUCWO's participation at FAO

Immagine 2022 07 21 105823WUCWO's participation at the Group of International NGOs to FAO in Rome.

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​WUCWO President appointed by the Pope


On the 13th of July 2022, Maria Lía Zervino, Servidora,  President General of the World Union of Catholic Women's Organisations (WUCWO) was appointed, by Pope Francis, to the Dicastery for Bishops together with other two women.

For the first time, three women will serve, by the will of the Pope, in the process of identifying and electing the new diocesan bishops.

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WUCWO's Executive meets with the Pope

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On 11 June 2022, all the members of the WUCWO Executive Committee had the extraordinary opportunity to meet the Holy Father during a private audience. He welcomed happily the news of the creation of the World Women’s Observatory, which has already succeeded in listening to and giving visibility to women in Latin America and the Caribbean and is starting its work in Africa.

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Webinar "Women, crisis and resilience"

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Webinar to celebrate International Women’s Day 

Friday 4th March 2022, 3 pm – 5 pm CET 

On March 4, 2022, the World Union of Catholic Women's Organizations (UMOFC / WUCWO) in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) celebrated International Women's Day with an international conference entitled Women, crisis and resilience which saw the participation of about 400 people connected from 70 countries.

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Ukraine needs our intercession

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The war has begun. Let us ask the Queen of Peace, in her invocation as Our Lady of Vladimir, to protect the inhabitants of this suffering nation and to stop the violence of war. Let us join the feelings and sufferings of our sisters of the Ukrainian Catholic Women's League of Canada.

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"Women, crisis and resilience" - 4 March 2022

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“Women, crisis and resilience”
International Women’s Day
March 4, 2022, from 3 pm to 5 pm (CET)

International Women's Day will be celebrated by the World Union of Catholic Women's Organisations (WUCWO) in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, in an ecumenical and interreligious webinar, with the participation of women leaders from various faiths and continents, under the patronage of embassies to the Holy See and in dialogue with representatives of friendly international organisations.

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The Holy Father gave the opening address and received the participants of the international conference “Eradicating Child Labour, Building a Better Future”, promoted by the Vatican Commission COVID-19 of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, in collaboration with the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the FAO. The format was hybrid and María Lía Zervino was present in the conference hall on 19 November.

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International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women 2021

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25 NOVEMBER 2021

What kind of violence against women are we talking about? Psychological, verbal, physical, sexual or symbolic violence? Because all of these, in addition to femicide, are the ones that have increased during the pandemic.

“The testimonies of victims who dare to break their silence are a cry for help that we cannot ignore, we cannot look the other way,” Pope Francis told us on 1 February 2021.

This is one of the reasons why the World Union of Catholic Women's Organisations (WUCWO) has founded the World Observatory on Women on a pilot basis. We have the first results on the impact of the Coronavirus on women in Latin America and the Caribbean.

25 women experts from 14 countries said that the pandemic has aggravated pre-existing structural violence.

The stress, anguish and anxiety of confinement unleashed and exacerbated situations of domestic violence. Churches, during the confinement, were unable to provide spaces for listening and denunciation.

The fact that victims and perpetrators lived in the same space, isolated from the rest, unleashed the other pandemic: violence. Unable to go out, women could not ask for help. The children, unable to go to school, also lost their space for expression and protection.

It is estimated that 70% of femicides occurred in a home shared with the assailant. Some perpetrators were released from prison - due to the risk of contracting the virus - and returned to live with their victims within the four closed walls of the family home.

According to some experts, in certain communities, not only has psychological violence against women increased since the beginning of the pandemic, but the number of pregnancies of girls as young as 10 years old has also increased, due to abuse by family members (fathers, brothers, uncles, aunts or grandparents).

And the pandemic has not stopped trafficking networks; on the contrary, there has been an increase in trafficking, often with police forces favouring it and corrupt state officials. Traffickers and the demanders of services in which women are a commodity have established new strategies for obtaining and “marketing” victims through means such as the Internet and transport networks that take victims to clients and back.

The experts propose, first: creating spaces where women can be heard, places where they feel safe when they want to ask for help and where they are accompanied.

Second: the training of women as a key element for their empowerment, for the transformation of structural, symbolic violence through education that promotes a culture where men and women live in mutual respect and equal application of their rights.

Third: the inclusion of women in public policy decision-making spheres and, from there, the promotion of programmes for the benefit of populations vulnerable to the risk of violence.

This undoubtedly requires co-responsibility on the part of men and women in the eradication of violence against women.


María Lía Zervino, Servidora

WUCWO President

107th World Day of Migrants and Refugees

M R Photos 52xTowards an ever wider “we” is the theme chosen by the Holy Father for the 107th World Day of Migrants and Refugees (WDMR) which will be celebrated on the 26th of September 2021. An appeal to build a universal “we” - may this be achieved first and foremost within the Church, called upon to create communion within diversity.

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First Anniversary of Fratelli tutti

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This year we celebrate the first Anniversary of the Encyclical "Fratelli tutti", which was signed by Pope Francis in Assisi, Italy, on 3 October 2020.

It proposes fraternity and social friendship as the ways indicated to build a better, more just and peaceful world, with the commitment of all: people, institutions, the economic world, international organisations, civil society.

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First World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly

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Pope Francis has decided to institute the Church-wide celebration of World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly. Starting this year, it will be held on the fourth sunday of July, close to the liturgical memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, the grandparents of Jesus.

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WUCWO President Contributions

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- "The future is in the hands of lay ministries"

The monthly "Donne Chiesa Mondo" of the Osservatore Romano published an interview with María Lía Zervino, President General of WUCWO on the topic of the formation of laywomen. You can read the interview by clicking here.

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WUCWO supports the "WASH Project"

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WUCWO supports the WASH project (access to drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) in health care facilities belonging to the Catholic Church, developed by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development in collaboration with religious congregations, bishops, Caritas Internationalis and Global Water 2020.

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Open letter to Pope Francis

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The President General María Lía Zervino, Servidora, wrote this open letter on the occasion of the anniversary of the eighth year of the pontificate of Pope Francis. It has received various repercussions from the international press.

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On the occasion of International Women’s Day, the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations (WUCWO) and the Consulta Femminile of the Pontifical Council for Culture have organized, in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the patronage of various Embassies to the Holy See, an ecumenical and interreligious webinar entitled "Women reading Fratelli tutti".

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#PrayAgainstTrafficking 2021

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International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking - An Economy without Human Trafficking.

The International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking 2021 brings into the spotlight one of the main causes of human trafficking: the dominant economic model of our time, whose limits and contradictions are exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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International Day of Human Fraternity

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Pope Francis, during his weekly General Audience, recalls the first International Day of Human Fraternity, which falls on 4 February. The international day was established by a Resolution of the United Nations General Assembly in December 2020.

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Fratelli tutti – Social friendship: a new lifestyle

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A reflection by our President General for the official website of Fratelli Tutti.

My home country is Argentina. A nation marked by social confrontation at different times in its history; divided into two great antagonistic factions caused by political, ideological, economic and other reasons. Even now we continue to harm each other because of a terrible “rift”. However, from the bowels of this people, the Lord called one of his own, Cardinal Bergoglio, to steer, like Peter, the boat of the Church in the midst of the global storm of the Coronavirus and a “’third world war’ fought piecemeal”. The encyclical Fratelli tutti was born from his pastoral experience.

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25 November - International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

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WUCWO President appointed consultant to the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue

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The Pope has appointed María Lía Zervino, Servidora, President General of WUCWO, as a member of the new group of consultants of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. This is a significant recognition for WUCWO and its long history in the processes of ecumenical and interreligious dialogue.

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Countdown to climate change

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Pope invites Countdown participants on a journey toward climate change - in his second TED talk appearance, Pope Francis sends a video message to participants in “Countdown”, saying it is time to make planet-changing choices.

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September 23rd, 2020, marks the International Day Against Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Women and Children.

It was established by the World Conference of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Persons in coordination with the Women's Conference that took place in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in January 1999 and was organised by the International Coalition against Trafficking in Women.

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Our President's interview for International Women's Day

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Being WUCWO an international organisation that represents women from all around the world, on the occasion of International Women's Day, our President General, María Lía Zervino, Servidora, was interviewed by Vatican News and Rome Reports.

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Women Makers of Human Fraternity, conference for Women's Day 2020

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On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, an Interreligious and Ecumenical meeting on the document HUMAN FRATERNITY FOR WORLD PEACE AND LIVING TOGETHER signed by His Holiness Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmad Al-Tayyeb (Abu Dhabi, 4 February 2019) was held on the 3rd of March 2020.

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"Women Makers of Human Fraternity" - Conference for Women's Day 2020

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On the occasion of the International Women's Day, the World Union of Catholic Women's Organisations, in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the sponsorship of the Embassy of Argentine to the Holy See, the Embassy of Austria to the Holy See, the Embassy of the Netherlands to the Holy See and the Embassy of the Philippines to the Holy See, will hold a conference entitled "Women Makers of Human Fraternity" on Tuesday, March 3, 2020 at Lungotevere Tor di Nona 7 in Rome.

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International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation


Message of the WUCWO President, María Lía Zervino

on the occasion of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)


Chain of women embracing against female genital mutilation

Girls between the ages of 4 and 14 are the main victims of this aberrant practice. According to the latest UN report, more than 4 million girls are at risk of female genital mutilation in 30 countries in 2020.

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10th January 2020: Private audience with the Holy Father

Los 3 sentados con élWe thank Pope Francis for granting a private audience to the WUCWO authorities, María Lía Zervino and Andrea Ezcurra, servidoras, and Fr Gerard Whelan, SJ, who were received in his library on 10 January 2020. The meeting made it possible to express gratitude, on behalf of the 8 million members of our organisations, for the delicate and frequent attention the Holy Father gives to women, particularly the most vulnerable, throughout the world. 

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International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

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The Mirabal sisters assassinated on 25 November 1960  in the Dominican Republic.


The time has come!

The World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations today renews and increases its commitment to eliminate discrimination and violence against women (Dakar Resolution 2018).

The time has come! Men and women: it is urgent to become agents of cultural change.

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Closing of the special Synod for the Pan-Amazon region

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WUCWO also attended the last briefing on the work of the Synod on Friday 25 October. The following participated:

- Bishop Joaquín Humberto Pinzón Güiza, I.M.C., vicar apostolic of Puerto Leguízamo-Solano, titular of Ottocio, Colombia;

- Bishop Evaristo Pascoal Spengler, O.F.M., bishop-prelate of Marajó, Brazil;

- Reverend Nicolau Nascimento de Paiva, coordinator of CAIC, the Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil, Brazil;

- Reverend Fr. Miguel Heinz, S.V.D., president of Adveniat, Germany;

- Reverend Suora Inés Azucena Zambrano Jara, M.M.I., of the Missionary Sisters of Mary Immaculate and of Saint Catherine of Siena, Colombia;

- Dr. Paolo Ruffini, prefect of the Dicastery for Communication;

- Fr. Giacomo Costa, S.J., secretary of the Commission for Information.

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The Amazon and Beyond

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“The Amazon and Beyond. Integral Ecology, Multiple Vulnerabilities and Youthful Commitments” was the title of the seminar organised on October 18 by the newly set up Observatory of the faculty of Social Sciences of the Pontifical Gregorian University of Rome in which WUCWO participated the seminar held during the current Special Synod for the Pan-Amazon Region aimed to deepen, inspire and open “transdisciplinary paths illuminating new ways of relating to God, to others and to the space around us” (Evangelii gaudium n.74).

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2. Evento 15 octubre

On the occasion of the Special Assembly of the Synod for the Pan-Amazon Region, WUCWO together with Italian Azione Cattolica, the International Forum of Azione Cattolica and the Pio XI Foundation (School of Holiness of Azione Cattolica) organised an event on October 15 to discuss the theme "Witnesses and martyrs of the inculturation of faith in the Amazon".

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Press Conference to present the Special Assembly of the Amazon Synod - 3.10.2019

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WUCWO participates to the press conference, organised in the Holy See Press Office on October 3, of presentation of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region, taking place in the Vatican’s New Synod Hall from 6 to 27 October 2019, on the theme: Amazonia: new paths for the Church and for integral ecology.

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“Pray for Cuba, that is bleeding"


Her heartbreaking testimony invites you to look back at that long-suffering island, whose ordeal seems not to end.

The testimonies of the Cuban doctors in Venezuela, a few hours ago through a Colombian media, have highlighted the harassment suffered by the Maduro regime, which forced them to condemn those in need of health care to support the president and proclaim its "goodnesses". They have done this, outside, of course. While they were in Venezuelan territory, under the magnifying glass of both Cuban and Venezuelan governments, they had to keep their mouths shut.

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Press conference presenting “Amazon: Common Home” - Rome September 20, 2019

Rueda prensa Amazonia Casa Comun

On Friday, September  20, at 4pm, WUCWO participated to the presentation of  “Amazon: Common Home” that took place in the Marconi Room of the Vatican Radio.  “Amazon: Common Home” is a project that will unite institutions, associations, and congregations during the next Amazon Synod through more than 130 events organized in Rome from October 5 to 27.

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WUCWO President General elected co-president of Religions for Peace

x asamblea lindauFrom the 20th to the 23rd of August 2019, in Lindau, Germany, the 10th World Assembly of Religions for Peace took place, with more than 900 participants. Among them 98 religious representatives from Latin America and the Caribbean were present.

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WUCWO's new institutional video

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Check out our new institutional video!

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"The women promoters of hope" - Conference for Women's Day 2019

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On the occasion of International Women's Day, the World Union of Catholic Women's Organisations, with the sponsorship of the British Embassy to the Holy See and the Embassy of Peru to the Holy See, held a conference entitled "The women promoters of hope" on Tuesday, March 5, 2019 at the auditorium of the International Union of Superiors General, located in Lungotevere Tor di Nona 7 in Rome.

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WYD Panama 2019 Hymn

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​The local organising committee ​is happy to share with you the international video of the World Youth Day Panama 2019 hymn "Hágase en Mí según Tu Palabra". The video shows us some emblematic places of Panama, and the hymn is sung in the 5 official languages of World Youth Day.

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United Nations Human Rights Day, December 10th 2012

As all people of good will around the world unite to recognize United Nations Human Rights Day 2012, The World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations (WUCWO) joins its voice, thought and prayer to the call for all human beings to be accorded basic human rights, including the right of profound dignity from the moment of conception to natural death.  Further, we note the need for a reality where all persons will have access to what they require in order to make their unique contribution to our world. 

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Rio +20 Conference

Sustainability starts with respect of the human being

Two representatives of the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations will take part at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development “Rio +20“ which begins today in Brazil.

Rosaline Nganku Menga (Cameroon), WUCWO Vice President for Africa and Mariana Vanyay (Argentina) will join with local administrations, NGOs, scientific communities, and trade-unions that have been invited.

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