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.
At the end of the Assembly, the new WUCWO president was elected, and will represent the organisation for the next four years. The person entrusted with the mandate is Mexican Mónica Santamarina, former general treasurer of the organisation.
"Thank you for your trust by choosing me as a candidate. We will follow consolidating all the good that has been done, which has been a lot" said the newly elected.
"We will continue to move towards the professionalisation of WUCWO, whether concerning finances, the secretariat, authorities, committees and working groups," Santamarina continued, outlining some priorities for WUCWO. Among these, she mentioned 'young people', with whom she hopes to promote intergenerational dialogue.
The President further explained that it is her intention to work so that member organisations have 'the necessary tools to implement the six resolutions (areas of focus) passed by the Assembly'.
Resolutions for the next four years
One of the priorities will be the consolidation and growth of the World Women's Observatory, which seeks to listen and give visibility to the suffering and to the potential of women, especially the most vulnerable, to promote actions in favour of their integral development, their families and their communities.
Another resolution concerns the defence of religious freedom as a fundamental human right for the promotion of fraternity and peace. Participating organisations pledge to work for non-discrimination, to denounce violations of religious freedom and to promote interfaith interaction.
The global food crisis, related to the care of our planet, was the subject of another resolution adopted during the Assembly. The women of WUCWO pledged to respond to the urgent call to action of the encyclical Laudato si' by addressing environmental and climate change issues. Activities aimed at recycling, reducing individual pollution and promoting ecological conversion will be promoted.
A further commitment concerns the accompaniment and formation of young people and couples on the path of family love, recognising motherhood and fatherhood as paths to holiness.
WUCWO will respond to Pope Francis' call to build a future with migrants and refugees by committing to be active instruments of concrete proximity. Special attention will be given to the problem of forced migration and discrimination in the labour market, which affects mainly women. Support tools will be put in place to address these challenges.
Finally, WUCWO wishes to promote the formation of women so that they can participate responsibly in the building and decision-making processes of the Church. The aim is to foster women's leadership in the pursuit of the common good through spiritual, intellectual and pastoral formation.
WUCWO pledges to support President Santamarina in her term of office and to actively cooperate in the realisation of the goals set during the Assembly.
The organisation will continue to promote the empowerment of Catholic women worldwide, addressing current challenges and working for a future of peace, justice and solidarity.
Studied law. She has worked as a legal advisor and teacher and was a social consultant at the National Institute of Women in Mexico, a governmental organisation for the protection of women. Monica Santamarina is a member of the Unión Femenina Católica Mexicana, of which she was president from 1996 to 2001. She also held the office of president of Mexican Catholic Action and was president, Vice-president and director of Quiera, the Foundation of the Association of Mexican Banks, which focuses on the protection of street children or those at risk of becoming street children. Within WUCWO, she has held the positions of Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean, Vice President General and Treasurer General. Monica Santamarina speaks Spanish and English and understands French. She is a widow and has four children and eight grandchildren.
WUCWO is an international organisation founded in 1910, present in some 60 countries with a hundred Catholic women's institutions as members, totalling some eight million women represented.
Since 2006, WUCWO has been recognised by the Holy See as an 'International Public Association of the Faithful'.
The organisation is committed to promoting the presence, participation and co-responsibility of Catholic women in society and the Church, so that they can fulfil their evangelising mission and work for integral human development.