let me introduce you to my vision of WUCWO and then to its structure and functioning.
Each person, each living being and each organisation, if it does not grow, diminishes little by little and finally dies. And Jesus told us: "You shall know them by their fruits" (Mt 7:16).
That is why I propose, with the grace of God and the hand of the Virgin Mary, that we make WUCWO grow.
What is my vision of WUCWO? I see WUCWO in the shape of a cross, GROWING IN THE SHAPE OF A CROSS.
By opening ourselves wide in line with our resolutions, growing like a “transverse timber.” We will work for a healthy planet; promote struggling families and their most vulnerable members; confront violence and discrimination against women; and give our best to respond to the call to holiness in our daily lives. (See resolutions 2018-2022 on our web site).
At the same time, we will be attentive to reality, to what happens and affects the dignity of women in different parts of the world, asking the Holy Spirit to be able to read and discern the signs of the times and act accordingly. I imagine a WUCWO that goes forth, missionary, offering help to other women and organisations which do not know us and which perhaps do not even know the true face of the Church. This is how I propose our horizontal growth to be.
To grow also downwards, nourishing ourselves from our roots, rooted in the very identity of WUCWO, which will require us to go deeper into reality and deepen our formation. In other words, to lengthen our “vertical timber” in order to be suitable for the service that the Church and society currently need.
I am convinced that our time has come: today is the DAY, this is the TIME of women. The Church welcomes us with open arms and it is up to us to accept the challenge. Pope Francis has said that women in the Church cannot limit themselves to being "altar servers", presidents of Caritas or catechists, but have to be part of the decision-making process. This entails two great risks:
- occupy positions as decorators, performing a function, but not really involved in the decision-making process, that is, as "vases" in important roles, but without any impact;
- occupy positions seeking power, without a real conviction that, in the Church, "power" is "service", that is, to seek to equate men and women in the hierarchical structure of the Church and to do so to climb positions.
I believe that both visions are erroneous and, in a certain way, "clericalise" us. Neither the "vase woman" nor the "positions-seeking woman" are good for the Church. As women, if we are skilled and well formed, we must serve the Church and society to collaborate in making decisions. In order to do this, we have to form ourselves. I call this “deep growth”.
And to grow upwards, like the top of the vertical timber, means to open ourselves to Transcendence with a capital letter, to walk together towards holiness, in intimate, personal and community union, with Jesus Christ, helping one another to advance on the path of daily holiness.
Given that we are in many places on the planet, how wonderful it would be if, at any time of the day or night, there were at least one woman praying for us! And if the network, the collaboration and the mutual solidarity up to the sacrifice of some organizations for others were such that one could say of the women of WUCWO, the same as of the first Christian communities, "See how they love each other," would be wonderful. This growth in everyday sanctity is what I call growing upwards, on the vertical timber of the cross of WUCWO. This is my vision of WUCWO.
A couple of words about its structure: I see WUCWO as an inverted pyramid. At the top of the pyramid are the riches of WUCWO, which are not its bank accounts, but its member organisations, with their daily, silent, and fruitful work. Further down the pyramid are the members of the Board, the International Representatives and the members of the Executive. And, at the lower vertex of the inverted pyramid, there is the President General, who should be at the service of the rest of the structure.
I don't think I'm such a lucid woman as to indicate from the top down what WUCWO should do, based on my individual decisions. For more than 40 years I have belonged to a community, the Association Servidoras, and for 66 years to the community of the baptised: the Church.
I confess that I am a woman of the Church to the core: a creative one, but also jealous of the dignity of women and demanding in relation to the service that, as women, we must give to the Church. But, above all, I will always be in full communion with the teachings of the Pope, whoever the Holy Spirit places in Peter's place.
As for the functioning of this structure, I imagine that none of you should want to be "arms folded" until the next General Assembly, but quite the opposite: you will want to give life and horizontal and vertical growth to WUCWO, in the form of a cross. And precisely for this reason, what I ask is that each one of us and their respective organisation do not ask ourselves "what can WUCWO do for me and for my organisation", but rather, "what can I and my organisation do for WUCWO."
For me, it will be impossible to carry out all the actions listed in our four resolutions, but with you we will be able to do so. I tell you frankly: I am a woman of dialogue and teamwork who loves the "synodal" style.
I end by taking responsibility before you and before God for taking care of the women and people who suffer the most, from conception to natural death, during all stages of their lives, accompanying especially those who are abused, persecuted or marginalised, that is to say, trying to ensure that mercy passes from the heart of God to our hearts, and from our hearts to our hands, and becomes works.