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Foto 2 women and a child in a field hospital

A field hospital to heal the victims and the creation.

The crisis of the Coronavirus is not only a health crisis, for it also has repercussions in many areas: economy, politics, our family environment and that of our organisations. It was not present in science fiction bestsellers or in the collective imagination. This global and complex crisis aggravates the climatic, migratory, discriminatory and enslaving hardships already existing in humanity. “Those who fail to view a crisis in the light of the Gospel simply perform an autopsy on a cadaver. They see the crisis, but not the hope and the light brought by the Gospel.” (Pope Francis to the Roman Curia, 21 December 2020).

I ask myself and I ask you, as members of WUCWO: What does it mean to view a crisis in the light of the Gospel at the beginning of 2021? In my view, it means taking charge of the wounds of those around us or within our reach, trying to heal them, using the means at our disposal and strengthening our actions through bonds of brotherhood with the other WUCWO organisations.

In the message of the Holy Father for the World Day of Peace 2021, titled A Culture of Care as a Path to Peace, we can read: “I ask everyone […] to become a prophetic witness of the culture of care, working to overcome the many existing social inequalities. This can only come about through a widespread and meaningful involvement on the part of women, in the family and in every social, political and institutional sphere”.

How much do we, the women, have to contribute to this chapter of human history that is opening up, if we set out on the path of the culture of care! It is our feminine nature to take care of the life that is engendered, the capacity to care for the child who suffers and to defend him if he has been damaged by an injustice, to protect our home, to teach how to walk and take flight in life, to create the right affective climate for the flourishing of each one, to think of an education for integral development and resilience in the face of crises... our being women can contribute this and much more to the culture of care.

Besides, as Catholic women, we have Mary, Star of the Sea, who by her example and motherhood guides our boat intelligently and tenderly in the midst of this storm. I entrust to Her, once again, the response that we women of WUCWO have to offer from our families, organisations, schools, universities, parishes, projects of evangelisation and integral human promotion, and national and international bodies, to play an irreplaceable role in caring for one another and also in taking charge of the care of creation.

That is why I am making a radical call to turn WUCWO into a FIELD HOSPITAL in this year 2021. Be aware: the time has come to put into action urgently what Jesus Christ has been asking of us since the beginning of Francis' pontificate: “I see clearly what the Church needs most today: the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful, closeness and proximity. I see the Church as a field hospital after a battle. It is useless to ask a seriously wounded man if he has high cholesterol or sugar! His wounds must be healed. Then we can talk about the rest. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds... And we have to start from the bottom” (Interview with Civiltà Cattolica, August 2013).

We cannot go back to “normality” after the Covid-19 vaccine is distributed: we say “NO!” to the “normality” of the moral crisis, of consumerism, of inequality, of the deceitful economy of waste, of the cultural model based on individualistic selfishness, of comfortable Christian commitment. God forbid that we return to that kind of “normality”. As President of WUCWO, I propose to start a campaign, from each organisation in its own way, to become a real field hospital.

I ask you to take the resolutions voted at the General Assembly in Dakar for this period and respond promptly to questions such as: How do we dress the wounds of the areas most affected by climate disasters, in order to take responsibility for a healthy planet? What care do we provide to the most vulnerable members of families, from the unborn to the elderly? What do we implement to eradicate the violence suffered by women and girls who are trafficked, victim of genital mutilation or discriminated against? How do we care for so many in need of education, in order to discover and advance on the path to holiness?

Please, let us not turn a deaf ear to the cries of the victims and of creation: let us unite in a network of real field hospitals at the grassroots level. This is my wish for a Holy New Year 2021!


María Lía Zervino, Servidora

WUCWO President General