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Letter to mark International Women's Day

March 8th 2016 International Women’s Day

The annual celebration of the International Women’s Day on March 8th invites us to reflect about women in the various realities where WUCWO has been committed for more than 100 years for the respect and promotion of the dignity of women in every field. Many steps have been taken but there is still a long way to go.

Pope Francis is encouraging us very much, we are aware that his message is addressed to everybody and asks everyone to make a deep change of sensitivity: “The Church acknowledges the indispensable contribution which women make to society through the sensitivity, intuition and other distinctive skill sets which they, more than men, tend to possess.”(EG 103)… stressing that “demands that the legitimate rights of women be respected, based on the firm conviction that men and women are equal in dignity, present the Church with profound and challenging questions which cannot be lightly evaded”. (EG 104)

The presence of Mary among the apostles is also seen by Pope Francis as an evaluation of the contribution of women: “In the Church, functions “do not favour the superiority of some vis-à-vis the others”. Indeed, a woman, Mary, is more important than the bishops. Even when the function of ministerial priesthood is considered “hierarchical”, it must be remembered that “it is totally ordered to the holiness of Christ’s members. Its key and axis is not power understood as domination, but the power to administer the sacrament of the Eucharist; this is the origin of its authority, which is always a service to God’s people. This presents a great challenge for pastors and theologians, who are in a position to recognize more fully what this entails with regard to the possible role of women in decision-making in different areas of the Church’s life”. (EG 104)

This Magisterium interpellates us, we cannot remain in standby, how can we participate actively in such a process? As WUCWO women we want to interweave meaningful relationships with all women and men to contribute to the globalization of tenderness wished by Pope Francis.

We are women who work daily both in our Christian communities and in our societies for the respect of the dignity of each single person, we are women who take care of our families, who contribute to development and progress in trying to build, in all contexts, bridges of reconciliation and forgiveness in the most difficult realities.

From such a perspective we address our thoughts especially to those women who are persecuted, who are the object of violence, those women who because of a state of destitution and poverty are victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation, undergo maternal surrogacy in the name of a false freedom of action.

We want to express our solidarity to those women who are obliged to leave their own country because of wars, persecutions, climate change and poverty.

We wish to dedicate our March 8th to the four Mother Teresa sisters brutally killed in Yemen, martyrs of our time, martyrs of mercy.

Maria Giovanna Ruggieri

WUCWO President General

 Angelus 6th March 2015

Dear brothers and sisters,

I express my closeness to the Missionaries of Charity for the terrible loss they suffered two days ago with the killing of four sisters in Aden, Yemen, where they helped elderly people. I pray for them, for the others that were killed in the attack, and their family members. These are the martyrs of today! They do not make the front page or the headlines: they give their blood for the Church. These people are not just victims of the attack but also victims of indifference, of this globalization of indifference… May Mother Theresa accompany her martyr daughters of charity in Heaven, and intercede for peace and sacred respect for human life.

Message 5th March

Message of condolence from the Holy Father, signed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, for the four Missionaries of Charity and the other victims of the attack in Aden, Yemen

His Holiness Pope Francis was shocked and profoundly saddened to learn of the killing of four Missionaries of Charity and twelve others at a home for the elderly in Aden. He sends the assurance of his prayers for the dead and his spiritual closeness to their families and to all affected from this act of senseless and diabolical violence. He prays that this pointless slaughter will awaken consciences, lead to a change of heart, and inspire all parties to lay down their arms and take up the path of dialogue. In the name of God, he calls upon all parties in the present conflict to renounce violence, and to renew their commitment to the people of Yemen, particularly those most in need, whom the Sisters and their helpers sought to serve. Upon everyone suffering from this violence, the Holy Father invokes God’s blessing, and in a special ways he extends to the Missionaries of Charity his prayerful sympathy and solidarity.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin
Secretary of State