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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.
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.
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.
WUCWO's participation at the Group of International NGOs to FAO in Rome.
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.
© Photo : Vatican Media
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.
Women, crisis and resilience
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.
UKRAINE NEEDS OUR INTERCESSION.
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.
“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.
Happy birthday Holy Father!
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.
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: THE OTHER PANDEMIC.
STATEMENT OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE
WORLD UNION OF CATHOLIC WOMEN’S ORGANISATIONS
ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
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
Towards 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.
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.
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.
- "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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We 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.
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.
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.
“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).
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".
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.
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.
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.
From 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.
Check out our new institutional video!
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.
Click on the links to read about the event as published in various media outlets:
WUCWO President General, Maria Giovanna Ruggieri, wrote a message to mark International Women's Day. The message was published in various media outlets and below you can find the relevant links:
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.
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.