The Emergence of Women
Several Sisters and Consociates traveled to Collegeville, MN, in late July to attend the third annual Women in the Church National Conference, a Catholic Leadership Forum sparked by Pope Francis’call “to create still broader opportunities for more incisive female presence in the Church.” Several of the conference speakers will be participants in the Vatican Synod in October in Rome.
Mary Lamski, CSJ, said they were inspired by the focus on relational power. “The focus was on the ‘we’ so we can go past the things that divide us inside and outside the church, as speaker Casey Stanton from Discerning Deacons said to us. She reminded us that the power of communion is greater than the power that divides us.”
The conference speakers also included Dr. Kristin Colberg, PhD faculty at St. John’s School of Theology and Seminary, who discussed the “Continental Working Document,” which describes the changing and changed role of women who are doing diaconal ministry around the world without ordination. Dr. Cynthia Bailey, DMin, from St. Joan of Arc Catholic Community spoke on discerning the movement of the spirit as women. Both will be participants in the Vatican Synod.
Other presenters included media personality Gloria Purvis; Grammy-nominated artist Sarah Hart; and Lisa Amman, deputy director of engagement for Discerning Deacons, who encouraged us to pray, learn together, reflect on what the Holy Spirit is saying, imagine the glorious mosaic that the Holy Spirit is creating, serve as witness to what we are hearing from the Spirit and speak boldly to those who have power to make changes. And finally, share what is emerging!
“We are experiencing a movement for women around the world that the Synod is raising up to speak to the institutional church,” said Mary. “Women’s voices need to be heard and raised up. The deacon is to be the conscience of the church, as Dr. William Ditewig says, dragging the ambo to the streets and the streets to the ambo. That is what I and many others have been doing for years!”