A throwback Thursday post, kind of… Found on an office shelf, a stack of materials for a 6-week series exploring ourselves as images of God, and as women who grew up Catholic. These are from a time I was a parish staff member or sometime shortly after; a deep part of who I am.
As I read this Foreword, I was reminded of my roots…and also, that I was a forerunner… And that maybe there are other restless catholic and christian women today, seeking and exploring:
The present wave of The Women’s Movement broke upon us during the turbulent era of the 1960s. Its roots were in the Civil Rights Movement and the Peace Movement. None of these movements have passed from our midst, but neither have their deepest longings been realized among us. In the intervening years the dimensions of the human problems these movements addressed have become clearer; however, their solution still remains beyond our grasp and challenges our Christian imagination.
Pope John XXIII identified the women’s movement as one of the three distinctive characteristics of our age:
“Secondly, it is obvious to everyone that women are now taking a part in public life. This is happening more rapidly perhaps in nations of Christian civilization, and more slowly but broadly, among peoples who have inherited other traditions or cultures. Since women are becoming ever more conscious of their human dignity, they will not tolerate being treated as mere material instruments, but demand right befitting a human person both in domestic and in public life” (PACEM IN TERRIS, 41).”
The women’s movement comes to us as one of the “signs of the times.” If, as Pope John XXIII suggests, it is women from the Christian nations who are forerunners of this movement, then might we not look for the roots of women’s aspirations and dreams in our deepest religious traditions and hopes.
However, the women’s movement comes at us with a cacophony of voices and conflicting values. It challenges some of our deepest-held beliefs as well as those structures of our world–political, economic, social, and ecclesial–that maintain women in a secondary and dependent status. At its most profound level, the women’s movement is a struggle over the meaning of woman: who she is, what is her role. It is also a struggle over the shape of the future, the shape of the world, and the shape of the church.
Because the questions women are raising usually come clothed in the language of politics, economics, civil rights or human rights, it is easy to overlook the profoundly religious character. However, it is precisely because they are religious questions that women and men bring such passion to the debates, regardless of their position on any particular question.
In this series of discussion we will be looking at some of the questions many women are raising. We will try to look at them in the context out of which these questions arise. We will also be looking at the religious questions behind the issues. All of our search will be in the context of scripture readings from both the Old and the New Testaments, which are the source of our religious vision and imagination. (Maria Riley, O.P., “In God’s Image”)
6 BOOKLETS FOR 6 WOMEN
Is there an interest in a ‘bible study’ series on the feminine face of god? I’m open to leading and hosting one. Booklet session topics follow. I may not exactly follow them… Where women in this group want to go, I’ll go there. I know I had to…
- Woman Person
- Woman’s Role
- Woman’s Work
- Women are the Poor
- Women as Church
- The Feminine Face of God
Let me know. A gathering space is waiting for us…or invite me to yours.
Blessings and much love. – Anne