Women and the Church

At the Pontifical University of Santa Croce on March 7 and 8 the International InterUniversity Congress “Women in the Church. Builders of Humanity"

In her speech at the press conference, the Under-Secretary Gabriella Gambino offered a reflection on the 10 women saints who, in their different states of life, have sown the Word of God in the world
Foto Donne nella Chiesa.jpg


On Wednesday February 28, 2024, at the Augustinianum Patristic Institute in Rome, a press conference took place, to present the International Inter-University Congress "Women in the Church. Builders of Humanity", which will be held at the Pontifical University of Santa Croce on March 7 and 8.

The working table, moderated by Christiane Murray, Deputy Director of the Holy See Press Office, was attended by Prof. Gabriella Gambino, Under-Secretary of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life; Prof. Cristina Reyes, Academic Vice-Rector of the Pontifical University of Santa Croce; and Lorella Congiunti, Full Professor of Metaphysics at the Pontifical Urbaniana University.

The event follows a first edition held in 2022 and is presented as a laboratory to reflect on the presence and role of women saints in the Church, as well as a result of international and interuniversity studies thanks to the presence, in the Scientific Committee, of representatives from different academic institutions: the Catholic University of Avila (UCAV), the Pontifical Urbaniana University, the Pontifical University of Santa Croce, the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum and the Pontifical Theological Faculty Teresianum of Rome. This inter-university collaboration is inspired by Veritatis Gaudium, the apostolic constitution on universities and ecclesiastical faculties, which aims to announce "the joy of truth", by hoping for common scientific research, "interdisciplinarity", "complementarity" among the Faculties and the penetration of Christian wisdom into all cultures (cf. VG, 66).

As evidence of the great interest of the Holy See for this initiative, Professor Gambino presented the event on behalf of the numerous Dicasteries of the Roman Curia that sponsored it: the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, the Section for Fundamental Questions regarding Evangelization in the World of the Dicastery for Evangelization, the Dicastery for Culture and Education, the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints and the Dicastery for Communication. Particularly significant is the choice of the organizing committee to donate the proceeds from registrations to the “Siria/Aleppo- A name and a future” project, which offers protection and care to the children of Aleppo.

During the press conference, Prof. Gabriella Gambino, Under-Secretary of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, presented a general reflection on the meaning of the choice of the ten women who will be presented in the five panels of the 7th and 8th of March: religious sisters, missionaries, but also lay people, married women and mothers, who in their different states of life have sown the Word of God in Colombia, in the United States and Canada, in Italy, in Rwanda, in Sudan, in India, in the Sahara, in Australia, in Lebanon. Concrete people who have fully lived their vocation and their faith in an often adverse world and in sometimes inhumane living conditions.

This Conference will be a precious opportunity so that - Prof. Gambino continues in her reflection - what the Holy Father hoped for in February 2019 can come true: it is a question of "integrating the woman as the image of the Church into our thinking. And also thinking about the Church with the categories of a woman" who, deep down, whatever her specific vocation, is always a mother. The hope is that the reflections that will be made can lead to a deeper understanding, from an ecclesiological point of view, on how to make room for female originality to enrich the Church. Its spousal and maternal dimension is expressed in the testimony of these saints, who will fascinate us with their lives, their thoughts, their powerful relational abilities, capable of introducing into the world a different, original but also complementary viewpoint over reality, compared to the men’s perspective of their time.

These small steps too, in an era still characterized by views and systems built starting from very masculine paradigms, can help us walking with hope, looking with amazement and with the intelligence of the heart at the testimony of women who have contributed to weave the warp and weft of the Church. 

01 March 2024
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