By Aloysius John, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis
On this important day dedicated to honouring women’s contribution throughout the world, we reaffirm our commitment to the role of women as leaders in our Confederation.
Caritas Internationalis values women, their voice and their contribution in all areas of life in the society, in the Church and in Caritas.
International Women’s Day is an opportunity to raise awareness about the specific contribution of women, the need to take action to promote their equal dignity and worth, and to reinstate our conviction that women make an invaluable contribution to the life of our society in all its dimensions.
As faithful, we are entrusted with the mission of witnessing God’s love for all humanity, and that is what Caritas is about. We share the same identity of men and women created in the image of God, and we are journeying together on this earth towards the Kingdom, walking on the path of Jesus and enlightened by His words, His ministry, His passion and His resurrection.
In the Gospel we see how women were part of the ministry of Jesus, how they walked with Him as He travelled through towns and villages preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God, healing the sick, feeding the hungry and calling for justice for all. “The Twelve accompanied Him, and also some women… Mary called the Magdalene, …. Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who were assisting them out of their means” (Lk 8:1-5).
Jesus had a considerate attitude towards women and some among them, like Mary and Martha, were very close to Him.
Jesus showed us the way by accepting women as equal disciples with their brothers. The story of the Passion and Resurrection relates how women accompanied the suffering Lord on the way of the cross and to his death. The message of His resurrection, that is “Faith in Life over death”, was revealed first to the women who then went to announce it to the Apostles!
This year, Caritas Internationalis will continue to promote the important role that women play in the network. The General Assembly of 2019 fully recognised the extraordinary contributions of women to the Confederation and concluded that Caritas Internationalis must do more and engage further with women by increasing their representation in Governance.
The Assembly also underlined that the Caritas Confederation will continue to stress the importance of encouraging and enabling women to take on leadership roles.
On this day, I want to thank them for the role they play in our societies, as professionals in Caritas, in the Church, along with their roles as persons and as mothers, first educators of children, the future of our societies.
Happy International Women’s Day!