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Winter Announces Spring

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Provincial Park pigeon lake 15-11-2020

The long Canadian winter begins.
The trees retreat their energy. The leaves lose chlorophyll and fall. How much wisdom a tree shows in this winter cadence. During the whole winter the tree will be concentrated in resisting (the strong winds, the temperatures below zero, the snow, the ice...). But life, in all its potential, nests inside it, waiting for the right moment to unfold its fullness. Without the wisdom to know how to live the winter, it would not bloom in the spring.

Each one of us in our life goes through the different seasons according to our unique experiences. In the collective processes, these unique experiences acquire an intergenerational dimension. The cause of women in the Church can be a good example.

Jesus, a free man who related to people without prejudice, and who deliberately remained outside the established social framework (the "politically correct"), empowered the women who met him. They were recognized by him, and valued, able to display their talents, their innate capacity to care ... they could be themselves and be appreciated for it. In the times of the first Christian communities, women played a leading role with recognized leaderships that transcended the cultural patterns of the time (Example: Phoebe, a deaconess, Rm 16, 1-2).

With the passage of time, male chauvinism, in which Jesus opened an irreparable breach, imposed itself again and women were confined to the long winter of history: centuries and centuries of silencing, of submission.

Throughout the centuries, women in all spheres, private and public, have risked social inclusion/exclusion by pushing the cause of women’s liberation. All of them, believers and non-believers, have advanced thinking for us and have nurtured our courage.

Today, in the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has allowed spring to begin to bloom for us. There are so many centuries of winter to be overcome that all steps seem far too few. But perhaps, as Jesus did in his time, at this moment in history, Francis has opened a gap in our favor that no one can now hope to close.

And we women are here, being productive, with our usual caring and life-giving nature, and moving forward in reflection. That Christian feminist thought, built collectively, is not only liberating for us, but also contributes to a fuller humanization for all, inviting a renewed fidelity to the gospel.

Asamblea presinodal mujer Quito 28-01-2019

It is true that the Pope’s discourse on us does not go far enough. I choose to consider the shortcomings as a stimulus to advance my own reflection. But we cannot fail to recognize and be grateful that he has opened oxygenating and gospel-scented doors for us.

As the Pope himself said to the popular movements, "Expect nothing from those above; build from below, from yourselves”. I believe that the same principle applies to the theme that concerns us, the role of women in the Church. The challenge and the possibility is to build from ourselves, from below, from what we are already doing. Within the Church institution, we are on the margins. According to the theologian Maria Cristina Inoguez Sanz, that is exactly what makes us equal to Jesus: he was never in the center, his work was from the margins, from the place of the excluded. It seems that the margins, institutional or existential, are an opportune place for the Kingdom, a place where it happens practically.

In the end, the cause of women is the cause of Jesus. He is the best example of knowing how to relate to women without prejudice, in a pure and affirming manner. His historical incarnation shows us that the knowledge of God is mediated by the practice of justice. He included women in his close group of followers, which was not well seen by "the good men" of the time. Conflict with the religious leaders surrounded Jesus’ life, but in the gospels it does not appear that he had any conflict with women.

Today, the cause of women is a touchstone in the Church. Everything suggests that this demand for equality on the part of women is in line with the gospel. Pope Francis suggests this. May we all, men and women, take the necessary steps to move this promising process forward with courage, humility, and without pause.

Mariángel Marco Teja Ursuline of Jesus Edmonton, Canada, 15-11-2020