After celebrating the World Day of the Poor with the Universal Church, Claretian communities are preparing to join the global call to end violence against women.
At the beginning of November, the General Prefecture for the Apostolate shared a message from Pope Francis with all the Provinces and Delegations of the Congregation. The message was made public on October 27, 2023, during a campaign against violence against women which was sponsored by Italian public radio and television. In his message, the Pope strongly condemned violence against women and called for its complete eradication from its roots. He denounced the mentality that views women as objects or property that others can dispose of as they please.
Pope Francis urges immediate, bold action to change attitudes and give voice to silenced women.
The Claretian Missionaries’ most recent General Chapter, held in 2021, expressed its deep appreciation for the important role women play in both ecclesial and social life (QC 80). Following the Solidarity and Mission of America meeting, the General Prefect of Apostolate extended an invitation from the Congregation’s General Government to the Provincial Superiors of the continent to combat any practices that do not align with the values of the Gospel and to promote “significant transformations” that eliminate any attitudes or behaviors that degrade or disrespect women from all Claretian communities and apostolic positions.
The Congregation is grateful for the dedication of thousands of women who are responsible for catechesis, coordinating projects of solidarity and mission, pastoral work with children and youth, caring for the sick and needy, and coordinating biblical and liturgical animation, among other important works. These women are vital to the Claretian community and are increasingly being called upon to lead retreats and formation processes for the missionaries themselves, as well as serve on various councils such as pastoral, academic, economic, and safe environments. Though the road ahead may be long, the Congregation is grateful for the contributions of these women and looks forward to working with them in the future.
The missionaries of the General Curia will participate in the International Day for the Eradication of Violence against Women on November 25, 2023, through their monthly retreat. They will reflect on the message of Pope Francis and remember the victims of trafficking, sexual exploitation, abuse, and all forms of war and violence.
Silence is sometimes necessary, while other times we must raise our voices. We Claretian Missionaries feel called to ask ourselves what we must change and to encourage our male brothers to do so with determination. Not one more silence. Not one more violated woman. There is violence that cries out to heaven.