Remembering How Jesus and His Disciples Lived with Women: 2024 Italian Claretian Calendar

Dec 3, 2023 | Sanctus Paulus, Solidarity & Mission

Fr. José Enrique, CMF, had the opportunity to speak with Father Angelo Cupini, a Claretian missionary who has dedicated over fifty years to serving the poorest and marginalized in the Lecco community, Italy, during the ongoing formation of the Claretians of Sanctus Paulus in Rome. Father Cupini’s unwavering commitment to solidarity and integration of young drug addicts and migrants has made a lasting impact on the community of Lecco. In the following interview, Father Cupini shares his insights on the theme they chose for the Claretian Calendar they produced for 2024: the prophecy of women, and their fundamental importance in the life of faith and community.

Father Cupini, what inspired you to dedicate the 2024 Claretian Calendar on women?

It’s a question I also asked myself while thinking about the issue of the 2024 calendar.I’ll be straightforward with the answer. As human beings, we have all inhabited a woman’s body at the beginning of our lives and have been fed, raised, educated, cared for, and even wounded by a woman or by a multitude of women over time. However, as one woman wrote, it was the moment I realized that my body, too, growing up, would become a woman’s body that everything changed. I understood that if I hadn’t opposed it somehow, as an adult, I would also have occupied only marginal spaces and peripheral positions. Hence, the question arises: how are women perceived and lived in our daily lives, even in Claretian communities? Are there attitudes of fear, of exclusion? Every day, we hear about abuses, a horrific reality. But looking at these terrible black holes of humanity should not distract us from the responsibilities of a delay in the involvement of women in ecclesial and civil life. There are communities and men of the Church who do not abuse but are still unable to give due prominence to women who participate in the life of the Church. We have chosen a small path with the six thousand copies of the calendar: remember and suggest how Jesus and his disciples lived with women.

Sp 20231130 Angelo Cupini 1

And regarding the prophecy of women, what can you tell us?

The women’s prophecy is to pass from words to deeds, from speaking to doing, from proclaiming to be beyond taking care of food, growth, sickness, or love. They tell us, men of many words, how to kneel before another so that he may rise. They say this in daily fidelity. We want to recognize their fundamental contribution to the life of communities. We let ourselves be guided by how Jesus moved to meet the woman with the perfume, the mother-in-law of Peter, the little widow of Jerusalem, the hunched woman, the persistent Canaanite, Martha, the Samaritan, the adulterous woman, the woman with the flow of blood, the women at the foot of the cross, Mary Magdalene, the women of the Resurrection. Likewise, we have read about issues starting from the women’s body, from the effort of boys to build relationships, to ignite deep desire, to position women in a way that allows for change. Recognize the prophetic capacity of women also in the women’s foundations, in the garden of the Beguines and the story of Mary of Nazareth, the woman of the people whom God chose as his mother, and the voices and actions of women for another Iraq, like the women of the Italian Resistance who fought for freedom, the encouragement of Pope Francis for today’s world and the confession of the works of every woman.

Finally, what strikes you most about the women you have worked and lived with over all these years?

Their resistance to evil and their total investment in doing good. They get tired before us men but catch their breath before us. We must support each other by valuing each other’s different rhythms. In one of Cerezo Barredo’s paintings in a community where he celebrates, the woman guards the Book of Life: she announces and cares for its conservation. I believe that the contribution of women is decisive in the sowing of the Word in the lives of men. We could not have resisted almost fifty years in the experience of Via Gaggio without their presence.


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