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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Nuns hope more women at summit sets standard for future Vatican meetings

The Catholic sisters who took part in Pope Francis’ summit on clergy sexual abuse say they hope the presence of a dozen women at the gathering sets a standard for a growing presence of women at Vatican meetings of bishops.

“We would like to think that this is how things will be in the future,” Maltese Sr Carmen Sammut, one of the women invited to attend the 21st to 24th February summit on child protection, said at a 25th February briefing. While three women religious participated in the 2018 Synod of Bishops, 10 attended the summit, reported Global Sisters Report.

“We hope that this is an example of what will happen in the future, that we will have more say, more places in synods and other big meetings at the Vatican,” Sr Carmen said.

Sr Carmen, who heads both the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa and the Rome-based umbrella group International Union of Superiors General, or UISG, spoke at the briefing alongside five other sisters who took part at the summit: Irish Blessed Virgin Mary Sr Pat Murray, Nigerian Sr Veronica Openibo, congregational leader of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus; German Holy Spirit Sr Maria Hornamann, Sr Aurora Torres, head of the Sisters of Mary Reparatrix; and Indian Sr Monica Joseph, superior general of the Congregation of Religious of Jesus and Mary.

Sr Pat, UISG’s executive secretary, said the group represents about 1,900 religious congregations around the world that consist of more than 600,000 women.

Picture: Women religious from around the world are seen at a Rome briefing following their participation in the Vatican summit on protection of minors. Pictured at the 25th February event are Maltese Sr Carmen Sammut, head of the International Union of Superiors General; German Holy Spirit Sr Maria Hornamann; Sr Veronica Openibo, congregational leader of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus; and Indian Sr Monica Joseph, superior general of the Congregation of Religious of Jesus and Mary. (CNS photo/Joshua J. McElwee, Global Sisters Report).