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Nine days of prayer for a more inclusive church

 Kim Westerman

A black and white drawing of three women gazing at the viewer, they are obscured by hazy lines

“First Witnesses of the Resurrection” by Marion Honors, CSJ

The worldwide Catholic Church is in the midst of a Synod on Synodality “to provide an opportunity for the entire People of God to discern together how to move forward on the path towards being a more synodal Church in the long-term,” according to the Vatican.

Catholics around the world provided input that was first gathered locally, nationally and by continent. Now, the church is preparing for the Universal Stage of the synod, which will take place in Rome beginning October 4.

Sally Harper, CSJ of our Congregational Leadership Team provided some historical context. “Sixty years after Vatican II, we are seeing how far that journey has brought us in the way the synod process has developed and the number of people who have contributed to a new way of being church.”

A More Inclusive Church

One theme that has emerged from all this worldwide input is a desire to rethink women’s participation in the church. This movement is especially exciting to our congregation because we have made a commitment to walk with women as we claim our voice and work toward an inclusive church and society.

“This synod, if understood and implemented, holds the potential to change the church into a more inclusive, welcoming church that listens to all the voices,” said Sean C. Peters, CSJ of our Congregational Leadership Team. “The synod documents call for greater inclusion of women in all aspects of the church. This gives me hope.”

Praying for Greater Inclusion of Women

As the church prepares for the next stage of the synod, our congregation is praying for greater inclusion of women. Sisters Sally and Sean have written a nine-month Womanly Novena for a more inclusive church. Each monthly installment—all available in English, Spanish and Japanese—includes a quote from the synod document, a brief biography of a woman in the church who inspires us and a prayer for our church and society.

“The women in this novena are examples of women who have and are living their vocation as disciple-missionaries in their world,” said Sister Sally. “I am grateful for their examples.”

Pray daily with us

Our congregation will be praying this nine-part Womanly Novena over the nine days leading up to the start of the synod on October 4. We will begin praying with the first installment on Tuesday, September 26.

You can find all nine parts of the novena linked below and at the bottom of each installment.

Category: Reflections

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The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet are a congregation of Catholic sisters. We, and those who share our charism and mission, are motivated in all things by our profound love of God and our dear neighbors. We seek to build communities and bridge divides between people. Since our first sisters gathered in 1650, our members have been called to “do all things of which women are capable.” The first sisters of our congregation arrived in St. Louis, Missouri in 1836, and we now have additional locations in St. Paul, Albany, Los Angeles, Hawaii, Japan and Peru. Today, we commit to respond boldly to injustice and dare to be prophetic.


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