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Womanly Novena: August

 Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet

About the Womanly Novena

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 | Learn more about our sister artists

At our most recent congregational chapter, our congregation made a commitment to support women. “Striving to be beacons of hope, we commit to…walk with women as we claim our voice and work toward an inclusive church and society…”

The worldwide Catholic Church is in the midst of a Synod on Synodality, which has sought input from Catholics around the globe “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.”

As the church prepares for the next stage of the synod, we invite you to pray with us a womanly novena, each month for nine months, for a more inclusive church. Each month, we will share:

August Novena

For a Synodal Church logo

“However, the reports do not agree on a single or complete response to the question of the vocation, inclusion and flourishing of women in Church and society. After careful listening, many reports ask that the Church continue its discernment in relation to a range of specific questions: the active role of women in the governing structures of Church bodies, the possibility for women with adequate training to preach in parish settings, and a female diaconate. Much greater diversity of opinion was expressed on the subject of priestly ordination for women, which some reports call for, while others consider a closed issue.”

Synod Working Document for the Continental Stage, 64

Huldah: A Woman Prophet

A black and white engraving of a crowd in ancient times gathered on the temple steps around a woman. She wears flowing robes and multiple beaded necklaces and has her arm raised above her head as she gazes serenely at the crowd.
Deborah Praises Jael, Gustav Doré.
Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Huldah’s story is found in 2 Kings 22 and repeated in 2 Chronicles 34. The young king Josiah is having repairs made to the temple and wants all the workers to be paid and materials to be bought for these repairs. He requests that all the precious metals that have been donated be smelted down and used for these purposes. In carrying out this task, the high priest finds the book of the law and reports this to the king, who has it read to him. Hearing the content causes the king great consternation because he realizes that his forefathers had not lived the law of God.

He sends a delegation to consult with the prophetess Huldah, and her prophecy, found in verses 14-20, minces no words about how the results of not obeying God’s law will affect the people. But she assures the king that because he was “heartsick and humbled himself before the Lord” he will “go to his grave in peace.”

In her book Abuelita Faith: What Women on the Margins Teach Us about Wisdom, Persistence, and Strength, Kat Armas puts into words the question that many of us may be asking: Why have we seldom heard of this prophetess? Armas says: “I wonder if her story goes untold because it’s hard to reconcile a truth-telling woman, a prophet who instructs a man—the king—in the way of God, with the narratives that are forced on women by much of the church. Some in the church tell women that they can’t lead men, that the Bible says so, but what about Huldah? She was called by God to tell the truth….”

Let us delight in discovering this woman who shows us a way that women can take active roles in the Church.


Huldah, unknown prophetess, help us listen more closely to the women who are prophets among us: women who speak the truth regardless of the consequences, women who move with the power of God in situations of danger, daring to speak God’s word to all who will hear. Amen.

Missed a month of the novena?

Find all of the installments here.

Category: Reflections

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About us

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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