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Womanly Novena: Final installment

 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:

October Novena

For a Synodal Church logo

“The call for a conversion of the Church’s culture, for the salvation of the world, is linked in concrete terms to the possibility of establishing a new culture, with new practices and structures. A critical and urgent area in this regard concerns the role of women and their vocation, rooted in our common baptismal dignity, to participate fully in the life of the Church. A growing awareness and sensitivity towards this issue is registered all over the world.”

Synod Working Document for the Continental Stage, 60

Mary Magdalene

Jesus, in a goldenrod colored tunic, reaches out his hand to show his wound to Mary Magdalene as she kneels before him on the road outside his tomb. Two people and two angels gaze at them in the background

“The Resurrection” by Kelly Latimore, used with permission.

Mary Magdalene was a full participant! According to Luke 8:1-3, Mary shared her time, talent and treasure with the fledging Jesus movement. She walked the walk (literally) with Jesus as he preached the good news and healed all kinds of maladies (as he had cured her). With a breaking heart, Mary and the other women accompanied Jesus in his Passion, death and burial and sustained his mother in her chasm of sorrow. She took the initiative to purchase and prepare the spices and perfumes for burial and led the women to the tomb of her Beloved to anoint him in death only to have the surprise of her life—to encounter Jesus alive and well and sending her on a mission to proclaim the Good News of the resurrection to his followers. But it doesn’t end there…

Although the women who followed Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem fulfilled the requirements for filling the place that Judas left vacant (see Acts 1: 21-22), they aren’t included in the lottery to replace him. However, they were present at the Pentecost event and received the power of the Spirit to preach the Good News to the ends of the Earth and right in their own homes, as we see the women leaders in the house churches. Without a doubt, Mary Magdalene fully participated—heart and soul—in the way of Jesus.


Mary of Magdala, you were the first to proclaim the good news of Jesus rising from the dead to the community that he had gathered around him. You lived your discipleship by participating fully in the life of the emerging Jesus movement that evolved into the Church. Your example affirms our vocation as women disciple-missionaries. Give us the fortitude and faithfulness to never tire in participating fully in the life of the Church.

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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