About the Womanly Novena
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:
- A quote from the synod document, entitled, “‘Enlarge the space of your tent’ (Is 54:2) Working Document for the Continental Stage of the Synod,” specifically paragraphs 60-65 on “Rethinking women’s participation.”
- A brief biography of a woman in the church who inspires us
- A prayer for our church and society
“Almost all reports raise the issue of full and equal participation of women: ‘The growing recognition of the importance of women in the life of the Church opens up possibilities for greater, albeit limited, participation in Church structures and decision-making spheres’ (EC Brazil).”
Nathalie Becquart, XMCJ
Sister Nathalie Becquart, a French Catholic religious sister and member of the Congregation of Xaviéres, began supporting young people within the Ignatian Youth Network (now known as the Magis Network). In 2008, the Conference of Bishops of France appointed her deputy director of student pastoral care, and in 2012 director of the national service for the evangelization of young people and for vocations. This led to her involvement in the preparation for the synod of bishops on “Young People, Faith, and Vocational Discernment,” both in France and in Rome where she was appointed general coordinator of the pre-synod of young people in March 2018 and auditor for this Fifteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on young people in October 2018.
In May of 2019, she was appointed, along with four other women and one man, as consultor to the general secretariat of the Synod of Bishops in the Catholic Church. It is the first time women were appointed to that position.Sr. Nathalie proposed the symbolic step of asking a woman to lead the retreat for the Roman Curia one year.
In February of 2021, Pope Francis appointed Sr. Nathalie an undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops making her the first woman to have the right to vote in the Catholic Synod of Bishops.She serves with Spanish priest Fr. Luis Marín de San Martín. Working with an undersecretary general Cardinal Mario Grech, Marín and Becquart have been preparing the Vatican’s forthcoming Synod on Synodality, scheduled for October 2022. Sr. Nathalie sees her appointment as a part of Pope Francis‘s effort “to implement synodality at every level of the Church’s life” and to benefit from the important contribution that women can make.
We give thanks to the Spirit who inspired Pope Francis to name Sister Nathalie as undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops. We pray for her and her colleagues as they begin the final months of preparation for the synod. We ask God´s blessing on all those who have participated in some way to this movement toward a new way of being Church. Amen.
Missed a month of the novena?
Find additional monthly posts here.