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Womanly Novena: March

 Sean C. Peters, CSJ

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:

March Novena

For a Synodal Church logo

“The Korean report confirms: ‘Despite the great participation of women in various Church activities, they are often excluded from key decision-making processes. Therefore, the Church needs to improve its awareness and institutional aspects of their activities’ (EC Korea). The Church faces two related challenges: women remain the majority of those who attend liturgy and participate in activities, men a minority; yet most decision-making and governance roles are held by men. It is clear that the Church must find ways to attract men to a more active membership in the Church and to enable women to participate more fully at all levels of Church life.”

Synod Working Document for the Continental Stage, 61

Julia Greeley

A grainy sepia-toned photo shows an older Black woman in 19th century attire holding a white baby in a white gown and bonnet. They are pictured outside.
Julia Greeley (photo source)

1833 – 1918 | Born a slave in Missouri, Julia Greeley’s mother was whipped for caring for young Julia, who was ill, rather than working in the fields. As a result, Julia lost her vision in one eye when she was caught by the whip. After gaining her freedom Julia worked as a cook and nanny before moving to Denver in about 1878. Shortly after her arrival and, through the witness of her employer, Julia became a Catholic. She entered the Third Order Franciscans, became an active parishioner of Sacred Heart Parish and the main proponent of its devotion to Jesus’ heart, especially by bringing Sacred Heart badges and pamphlets to every firehouse in Denver each first Friday of the month. Julia became a key fixture of the newly established Catholic community and, because of her service to those in need, was known as an “angel of charity,” truly beloved to the city of Denver by Catholics and non-Catholics alike.


Julia Greeley, you who give us an example of unbounded generosity, help us to never stint in reaching out to the dear neighbor in need so that they may live in the dignity with which God created us all. Amen.

Missed a month of the novena?

Find additional monthly posts 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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