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Cook and Theologian

The interview with Sister Rita Mboshu Kongo, which opens this issue, confronts us with a problem that is at the heart of the relationship between women and the Church: that of the service of religious women to priests, and at the same time that of their abilities in fields that are not domestic and subordinate. 

This young Congolese woman has chosen to live her religious experience in a congregation which offers its life to the ministerial mission of the priest through prayers and domestic care. But at the same time, thanks to her efforts and her intelligence, she has not only graduated but has achieved a doctorate in spiritual theology. Her cultural level therefore is by no means inferior to that of the priests to whom she provides service, the teachers and boarders of the Capranica College, with only one difference: she has cooked for young seminarians and priests who were following a path of study similar to her own, but who had all of their time available to study. Should it be considered a waste that such a woman continues to serve the youth of Capranica? Perhaps according to a superficial idea of female emancipation. Rita teaches us that the charism of her institute is deeper, and that she has further expanded it by adding another dimension to care, that equal one of “confrontation and mutual support”, achieving with the young priests and seminarians a bond of aid and mutual respect. Without a doubt, her presence among them is a great testimony of love and humility, to be respected and appreciated precisely in that it is freely chosen as a spiritual path. It would be different if she had been forced into this role by a church that did not want to recognize her qualities. The words of Sister Rita, like those of many other women to whom we call upon to speak in our newspaper, "are asking deep questions that must be addressed", as Pope Francis has said. ( l.s. )

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St. Peter’s Square

Nov. 12, 2019

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