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This issue of women church world is called “Mending”. This term, like the similar although not identical word “weaving”, is obviously used in a metaphorical sense. It has to do with women who stitch the fabric of society together again, who repair the social tears caused by human beings. Sometimes these tears are a matter of life or death for people, sometimes they are lacerations in a society dominated by the Mafia and by inequalities, and at other times they are rips resulting from war. The women of whom we speak use the ancient female skills of weaving and mending to repair as best they can the fabric of the society in which we live.

There are no schools for the Syrian children in Lebanon where Diala Brisly lived after fleeing from Syria and where she uses her skill in colour and painting to help them, to raise them from the abyss into which they have fallen. And we wonder what a society would be like in which no one learns any longer and in which too few people are reweaving its threads. In Kenya Tegla Loroupe, a marathon runner with many victories behind her, has founded an association which does peace-making work in conflicts and runs a school for children, removing them from the war. Five young Sudanese from her organization took part in the Rio Olympics. Just imagine their excitement. In France, moreover, there are hairdressers and beauty institutes for poor women in which for two or three euros they may enjoy treatments which normally cost a hundred times as much. Women learn there to care for themselves, to be able to handle work interviews and to look at themselves in the mirror once again. Those who work here formerly worked with rich people and then chose to make their skills available to those who have nothing. Again, in the most degraded districts of Palermo a sister is setting up places for meeting and sharing, far from the tentacles of the Mafia and without any institutional support. These are places where responsibility and participation may develop in everyone. (anna foa)




St. Peter’s Square

Feb. 21, 2020