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Once again the Visitation

We are beginning the fifth year of women church world with a major innovation – a change in format – but also with a return: in this issue, in fact, we are going back to reflect on what was our first theme, the Visitation. It is a theme which we consider, in a certain sense, to be the programmatic icon of our monthly.

“The Visitation” (Bose Workshop, icon in the Byzantine style, egg tempera)

Indeed we have started our work by recalling that initial moment in the Gospels when two women – Mary and Elizabeth – meet, one going to the help of the other in her daily needs. However, to reduce this encounter to a moment of solidarity between women would truly be limiting: Mary and Elizabeth are in fact both able to perceive the true and profound significance of the events that they are living, to discern the divine even when it is still concealed. And they do so before men, before the priests and the learned. Thus the Visitation is the icon of our project: women who bring to light, to the knowledge of the world, what other women have to say or what in the past they said and wrote, what they do or have done. Women anxious to know each other, to listen to each other and to come to one another’s aid. But it is also an icon of the specific gaze of women on the sacred. It is a gaze that differs from that of men, and is necessary for this very reason yet is so often marginalized and forgotten. We want to make it known and to disseminate it throughout the world. Our monthly finds its nourishment in that intellectual revolution itself which women have carried out in Catholic culture, starting in the past century, and which was intensified in the post-conciliar decades when women at last gained access to theological studies. It was a hidden revolution, almost unknown in the Church but extraordinarily lively, full of warmth and hope. We want the synergy between male and female to become a real positive force in the life of the Church and not merely an abstract exhortation, for the good of all believers and of those who, attracted by this example of harmony, would like to draw close to faith. (lucetta scaraffia)

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