· Vatican City ·

Caritas Internationalis publishes new booklet on women’s leadership and empowerment

Equality, Encounter, Renewal

 Equality, Encounter, Renewal  ING-010
08 March 2024

Caritas Internationalis presented its newest publication, “Equality, Encounter, Renewal: A Caritas commitment to the promotion of women’s leadership and participation, based on the Holy Scriptures and Catholic Social Teaching values and principles”, on Thursday, 7 March, just in time for International Women’s Day. Drawing from a “strong theological foundation”, reads the foreword by Sister Alessandra Smerilli, the Secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development of which Caritas is a part, the booklet “calls for an increased effort and an increased collaboration among Caritas, the local Church, and local communities to work together to empower women”. The following is a short interview with Stephanie MacGillivray, who works in the Caritas Internationalis Office of Promoting Women’s Leadership. She was one of the coordinators for the creation of the booklet and, as she tells “L’Osservatore Romano”, was involved in everything from outlining and writing the text, to “gathering testimonies from all over the Confederation to show good practices, examples of policies, programmes and projects which Caritas are undertaking all over the Confederation, all seven regions, to show their commitment to the promotion of women’s leadership.”

Is this the first of its kind — a Caritas booklet dedicated especially to women?

I haven’t found a resource like it mainly because it’s partly theological, but it’s also partly very practical, and that’s what we wanted. We wanted something which could go beyond the bookshelf so that it could be used as a tool to inspire action and change.

How much time did you spend on this project?

We’ve been working on it for nearly three years. A lot of work and a lot of love has gone into it, and we’re very proud. We wanted to take this time to really make sure that we create something which will be long-lasting and effective as well.

Can you tell me a little bit more about the title: “Equality, Encounter, Renewal”?

In all of our research, we just kept coming back to these three words, and it really sums up the mission of what we’re trying to do as Caritas on promoting women’s leadership. Firstly, the principle of equality, both scriptural — Catholic Social Teaching — but also social. It’s a principle which goes across the board and so we wanted to start from that very principle. Encounter is very much a “Caritas” kind of word. So basically we want to make sure that we meet people, that we meet people where they are, that we engage with the grass-roots, we listen, we really encounter people in the true sense: that we hear them and we understand them and we’re with them. And then renewal is our look to the future, because we want this to be something which can be used for a long time, but we also want it to be something which can be part of a transformation in the Church, in Caritas and in society more widely.

( c.t. )

The booklet can be downloaded in English, French and Spanish, from the Caritas Internationalis website: https://www.caritas.org/equality-encounter-renewal-2024/