So often, modern women ask themselves, “Where is my place in a Church whose main infrastructure consists entirely of men?” The truth is that women do have a voice in their Church – more so now than ever.
The Archdiocesan Women’s Committee (AWC) has certainly been given an opportunity to be heard that is unavailable to most women. As defined by our website, “The Chicago Archdiocesan Women's Committee was commissioned as an adjunct committee to the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council. The group serves as an advisory committee to the Cardinal and meets with him or one of his representatives every other month.” In between meetings, the Cardinal asks AWC members to bring topics he is concerned with to our various communities to receive feedback. In turn, we bring our own concerns and those of our communities back to the Cardinal.
The work of the AWC has brought to the Cardinal’s attention such complex issues as domestic violence, human trafficking, post partum depression, and infertility. In addition, our technology subcommittee is in the process of using 21st century technology to allow the voices of women to be heard as never before. We have established a blog site (http://chicagoawc.blogspot.com/) where people can find blogs dealing with issues relevant to women as well as teens and young adults -- all in the context of the Catholic faith!
Perhaps the role of women in the modern Church is not where many would like it, but we are getting there. From Mary Magdalene to the woman at the well, women have proved an integral part in the ministry of Christ. Eli encouraged Samuel to respond to God’s call with, “Speak, for your servant is listening!” Samuel did not recognize the voice of God, just as perhaps we too long have not recognized just how important the voice of women in the Church really is.
Now is the time to recognize the voice of God in each one of us. So, to the Christ that is in each one of you, the women of the AWC cry, “Speak, for your servant is listening!” Catholic women of Chicago, what do your wonderful voices have to say?
Samantha Chapleau, AWC Women and the Church Vice Chair and Mary Ann Doormbos, Women and Technology Chair, contributed to this blog.