World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations attendees meet with pope
By Emily Booker
Two women from the Diocese of Knoxville attended the international World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations (WUCWO) General Assembly in Assisi, Italy, in May.
Patty Johnson and Sally Jackson joined more than 800 women representing nearly 70 organizations at the international assembly.
Both women have been involved in the national and international work of Catholic women’s groups for years. Mrs. Johnson, a parishioner of St. Francis of Assisi in Fairfield Glade, previously served as president of the National Council of Catholic Women (NCCW). Mrs. Jackson, a parishioner of St. Joseph in Norris, previously served as president of Friends of NCCW for WUCWO.
WUCWO holds its general assembly every four years. The parishioners work to address global issues affecting women, families, and the Church.
Resolutions passed this year addressed topics such as:
- Developing and extending the World Women’s Observatory in order to listen to and give visibility to women’s voices;
- Promoting religious freedom, denouncing religious discrimination, and encouraging interfaith dialogue;
- Addressing global hunger, food security and nutrition, and encouraging responsible consumption;
- Supporting the development of young people in discerning their vocations and accompanying couples in marriage preparation and married life;
- Encouraging actions to welcome, protect, accompany, and integrate refugees, asylum seekers, and vulnerable migrants; and
- Promoting the formation of women so they may assume a stronger voice through leadership and responsibilities.
The WUCWO General Assembly included a meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican on May 13 to deliver reports on women’s issues throughout the world and receive a missionary mandate from the Holy Father on the synodal journey of the Church. It was the first time Pope Francis met with representatives of all the women of WUCWO.
The pope thanked the women for their missionary spirit and work addressing injustices. He encouraged the women to coordinate their hearts, minds, and hands in all their initiatives and continue to be enthusiastic supporters of evangelism and synodality.
While the women were in Rome, the Vatican showcased a photo exhibition titled “Women’s Cry,” which depicted the suffering of women throughout the world paired with quotes from Pope Francis’ encyclical Fratelli Tutti. The exhibition was promoted by the Holy See’s Dicastery for Communication together with WUCWO to “give a voice to the suffering and injustices endured by women around the world.”
Just a couple weeks before his meeting with the WUCWO women, Pope Francis announced that at least three dozen women will be voting members of the assembly of the upcoming Synod of Bishops this fall. About 20 percent of the assembly will not be bishops, and at least half of that group will be consecrated and lay women.