Pope Calls for Recognition of Woman's Role in Society

Sees It as a Condition to Foster Peace

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VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 14, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II appealed for recognition of woman’s role in society as a condition to foster peace and respect for life.

The Pope expressed his appeal today in a message sent to the Augustinian Sisters of Divine Love, on the third centenary of their foundation.

“In light of the great cultural and social changes that have taken place in the modern age,” the Holy Father said, the religious of this congregation are called “to help women in difficulty to rediscover their dignity according to God’s plan and their vocation to love.”

“To recognize the role that corresponds to woman in society contributes to protect the values of the family, life and peace,” he said.

In particular, the Pope asked the religious to promote the application of his 1988 apostolic letter “Mulieris Dignitatem,” on the dignity and vocation of woman.

In that document, John Paul II expressed the Church’s gratitude “for all the manifestations of feminine genius which have appeared throughout history,” and asked that it be recognized by the Church and the world.

As the Pope explained in his message, the religious exercise their apostolate through “liturgical animation, catechesis, formation of youth oratories, professional schools and laboratories, assistance in family-homes for single women with children, and centers … for weak and marginalized persons.”

The religious, who number just over 120 and have 16 houses, were founded Sept. 13, 1705, by Italian Cardinal Marco Antonio Barbarigo, bishop of Montefiascone and Corneto.

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