On the occasion of International Women’s Day, March 8, 2017, the Jesuit Refugee Service and the “Voices of Faith” Association are organizing a congress at the Vatican, to bring to light the contributions of women of faith in favor of peace.
The theme of this year’s 4th congress of “Voices of Faith” narratives is: “Stir the Waters: Make the Impossible Possible.” “Women’s voices must be heard if peace is to be restored and sustained,” explains a note presenting the event. The speakers will suggest ideas to give women more responsibilities in the Church.
The press release gives portraits of women who will speak at the Vatican:
Burundian Marguerite Barankitse, who gave testimony with Pope Francis at the time of the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation at Lund, Sweden, on October 31, 2016. When the civil war broke out in Burundi in 1993, she decided to adopt seven orphan children. It was the beginning of a mission that would save the life of 30,000 children. On deciding to protect, to love and to educate all these children, she hoped to build a new generation that would break the cycle of violence. “When I became a refugee, I fled with my greatest treasure, love,” explains Maggy. She says that many people say she is mad. When the Pope heard Maggy speak, he exclaimed: “Of course, it’s the folly of the love of God and of one’s neighbor.”
American Religious Simone Campbell, director of “Nuns on the bus,” initiative for immigrants, has worked for the poor and for marginalized individuals as a lawyer of the defense and launched the “Faithful Budget”. At the head of the NETWORK organization, she has exerted pressure in favor of Federal policies and laws that foster economic and social justice. She was regarded as a key actor to convince Congress to adopt the law on affordable care.
British Scilla Elworthy, whose passion is to “enable leaders to take more judicious decisions so that there is less suffering caused by war,” is the Founder of the Oxford Research Group, which gathered decision-makers in the field of nuclear arms – from China, the United States, Russia, France, India, Pakistan and the United Kingdom – and their [detractors] to establish the framework of treaties for arms control. Later, at Peace Direct, which she also founded, her work listed 1,400 viable local initiatives in favor of peace in areas of active conflict and provided them with support.