Celebrating women in the church

Today is International Women’s Day. That fits right in with March being Women’s History Month. Sometimes, though, the importance of these days is overlooked as we deal with a stressed-out world and the day-to-day grind.
But in the church, women certainly have a special place. We know this from Scripture. But how many times have you heard others complain that the church oppresses women? Or that something is wrong because there are no female priests? My favorite is the accusation that we worship Mary.
Since it’s Lent and we are preparing our minds and souls to celebrate Jesus’ victory on the cross, it is only fitting to point out one very important detail of the Resurrection accounts: the first witnesses were women.
Yes, women!
Now, if I were to sit down and write a story of some sort in a patriarchal society, having female witnesses to the Resurrection would not be on the agenda. It was on God’s agenda.
You see, though different in many respects, men and women are still called to follow and worship God and spread the Good News.
I cannot say why the first witnesses were women, but I can tell you that information gives me a warm fuzzy feeling; as if God knew gender would be an issue and took measures to say women are important as well.
I wasn’t always Catholic, as you know, but I have never felt more free to be a woman than in the Catholic Church. It is here where I have found my freedom.
So, as we take time to celebrate women throughout history and pop culture, such as Rosa Parks, Sally Ride, Margaret Thatcher, and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotamayor, let us also take time to remember and honor the countless women in Church history who have inspired and helped keep our faith rich and alive.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.