Project Description

Revai “Elizabeth” Mudzimu (Zimbabwe) is a Catholic nun of the Little Children of Our Blessed Lady (LCBL) order doing her PhD at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands. Her thesis is on Violence, The Catholic Church, Culture and Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Zimbabwe. She has extensive experience in working with Catholic women in pastoral ministry, violence and human rights in Zimbabwe.

Extract from Colette Joyce, “Women’s Ordination to the Priesthood: From Rejection to Vocation” in Visions and Vocations:

The question of why Catholic men are priests, yet Catholic women are not, struck me at an impressionable age. I was sixteen when a non-Christian friend of the family asked me if I thought women should be priests. My answer was a very shocked, ‘No!’ However, both the question and my reaction nagged at me, and I began to give it more serious consideration. I was surprised by how appalled I was by the idea of a woman at the altar. Where did that thought come from? I was a reader myself already by that time and I loved giving this service in the Church, proclaiming God’s word from the Old and New Testaments. I wanted to spend a lifetime devoted to God. I used to listen carefully to what the priest said and make up sermons in my head, thinking about what I would say if I were in his position. I loved the Mass and concentrated intensely during the consecration of the Eucharist. Every moment of it mattered to me, and I was just beginning to discover that I also loved helping other people, that I even had some leadership qualities which helped groups around me to grow. All these things were starting to suggest to me that I might have a vocation to priestly service except one – I was not a man. This idea of a vocation alarmed me. There followed six years of internal conflict. Why was priesthood an awful thing for a woman to contemplate for herself, and why did I not want to see other women in that role? Why could I not consider priesthood for myself?