I am a wife, mother and grandmother with a social work background.
I am a wife, mother and grandmother with a social work background. I studied for an MA in theology in my 40s and it was one of the best moves I ever made. Once I had an adult realisation of the richness of the sacramental and social teaching in the RC church and experienced God’s unconditional understanding and love, it has become central to my life. And when I became aware of how marginalised women are at a time when we are needed more than ever, I couldn’t become unaware again…
I spent many years running a Bereavement Service in a hospice, working as a part time University Tutor in Social Work, being active in my Parish throughout my adult life in different ways, and now in older age I work offering pastoral, spiritual care to other older women. I co-wrote a book about women’s ordination in 2015, contributed a chapter to the Catholic Women Speak book also in 2015, and regularly write about therapeutic and spiritual issues, applying knowledge and experience from daily life. So I discover my gifts are being used in other ways.
For over 20 years I have persistently prayed and campaigned for women’s ordained ministry in a reformed and renewed Church, and slowly realised I hear a persistent call myself, a call that does not go away. So many women’s voices and gifts are being ignored and this is particularly grievous at a time when UK parishes are closing and clustering because of too few male priests. Numbers going to church—particularly of young people—are declining, and I understand why. Our institutional church is clerical, hierarchical, still lacks transparency and inclusion, and the priests are mostly older, tired and overworked. Homilies and the lack of accessible religious adult education do not, on the whole, encourage enquiring and questioning minds. Despite Pope Francis’ attempts at reform I have not yet seen, from my position in a parish pew, the collegiality he wants from the bishops (in the UK). I increasingly think we need to get back to the glimpses we find in the Early Church: small eucharistic communities where gifts and leadership skills are shared amongst women and men.
I mention these thoughts and experience so that readers to this website are encouraged to believe that we can all continue to listen, learn and share our gifts and experience with each other, whatever age we are, at all levels in the church. We need to persist whatever obstacles we encounter within the hierarchical, clerical and institutional church. Jesus challenged some of the institutional obstacles, and with prayer and discernment many of us are called to do the same.