We are living through a time of unprecedented global crisis as a result of a pandemic that is affecting every community and culture.
This is also a time of political upheaval and economic instability—a perfect storm which asks us to draw on our deepest resources of resilience, resistance and hope. Many are in mourning for those who have died, many are suffering from Covid19 and its after-effects, many are afraid for what the future might bring, and many are angry at the injustices and inequalities that are being exposed more starkly than ever before.
Yet this is also a time of awakening to new insights and possibilities. The Greek word krisis suggests a time of judgement and decision, a time when we are faced with radical choices about what direction our lives will take, individually and collectively. The New Testament uses the word kairos to refer to time out of time, when the chronology of everyday life is suspended and something altogether new breaks into human consciousness, bringing with it new challenges and opportunities. Faced with a long period of inactivity and social distancing, some have been traumatised and isolated, but others have found this to be a time of renewal.
For many, one of the greatest joys and challenges is the realization of how the suspension of human activities during the pandemic has allowed a period of rest and healing for this beautiful and wounded creation. As nature recovers from our abuses and excesses. people describe a new awareness of the beauty that surrounds us. We have been able to listen to birdsong in all its glory, liberated from the background noise of busy human lives. The night skies have allowed the stars to shine more brightly than before, undimmed by pollution. Rivers flow fresh and clear for the first time in decades. Now we must ask ourselves how we might sustain this transformation and allow our children and grandchildren and all future generations to share God’s gift to us of the glories of creation.
For many women in religious traditions, this experience has brought with it new opportunities, questions and insights. Not just Christian women, but women in many communities have discovered within themselves the resources for maintaining personal and communal worship and prayer through domestic rituals and through livestreamed liturgies and devotions. Tina Beattie wrote an article in The Tablet recording the experiences of Catholic women who have felt a complex range of emotions with regard to the closure of churches, ranging from feelings of mourning and sorrow to liberation and empowerment. (The article is behind a paywall but can be read free by non-subscribers if you register your email address).
Over the next few weeks, Tina will be engaging in conversation with women around the world about their experiences of faith and doubt, hope and joy, sorrow and struggle, during this time. Some of these will be livestreamed through Facebook, and they will all be recorded and made available through YouTube here and on Facebook.
This is a Catholic Women Speak initiative which forms part of the Catholic Women’s Council virtual pilgrimage to Rome, campaigning for the full recognition of women’s equality and dignity in the Church. The aim is to engage in a wide range of local, regional and international events – reflections and prayers, study days and workshops, celebrations and parties – which bring together women and men committed to walk together along the path of peace and justice for all in the Church and the world. Our hope is that it will be possible to gather for an event in Rome in November 2021, as the culmination of this pilgrimage.
Please join us to share our visions, hopes and struggles.