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Editorial: Religious women do tremendous good

Published: Thursday, April 25, 2013

Updated: Thursday, April 25, 2013 14:04

Women do not have as strong a role as they should in the Catholic Church. Although their role is expanding, it is expanding only in terms of administration and not in terms of the clergy. The expanding role of women in the Vatican remains a good thing, even if it is not precisely in the fashion we’d like, but coming so close on the heels of the previous pope’s censuring of the Conference of Women Religious, the situation seems unlikely to change.

However, the pursuit of perfection should not prevent us from recognizing the amount of good being done both in terms of expanding women’s roles in the church and by the women in the church. The reality of womens’ roles in the church falls somewhat short of our ideal, but even though women have not had as much power as they should, their accomplishments are astounding. They have gone far and above the call of duty in their service to Loyola, the community and the world. Their work represents but a fraction of the service women involved in the Catholic Church do for the world.

Sister Bednarz teaches on many subjects, but a recurring thread in her teachings is how to think and reflect critically on the Catholic Church in such a way that we come to a firmer understanding of both it and the world at large. This lesson serves the goals of Loyola, but it also serves students whether they are trying to make their way in the world, strengthen their faith, or both.

Sister Willems promotes openness and tolerance on all fronts, even to those with strong anti-Catholic sentiments, maintaining significant discussion in her classes that serves to broaden the minds and hearts of all who participate and listen.

Sister Madonna became a nun and then, upon her order’s request, went to medical school so that she could serve their needs as a surgeon. She regularly did clinic duty and still managed to set up for nine o’clock mass every night. She still runs the kitchen at Awakening, and is much-loved for her excellent spinach dip.

The achievements of these women, impressive as they are, are but the tip of the iceberg of achievements made by women in the Catholic Church as a whole. Although they do not have the power or respect they should, they have done a tremendous amount of good for both the Catholic Church and the world. Loyola, New Orleans, the Catholic Church and the world owe these women a great debt.

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