The voice of women religious at FABC General Conference

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The voice of women religious at FABC General ConferenceSix women religious attending the Asian Bishop's General Conference in Bangkok explain that their presence is important, since they represent the poor, minorities, the vulnerable, and local people across the region.

Several women religious are among invited guests attending the Federation of Asian Bishops’ General Conference (FABC) in Bangkok.

In an interview with Vatican News, they spoke of why it is important that women religious be present at the Conference.

We want them to hear our voice

As a representative of Talitha Kum, Sr Paula, a Sister of St Paul of Chartre, Thailand, said it is important for women religious to be present here so the Bishops know what women religious are doing in the area of human trafficking. “We help people, and we want them to hear our voice and get involved with our activity and support us,” she said.

Sr Françoise, also a Sister of St Paul of Chartre connected with Talitha Kum in Thailand agrees. She added, “I would like that the Bishops know about this and to accept our work in their dioceses”, so they can provide help to those who have been “wounded” by human trafficking.

We have a vital role in evangelization

Sr Deanna, a Religious of the Assumption and a Philippina missionary in Thailand says that their presence “is really important here.” On a personal level it is important due to her role Executive Secretary of the Office of Consecrated Life.

“I feel that my presence is a reminder to our Bishops that religious, especially women religious, have a vital role in evangelization,” she said.

Sr Deanna added that one of the most important aspects of her role is “to create mutual relations between religious, both men and women”. If she is not present at certain meetings, only men are present. “I find myself alone in meetings very often.” But when she is present, “they begin to listen, they begin to recognize the importance of the presence of a woman religious.”

My presence is making a difference

Sr Joeyanna D’Souza, a Daughter of St Paul, India said that as she was invited as a Pauline from because of her “total commitment to proclaim the Gospel through the media. Being here,” she continued, “I feel that my presence here really is making a difference. I am contributing my best from the angle of social media and digitalization of the FABC.”

We can contribute, we have ideas

Sr Whel, Sisters of the Divine Savior, Philippines said she believes it is important “for women religious to be present at the FABC because I have a voice. I need to express what is the reality of women, not only in situations, but also for them to realize that FABC does not belong only to men. But that we can contribute, we have ideas.”

Sr Whel also works with Talitha Kum. “It is also a concern that they and we should be heard about these issues. It is important that all religious, especially women should be heard.”

Channel for change

“I personally feel blessed to be here together with the FABC representing Talitha Kum and the Good Shepherd working with minorities,” Sr Sutisa, a Sister of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd in Thailand began.

It’s time, she continued that “our voice representing the poor…minorities…the vulnerable…people on the ground” will be heard at the table of the FABC. “It’s also a channel,” she continued, “that will bring about change…in the future…a very near future.”

Sr Bernadette Mary Reis