Online meeting on women in the Church: "Being Catholic 24/7 is a challenge".

The Omnes-Carf meeting on the Women in the Church. Work, commitment and influence The event featured the testimony of two women committed in heterogeneous fields who shared their projects and work in favor of other women and the importance of their faith in this commitment.

Maria José Atienza-October 19, 2022-Reading time: 5 minutes

They are women, Catholic, committed to other women in their professional lives. Janeth Chavez and Franca Ovadje have shared their experiences and desires in the Omnes Meeting - Carf held on October 19 and broadcast on YouTube. This meeting was an opportunity to learn about a wide range of initiatives carried out by women and aimed especially at women in different parts of the world. A sample of the work that many Catholics carry out in their daily lives and that, in this way, they build the Church and respond to their vocation as Christians in the world.

"We have to be the book that others read".

The meeting began with the words of Franca Ovadje, a Nigerian economist. As she herself explained, the figure and example of her mother has been crucial for this Nigerian who affirms that her concern for others is strongly influenced by the family example: "We saw the social doctrine of the Church alive in our parents. My mother was the manual, the model.

Franca Ovadje

Because of her work as a teacher, Ovadje noted that she has "the opportunity to open myself up like a fan, reach out to many people and influence them positively. Over the past 30 years, Ovadje has collaborated in "a variety of projects in which I have tried to live my faith and influence others in a natural way. In designing the programs I include leadership and ethics, topics that give me the opportunity to discuss fundamental issues." In this regard, he shared with the attendees his experience in three projects: Tech Power, Always a Bride and a literacy project for young women.

The first of them, Tech Poweraims to "build the capacity of inner-city public high school girls in the technology space. In addition to technological learning, we hope the courses will foster creativity, problem solving and collaborative skills that are necessary for the future. If women are not to be left behind in the fourth industrial revolution, something must be done to demystify technology and engineering and encourage them to pursue careers in STEM." This project has also benefited from the support of the Harambee Award Ovadje received last April.

Always a bride is a completely different program focusing on married women and marriage strengthening through "knowledge and guidance for young women to understand the why of marriage, understand themselves to better manage the relationship with their husband and extended family." Through training on topics such as "temperament, the meaning of marriage and the Church's teaching on marriage or family budgeting and personal financial planning" many Nigerian women are helped in their family and personal lives.

Last but not least, Franca Ovadje wanted to stop at the literacy programfor girls and young women between the ages of 18 and 35, which is currently being designed. She explained that "the program will make learning fun and adapted to the age and circumstances of the students. At the end of the one-year program, the students should be able to read and write, perform basic arithmetic functions, and understand basic concepts of home science and mental arithmetic" and stressed that, in addition, "the program will have a leadership and ethics component".

Ovadje concluded by stressing that "the Church needs us wherever we are, to bear witness to the faith, to a life lived 24/7 for God. In fact, as she explained, "Christianity is just over 100 years old in Nigeria. It is not yet in the culture of the people although we have made some progress. Catholics constitute less than 10% of the population. Living the faith in ordinary life, being a Catholic 24/7 is a big challenge in this environment but if we strive to live our faith 24/7, we will be the book that others will read."

"The world needs women full of the Gospel."

For her part, Janeth Chávez presented the work she has been carrying out for years through Magnificenta great resource for living out our commitment to being a Christian woman. The most important thing is faith formation".

Chavez wanted to emphasize that the "documents of the Magisterium are prophetic, because they are rooted in Sacred Scripture and because they speak to us of today's needs".

Janeth Chavez

The mission of Magnificent is to educate about the nature and dignity of women, their study guides include texts from the Magisterium of the Church, the saints, etc., and currently offer a wide range of these guides through which study and prayer groups are created in which women share a "space for meeting and listening".

This dynamic of accompaniment is key to Magnífica's mission, since, as Chávez wanted to point out, "we find ourselves with an isolated culture, many have not returned to their parishes or have lost their faith and we are not fostering these real relationships and we have forgotten that space. That space is very important because we meet the other and our nature flourishes".

The study groups, community and prayer groups of Magnificent are born with this sense: "as women we have influence and we need virtuous friendships that with their example inspire us to more, to be better people and lead us to others".

"We have, as women, a great responsibility to heed the call to reconcile humanity with life," stressed Janeth Chavez, recalling Paul VI who also wanted to emphasize that youth is now even more in need, if possible, "of the example of women full of the Gospel. A woman who knows who God is, who knows who she is, what her nature is". Along these lines, the director of Magnificent encouraged to go out of oneself and "serve others with my feminine authenticity".

Janet Chavez

With a degree in Marketing and Administration, Janeth has received training in leadership and accompaniment, Catholic spiritual formation from the In Ipso Institute, as well as theological formation from the University of Notre Dame. She holds an International Diploma from the Latin American Academy of Catholic Leaders. Janet Chavez is the director of Magnifica, an international Catholic apostolate for women; part of Endow. Magnifica's mission is to educate about the nature and dignity of women through study guides.

Franca Ovadje

Nigerian economist. A graduate of the universities of Ibadan and Nsukka, she holds a PhD in Business Administration from IESE Business School, where she has also taught. She has also taught, among others, at the Lagos Business School and various universities in South Africa and Ghana. She is currently a visiting professor at Strathmore Business School in Kenya and chairperson of the Danne Institute for Research in Nigeria, a non-profit organization that conducts research that positively impacts African society.

Author of numerous articles, book chapters and case studies, Ovadje received the African Management Scholar award in 2005 and the Harambee Award in 2022.

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