A Litany for Sept. 26: “A Sunday Without Women”

by Peter Wm. Gray, SS

Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB, and the community of Benedictines in Erie, Pennsylvania, worked with artist Peter Wm. Gray, SS, to created a wonderful litany of women for the church. (Purchase prayer cards in English and Spanish.) Seventeen holy women are called upon to intercede for us so that we might be given the courage and grace to transform our self, our society, and our church. This litany is a perfect prayer to use on Sept. 26: “A Sunday Without Women” in support of justice for Catholic women.

A Litany of Women for the Church by Joan Chittister, OSB

Dear God,
creator of women in your own image,
born of a woman in the midst of a world half women,
carried by women to mission fields around the globe,
made known by women to all the children of the earth,

give to the women of our time
the strength to persevere,
the courage to speak out,
the faith t o believe in you beyond all systems and institutions

so that your face on earth may be seen in all its beauty,
so that men and women become whole,
so that the church may be converted to your will
in everything and in all ways.

We call on the holy women
who went before us,
channels of Your Word
in testaments old and new,
to intercede for us
so that we might be given the grace
to become what they have been
for the honor and glory of God.

Saint Esther, who pleaded against power for the liberation of the people, Pray for us.
Saint Judith, who routed the plans of men and saved the community, Pray for us.
Saint Deborah, laywoman and judge, who led the people of God, Pray for us.
Saint Elizabeth of Judea, who recognized the value of another woman, Pray for us.
Saint Mary Magdalene, minister of Jesus, first evangelist of the Christ, Pray for us.
Saint Scholastica, who taught her brother Benedict to honor the spirit above the system, Pray for us.
Saint Hildegard, who suffered interdict for the doing of right, Pray for us.
Saint Joan of Arc, who put no law above the law of God, Pray for us.
Saint Clare of Assisi, who confronted the pope with the image of woman as equal, Pray for us.
Saint Julian of Norwich, who proclaimed for all of us the motherhood of God, Pray for us.
Saint Therese of Lisieux, who knew the call to priesthood in herself, Pray for us.
Saint Catherine of Siena, to whom the pope listened,Pray for us.
Saint Teresa of Avila, who brought women’s gifts to the reform of the church, Pray for us.
Saint Edith Stein, who brought fearlessness to faith, Pray for us.
Saint Elizabeth Seton, who broke down boundaries between lay women and religious
by wedding motherhood and religious life, Pray for us.
Saint Dorothy Day, who led the church to a new sense of justice, Pray for us.
Mary, mother of Jesus, who heard the call of God and answered, Pray for us.
Mary, mother of Jesus, who drew strength from the woman Elizabeth, Pray for us.
Mary, mother of Jesus, who underwent hardship, bearing Christ, Pray for us.
Mary, mother of Jesus, who ministered at Cana, Pray for us.
Mary, mother of Jesus, inspirited at Pentecost,  Pray for us.
Mary, mother of Jesus, who turned the Spirit of God into the body and blood of Christ, Pray for us.

Irish Woman Calls on Catholics to Boycott Mass on Sept. 26 For Greater Inclusion of Women

Jennifer Sleeman, an 80-year-old Catholic convert from Clonakilty in Cork, Ireland, is calling on Catholic women to “join your sisters on Sunday, September 26th. On that one day, boycott Mass. Stay at home and pray for change. We are the majority. We may have been protesting individually but unremarked on, but together we have strength and our absence, the empty pews, will be noticed.”

Men are also welcome to participate in the boycott, she said. “It’s not just about Mná na h-Éireann [Women of Ireland]. But it’s for them, because they are frustrated.” This invitation is now being spread to the faithful women of the Catholic church across the world.

(If you want to learn about the map of women boycotting on Sunday, Sept. 26, then go here.)

I love the fact that she uses the Gaelic phrase Mná na h-Éireann. It’s a phrase that carries great cultural weight referencing the critical role of women in the Irish liberation struggle.

Sleemen notes: “I am not a cradle Catholic. I chose to join as an adult [54 years ago] helped by meeting a wonderful priest … but I now wonder did I do the right thing? … Somehow I have grown up but the church has not.”

Here’s an excerpt from the news article:

“Whatever change you long for, recognition, ordination, the end of celibacy, which is another means of keeping women out, join with your sisters and let the hierarchy know by your absence that the days of an exclusively male-dominated church are over.”

Of the sexual abuse scandals within the Catholic Church, she said: “I find I belong to an organization that seems caught in a time warp, run by old celibate men divorced from the realities of life, with a lonely priesthood struggling with the burden of celibacy where rules and regulations have more weight than the original message of community and love.”

She said: “Some of the grandchildren go through the rites of sacraments, but seldom, if ever, visit a church afterwards. Some of my children are actively looking for a meaningful spiritual life, but they do not find it in the Catholic Church — I must except my eldest son who is a monk in Glenstal Abbey, another place that helps me keep some shreds of faith.”

You can read the whole article here. Or the article in the Irish Times here. There were two comments posted on the article that I particularly liked:

Well, hats off to Granny. It’s true women are treated as second class citizens. More women should support Jennifer & boycott Sunday Mass for a few weeks. Maybe it will wake up the Vatican to start doing the right thing instead of giving lip service. Come on Ladies show the church your not just a bunch of dumb sheep. The church seems to forget God created Women also. Ladies – hit them in the pocketbook. that’s where it will hurt!! Time to weed the chaff from the wheat.

Why not go back to the HEDGEROW MASS, when we had to endure anti-Catholicism by the Brits.

I think “hedgerow Masses” are a great idea! This is the equivalent of the house-church movement in the United States or the base community movement in Latin America and SE Asia. Are there priests who are willing to serve these communities? My guess is that there are.