Pope: Teachings of women Doctors of Church offer light and hope to our world
By Christopher Wells
The example of Sts Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, Thérèse of Lisieux, and Hildegard of Bingen; of Sts Bridget of Sweden and Theresa Benedicta of the Cross “highlights some of the elements that make up that femininity so necessary to the Church and to the world,” Pope Francis said on Tuesday.
Light and hope for the world
In a message to an international academic conference on Women Doctors of the Church and the Co-Patronesses of Europe, the Pope said their “preeminent teachings… are particularly timely due to their enduring depth and relevance, and in the present circumstances, can offer light and hope to our fragmented and fractious world.”
He noted that all of these women “offered the witness of a holy life,” learning to be docile to the Holy Spirit through the grace of baptism, and drawing strength “from the love of God that filled their hearts.”
Pope Francis noted, “Our world today recognized that the dignity and intrinsic worth with which the Creator endowed them be restored to all women.”
In the female Doctors of the Church and Patrons of Europe, he said, we can see “elements that make up that femininity so necessary to the Church and the world,” including “the courage to face difficulties; the capacity for being practical; a natural desire to promote what is most beautiful and human according to God’s plan; and a far-sighted, prophetic vision of the world and of history.”
He also highlighted their great love for the Church and the Pope, while recognizing their call to help remedy the sins and sufferings of the ages in which they lived.
The Pope concluded his message with the hope that the conference might prove an incentive to promote “that ‘feminine holiness’ which makes the Church and the world so fruitful.”