Vatican: 25 women to attend Synod of Bishops

 Pope Benedict has appointed 25 women to attend the 12th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops next month. This will be the largest number of women attending in the history of the event. Altogether there will be 110 participants.

Six of the women have been invited as experts - most of whom are professors of Scripture, two come from Italy, and one each from the United States, Spain, France and Nigeria. 19 women will be working as auditors.

Among the six experts is American Sister Sara Butler is a member of the Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity. She teaches dogmatic theology at St Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, New York. Sister Butler is the author of "The Catholic Priesthood and Women: A Guide to the Teaching of the Church," published by Hillenbrand Books.

Pope John Paul II appointed her to be a member of the International Theological Commission in 2004. Barbara Hallensleben, professor at the Faculty of Theology of the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, was appointed to the commission at the same time.

Spaniard Sister Nuria Calduch-Benages, a religious of the Missionary Daughters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, has taught sacred Scripture for almost 20 years at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. She also collaborates with the Catholic Biblical Federation and with various world theological institutions.

Italian Bruna Costacurta also teaches at the Gregorian. She has a doctorate in biblical sciences form the Pontifical Biblical Institute, and has been a member of the executive council of the Italian Biblical Association and of the National Catechesis Office of the Italian episcopal conference.

Italian Sister Germana Strola of the Cistercian Nuns of the Strict Observance is the author of several commentaries on the psalms and other biblical passages. She was the first contemplative nun to receive a doctorate from the Pontifical Biblical Institute, with a thesis on Psalms 42-43. She is a member of the Trappist monastery of Vitorchiano, Italy.

Sister Mary Jerome Obiorah, the first African woman to receive a doctorate from the Pontifical Biblical Institute, is a member of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. At present, she is professor of sacred Scripture at the University of Nigeria and at the major seminary of the Archdiocese of Onitsha, Nigeria.

Finally, the Holy Father appointed French Marguerite Léna of the St Francis Xavier community of consecrated life, founded by Madeleine Danielou for the formation of youth. At present, Léna is a professor of philosophy at Studium Notre-Dame de l'Ecole Cathédrale in Paris.

Most of the 19 women auditors are superiors of women's religious orders. There are also four representatives of lay movements, among them Maria Voce, current president of the Focolare movement, and Michelle Moran, president of the Charismatic Renewal Council.

Source: VIS

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