Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo


3/13/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (

Each woman expressed her joy in serving Christ in his Church.

Dozens packed into the Vatican's tiny San Carlo Cinema last week for what was hailed as a "unique storytelling event" on the dramatic narratives of women who give their lives in service to the Church.

Despite the vast difference in their experiences - ranging from working with drug addicts and homeless in Rome's city center to serving the marginalized in rural Nigeria - each woman expressed her joy in serving Christ in his Church.

Despite the vast difference in their experiences - ranging from working with drug addicts and homeless in Rome's city center to serving the marginalized in rural Nigeria - each woman expressed her joy in serving Christ in his Church.



Catholic Online (

3/13/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: San Carlo Cinema, women, service, Vatican

(CNA/EWTN News) -- Throughout the afternoon, 10 different women from around the world stepped onto the darkened stage to tell about their life and work.

Despite the vast difference in their experiences - ranging from working with drug addicts and homeless in Rome's city center to serving the marginalized in rural Nigeria - each woman expressed her joy in serving Christ in his Church.


"There needs to be a venue for sharing the inspiring stories and life-giving stories of women and people around the world that don't have that opportunity. I hope this helps," emcee Andrea Hattler Bramson, President of the Loyola Foundation, told CNA.

The Voices of Faith initiative was begun by Chantal Gotz, executive director of the Catholic philanthropic Fidel Götz Foundation, and project manager Giovanna Abbiati, in the hope of promoting "extraordinary talent, courage and positive social contributions of Catholic women around the world." The Pontifical Council for Social Communications provided the venue for Saturday's event.

As lay and religious women shared their stories, the those in the audience were often moved to tears.

Alessandra Melidoz of New Horizons, an outreach to those caught in drug addiction, prostitution and other serious difficulties, spoke about the organization's founder, Chiara Amirante.

Amirante found herself outside of Rome's Termini train station, a neighborhood filled with crime. Graffitied onto a wall was the phrase, "despite your indifference, we exist."

For Amirante, recounted Melidoz, this was a turning point. The foundress began to visit with the homeless there, "to listen to their stories." She discovered that the young people "had not been loved, or were loved too little, so their hearts are hard."

"Their pain is so huge that they need drugs and alcohol," said Melidoz. "They can't manage the emptiness that they find within themselves."

"They are not missing bread, but affection. We take them by the hand, we pray with them," she shared. "What we can do is bring them before Jesus and show them what changed our lives."

Through the outreach of those at New Horizons, those caught in difficult circumstances learn that "there is Somebody who loves them through us."

Sr. Caritas Chinwen offered the audience a glimpse of the joy of her faith as she stepped onto the stage dressed in the colorful habit of her community. The energetic sister of the Emmanuel Family Institute sang a song in celebration of motherhood in her native language.

Despite their work with the extremely impoverished and marginalized people in Nigeria, "we are joyful" she proclaimed.

"Today is my first time speaking in public. It's my first time coming out from Nigeria. I've not been out from Nigeria...I'm very very happy. It's a privilege," she told CNA.

Other voices offered a challenge to those at the Cinema.

Soft-spoken Augustinian Sister Abir Hanna invited attendees to consider the beauty of contemplative prayer, using the "daring image" of the uterus - a "tiny organ" that is "hidden, but irreplaceable." Like the womb of the mother, the Church is a "space for encounter," she explained.

Describing her spiritual mission, Sr. Hanna said, "I too am called to be a womb and a vessel," a "place of mission.not just intercession, but gestation," bringing souls to new life in Christ.

Another contemplative, Sister Cristiana Dobner, challenged participants at the end of her poetic presentation, "Does our face express His face? This is the question."

Sabrina Moranti, mother of nine, shared her testimony of faith, recounting how at age 25 she was disillusioned with God and the church, but went to confession because her then-boyfriend, now husband, encouraged her to go before attending mass one day.

As she spoke to the elderly priest in the confessional, he began to weep. Moranti was touched by his tears and felt the overwhelming presence of God. After that, she felt called to follow God faithfully, despite the challenges that came with family life.

"Mothers today are frightened, and rightly so," she admitted, "but the fact that God was patient and loving with me allows me to be so with my children," she explained, noting the great opportunity to respond to God that comes with motherhood.

"The story of the human being is born when the mother says 'yes' to God," she explained.

The Voices of Faith storytelling event on March 8 was the group's first initiative, though organizers are hopeful for future opportunities.


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Living Faith

THE ERROR OF OUR WAYS: Papal envoy says climate summit must be 'transformative' event Watch

Image of Speaking in French, Cardinal Pietro Parolin in his speech stressed that a meaningful global pact must be guided by a clear ethical vision.


A "transformative" agreement addressing justice, solidarity and fairness must be made at the international climate change conference. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, a papal representative says thatPope Francis says, "It would be tragic" if special interests ... continue reading

Pope Francis on condoms, fundamentalism and more Watch

Image of Pope Francis opens up about using condoms, fundamentalism and his visit to Africa (Facebook).


On Monday, November 30, Pope Francis delivered an in-flight press conference on his way to Rome from Bangui, Central African Republic. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis was very open with the variety of topics brought up during the press conference, ... continue reading

'I HAVE GIVEN YOU FULL WARNING.' Dark Days - Did Pope Francis just predict the END OF THE WORLD? Watch

Image of

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pope Francis has invoked Mark, Chapter 13 as a warning that we may be approaching the end times. He suggested that what he has seen appears to fit the end times as described by Jesus. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis has warned that we could be in the ... continue reading

Unbelievable exorcisms: Why is everyone obsessed with them? Watch

Image of Sixty-eight percent of Americans believe in the presence of angels and demons (The Possession).


Despite the growing belief that religion is losing its influence, people continue to firmly believe in the necessity for exorcisms. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to a Pew Research Survey, 68 percent of Americans believe angels and demons exist on Earth. ... continue reading

Come together this Thanksgiving with a beautiful prayer Watch

Image of Each year thousands of families celebrate Thanksgiving, but make the food their priority. This year, make God and all He has given us your priority.


Each year, millions of people across the United States rush to grocery stores and prepare to visit their families in celebration of Thanksgiving. Visiting loved ones and enjoying a specially prepared meal are both wonderful parts of celebrating, but don't forget to ... continue reading

Pope Francis: Jesus is weeping over a WORLD AT WAR

Image of Pope Francis mourns a world at war.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has made it clear, Jesus is weeping over a world at war. It has become obvious that this is a time of extreme danger for all people around the globe. No population is safe from terror. The threats aren't just from terrorist organizations like ISIS and Al ... continue reading

Oxford to begin study of Catholic relics. Here are 5 macabre relics people venerate from around the world Watch

Image of The skull of St. Thomas Aquinas.


The veneration of relics in the Catholic Church has been one of the most debated practices in the faith. While such veneration is actually common in the human experience -even Communists did it with the body of Lenin, the veneration of relics in the Church is the ... continue reading

Nine bishops, one abbot, dine and dialogue with peace activists Watch

Image of

By Tony Magliano

During the recent U.S. Catholic bishops' fall assembly in Baltimore, several bishops and one abbot, decided to skip dinner at the downtown Marriott Waterfront hotel, and walked several blocks to an inner city parish to share a simple meal with about 30 peace ... continue reading

Woman turns her cancer over to Jesus Christ - survives, thrives Watch

Image of Heather King shares her struggles in her new memoir,

By Mary Rezac, CNA/EWTN News

Heather King never cared much for doctors. Los Angeles, CA (CNA) - It's an attitude she partly inherited from her mother, "who classified ginger ale as a medicine, considered Novocain a snobbish extravagance" and somehow managed to avoid a visit to the doctor's office ... continue reading

Top 5 ways to find joy Watch

Image of Find happiness in spite of the darkness.


It is easy to fall prey to depression and sadness with everything that has been going on in the world these days. The trick to maintaining a positive attitude and living in the joy God has for us is as easy as following five simple steps. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading

All Living Faith News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 11:1-10
1 A shoot will spring from the stock of Jesse, a new shoot will grow from ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 72:1, 7-8, 12-13, 17
1 [Of Solomon] God, endow the king with your own fair judgement, the son ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 10:21-24
21 Just at this time, filled with joy by the Holy Spirit, he said, 'I ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 1st, 2015 Image

St. Eligius
December 1: Eligius (also known as Eloi) was born around 590 ... Read More