Today, women are awakening to a new consciousness. They are, claiming agency to discover their true identity. This collective awakening of women is indeed a global experience, cutting across the barriers of nation, race, color and creed. Women’s issues are becoming global concerns. In India too, women religious are more increasingly seen among professionals, activists, leading NGOs and People’s movements.
Convinced of the power of women to be catalysts in the healing and transformation in the Church and Society, in 2016 Streevani embarked on a journey of light and shadow - muted and mottled through shadows that produced lesser light through the - Impact of Religion and Culture on Women's Empowerment - An Indian Perspective, and another luminous, brilliant and shining - Reclaiming the Legacy of Pandita Ramabai as an Inspiration to Live Our Times. These were the two conferences co-organized by Streevani in 2016.
By announcing the Jubilee Year of Mercy in 2016, Pope Francis has kindled in all people of good will, a choice to act godlike. He invites people of faith to journey into Mercy, to be witnesses of compassion and to give consolation to every woman and man of our time. Hence, it is an invitation to follow the example of the Compassionate God who asks us to be compassionate and forgiving without measure. We are called to be mercy to all those from various walks of life, faiths, traditions, backgrounds, cultures, communities, professions and orientations. The papers in this edition reflect mercy from different perspectives, in order to make it more meaningful for all of us in our own given context.
During this year of Consecrated Life, we are called to celebrate our life as consecrated persons. Pope Francis, in his message on the occasion of the commencement of the Year on 30th November 2014, underlined the aims of the celebration of the Year of Consecrated Life as: to look to the past with gratitude, to live the present with passion and to embrace the future with hope. The articles in this volume are very pertinent to our theme - Celebration of Prophecy in consecrated life: blessings and challenges and reflects deeply from various aspects of consecrated life.
The world of woman is full of stories that need telling. It is full of mysteries that need revealing. This time of rapid change we need its chroniclers, tellers and witnesses. The current volume of our Streevani bulletin Birthing a New Vision titled “Indian Feminist Theology and Women's Concerns: Reviews, Resources and Remembrance” traces the genesis of women's writings in the church and in the Society in India and how it has found its voice from the top ranking down to the grass roots.
Justice, peace and freedom from violence need to be guaranteed to women because we are women, not because we are mothers, sisters and daughters of men. Raped, abused, divorced, abandoned or exploited, women are not a uniform group: each one has her individual background, circumstances, faith journey and ways of interaction with the Church and Society. How can we eliminate the painful reality of masculine violence against women in India? This issue of Birthing a new vision brings together the topic of violence against women and the need to strive for justice. It is high time that we read the signs of the time and see God at work in the rise of the subaltern, thus pursuit of justice is the prophetic response of our times.
The present issue of Birthing a New Vision highlights the two recent National Consultations bearing the theme Gender Relations in the Church: A Call to Wholeness and Equal Discipleship organized by Streevani, Satyashodhak, Indian Women's Theological Forum (IWTF) and Montfort Social Institute; and Building Integral Partnership for Prophetic Mission organized by Streevani and Ishvani Kendra, Pune.
This Issue of Birthing a New Vision deals with two main issues: Education and Employment for Women. “Arbeit Macht Frei” literally translated as “Work Makes Free” was inscribed on the gate to Auschwitz Concentration Camp. Today a visitor to the camp would shudder at the diabolic reasoning behind that inscription and the atrocities that occurred there. However, that work gives a person identity, freedom, confidence and dignity cannot be negated...
Dear Friends, it's our hope and dream that reading Birthing a New Vision will generate in us interest and commitment to promote a discipleship of equals in our ministry. Let us direct all our skills towards a humble, trusting, and searching relationship with all the People of God, empowering and affirming the gifts of the Spirit in every person, and, together with all the People of God, ministering with a passion to transform the degrading reality of the “little ones” of our world.