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Women’s Three Languages (Mind, Heart and Hands): Pope Francis meets with Vatican’s Publishing Journalists

(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 05.03.2023).- “Women have the ability to keep three languages together: that of the mind, of the heart and of the hands. And they think what they feel, and feel what they think and do, do what they feel and think. I don’t say that all women do so, but they do have that capacity. That is stupendous.” This was the heart of Pope Francis’ brief but intense address to the Editorial Staff of the magazine “Donna, Chiesa e Mondo” (“Women, Church and World”) during the audience held on Saturday morning, March 4, in the Apostolic Palace’s Hall of Popes. 

The occasion was the 10th anniversary of L’Osservatore Romano’s monthly supplement, and the 4th anniversary — in the coming May issue –, of the current Committee coordinated by Rita Pinci who addressed the Holy Father on behalf of the Editorial Staff, stressing the beauty of working as a team. “We all work together, those whom we see here today, and those who for different reasons, were unable to come: the Steering Committee, the Editorial Staff, our two graphic designers. We are a good group and we work with great interest, passion and also joy. And ours is an intercultural and interreligious group. Among us there are believers and non-believers; we are women of different Creeds and Confessions, mothers of families and women with no children, professors, functionaries, employees, journalists, writers, and this is a strength of our magazine. 

The Holy Father thanked to Coordinator and, addressing all those present, and stressed his pleasure in reading the monthly magazine. “I’ve read ‘Donna, Chiesa e Mondo” since the times of Professor Scaraffia’s coordination: I’ve always read it because I like it, I like this challenge, which is already in the title.” And then he added: “Women have an ability for management and thought that is totally different from ours and, I would also say, superior to ours, of another sort. We see it also in the Vatican: wherever we place women everything changes immediately, it goes forward. We see it in daily life. I saw it many times when on a bus: [women] queuing to visit their son in jail, and the women were there: woman who never leaves her son, never! And I remember a good trade unionist, now dead, who told me that when he was 20 or 21, he lived the good life and lived with his mother, both poor, and he slept in the entrance of the little house: in the morning, still drunk from the night before, he’d see his mother come out of her room, stop, look at him tenderly, and then go to work, as a domestic, for a minimal salary. It was that look, “strong and gentle,” so he said to me, “that one day touched my heart and I changed. And this man became a great trade unionist.” 

From personal confidentialities to general reflection, the step is short: “Women, women: we use the feminine as a thing to discard, with which to play, with which to joke” and, again, [he made reference to] a precise and concrete memory: “Once I asked Von der Leyen: ‘Tell me, ma’am: you are a doctor and you have seven children, you call [them] every afternoon on the phone. Tell me, how were you able to unblock that opposition to the Report of the European Union to Europe during COVID, the Benelux issue and other countries that were opposed among themselves. How did you do it? She looked at me and, in silence, began to gesticulate with her hands in a diligent manner. I looked at her attentively, observing her hands and, finally, she said: ‘As we mothers do.’ It’s like that, it’s another way, it’s another category of thought, but not only thought: of thought, feeling and works.” And here the reference to the words mentioned about “women’s three languages: of mind, heart and hands,” he said before concluding. “That’s why I like to read and encourage this monthly magazine, and it’s not a kind of clerical feminism of the Pope. No! It’s to open the door to a reality, to a reflection that goes beyond. Hence I thank you and now I greet you one by one.”

With information from “Donna, Chiesa e Mondo.”