At a time when Catholic youth are falling away from the faith, students at Saint Mary’s College (IN) had the bold notion to share the perspectives of young Catholic women directly with Pope Francis. With their “Voices of Young Catholic Women” project, they invited women born between 1981 and 1995 to write about their love of the Catholic faith, their concerns and hardships, and even their suggestions for how the Church might better engage women like them. Sixteen institutions participated in the project, resulting in 225 heartfelt letters, artwork, and a handmade stole, all hand-delivered to the Pope in Rome by St. Mary’s president Carol Ann Mooney, Bishop Kevin Rhoades, and two St. Mary’s students. The project will be shared this week at the Madeleva Lecture Series, which has highlighted the work of women in theology for 30 years. The event will feature a panel discussion of the project, sociological information on women millenials and the Church, and reflections on moving forward.
Over the next few weeks, we will release short stories about the courageous voices of our member colleges and universities. Stay tuned to hear about how students, faculty, and staff are responding to Pope Francis’s call to social justice and a culture of encounter. If you are still curious about how Catholic colleges and universities are promoting social justice on campus, read the original blog post on the Courageous Voices series, or check out ACCU’s inventory of promising practices, which includes many examples of our members engaging with Catholic Social Teaching.