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How would you describe women in the bible? This was the first question asked by Rabbi Sheryl Nosan when she addressed 34 women on the topic Re-viewing Women in the Bible, A Jewish Perspective. Sheryl encouraged her audience to contribute their opinions and insights to the topic at an event organised by the Council for Australian Catholic Women (Perth) at Trinity College on the 21 August.

Rabbi Sheryl talked candidly of her journey to become a Rabbi. When she was twelve, her three brothers held and danced with the Torah but she was excluded. This led her to being ordained as a rabbi in 1993 after studies in California and Israel. Last year she was awarded an honorary doctorate for her 25 years as a Rabbi.

Forty women leaders from Australia’s leading church denominations and Christian organisations have joined together for an historic visit to Canberra today, addressing in part the shocking levels of violence toward women and children in the Pacific while asking elected leaders to reinforce partnership efforts with the Australian and Pacific church.

With every mainline denomination represented, the cohort is the largest delegation of female Christian leaders to travel to the Parliament. Their unified effort—coordinated through the efforts of Micah Australia—comes in part from the gravity of the Pacific situation where nearly 87 percent of children and 1 in 4 adolescent girls across eight countries experience physical violence regularly while 1 in 10 experience sexual violence, according to a recent report from Australia’s leading aid and development NGO’s.

The Synod's final document echoes the appeals of the Amazonian peoples in the face of the destruction of their territories and cultures

In his closing homily at the Synod of Bishops' special assembly on the Amazon, Pope Francis clearly referred to those cries from the Amazon which, for three weeks in the Vatican, resonated in the heart of Christianity.

First, a scream from the ground, from the "wounded and distorted beauty" of the Amazon, "a place of pain and violence," where "attacks against nature have consequences on the lives of peoples."

When Iris Steward, Nora Nelson, Myrt Lynch and Gert Richards got together on July 23 1969 to start making clothes for needy families, little did they know that 50 years later the St Marys Sewing Group would still be meeting once a week and producing thousands of items each year.

Back then money was scarce and the women unpicked unwanted garments to make them into children’s clothing. They also unpicked old jumpers, washed the wool and re-knitted it into toddler garments. Blankets and quilts were made from material scraps and old blankets. Originally based in the St Bernadette’s Church kitchen, then the church itself and the school, everything had to be unpacked and packed at the beginning and end of the day’s work.

On Wednesday evening last week forty one women gathered at Trinity College for an event organised by the committee for the Council for Australian Catholic Women (Perth). The Council was set up by the bishops of Australia to increase the participation of women in the Church. Three speakers addressed the meeting on the topic Women Prompting Change in the Church. The speakers described the difficulties women have had in being respected as equals in the Church and revealed how women have manoeuvred around this obstacle.

This year, the Catholic Women’s League of Australia Inc (CWLA) will take its 49th National Biennial Conference over to the south-west of Western Australia, to reflect on the theme “Behold the Miracle of Creation”.

Scheduled to be held at the Lord Forrest Hotel in Bunbury, conference participants from around the country will gather from 9 to 12 September, beginning with a Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral, with Bunbury Bishop Gerard Holohan as celebrant.

Upper and Lower Hunter women came together on Saturday 22 June to ReKindle their Story, under the auspices of the Maitland-Newcastle contact group for the Council for Australian Catholic Women (CACW). Members of the contact group were keen to travel north and St Joseph’s High School, Aberdeen, is the most hospitable of schools.

The chill of the morning dissipated amid warm greetings, hot cuppas and ‘school made’ sausage rolls!

A specialised leadership program for Catholic women in Australia has been selected for inclusion on a Vatican website promoting best practices in lay formation.

The Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life recently chose Leadership for Mission, a course specifically developed by women and for women who are inspired by the Gospel vision of justice, freedom and the dignity of the human person, to be featured at the Dicastery’s first Plenary Assembly in November.

On Saturday July 20, over seventy women from the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn met on a cold Saturday morning at Daramalan College to form a Catholic Women’s Group for the Archdiocese.

This meeting was the final step in a long path of consultation and discernment across the Archdiocese over the last sixteen months to make sure that Catholic women everywhere could speak and be heard.

This original article was written by Rebecca Hall, a member of Leadership for Mission program.

The story of the Syrophoenician woman in the gospel of Mark is one which acts as a significant turning point in the ministry of Mark’s Jesus, where Jesus’ mission and ministry expands to those outside of the Israelite family. By offering a critical interpretation of this passage in Mark’s gospel readers can see how the story is draws on themes throughout Mark’s gospel to craft a message for the early church about how Gentiles in the community should be treated. Further reflection shows how this passage can be applied to today’s church and offers insights to the tools required for women’s leadership.