The journey from birth to death is learning through life’s events, relationships, struggles, successes and sensitivity. As a woman engaged with women from all walks of life, I have been blessed to relate with ease with women as a whole. Some of my great learnings have come from those on the periphery who have been women of real grit and undauntable courage and determination.
Womanhood is a blessing and I often feel we women have great capacities to endure, nurture and transform lives wherever we are. As I reflect on all the stories of hundreds of women with whom I had the opportunity to interact across the globe, I stand in awe at what I have learnt down the years.
I am always at ease with women; our intuitiveness, concerns, laughter, struggles, all strike a chord within me and I have been all the richer for these experiences. Earlier on, in my younger days being in an Institutional set up, it was easy to relate to one section of the society. Having moved out of the confines of the institution I have become a wiser, daring, fearless woman, dipping into my own well of richness; realizing the resourcefulness with which each of us have been endowed. Having walked this transformative journey, I believe that each of us has the potential within; at times unexplored.
With this strong belief, I have journeyed with women on the periphery; women within the church; women who are in distress and each opportunity has been so fulfilling and so enabling that today we are a circle of women who dare. Women who in our collective search have begun to ask deeper questions, if not us, then who; if not now, then when?
Women who have dared to walk that extra mile bring solace to those in distress; to stand with battered women, to enable women to fight their battles without a compromise, to believe in self and what one can achieve.
To become equipped with knowledge, to stand up with our heads held high, to be prepared to walk a different path and then earn accusations from those who do not know what we are about. Women who in the beginning are timid but given a gentle push they blossom out to their full potential. Nothing gives you more joy than when women dare to speak out, demand their rights and are prepared to struggle to make a better tomorrow for their daughters and families.
Many of us celebrate 8 March as Women’s Day but let us not forget the other 364 days also belong to us women. We do not want one day’s privilege, we are half the population, whenever we meet we celebrate our womanhood and our sisterhood. How do these celebrations impact the lives of our women? How have they been empowered? What are the new paths they are breaking? Our journeys with our women are not accidentals, they are transforming society and we need to recognise, acknowledge and accept the contribution of women in every walk of life. They are the unsung heroines whose names will never appear in the Guinness Book of World Records.
We decided to honour some eighty women from our ‘dwelling units’, our teachers, our leaders, whose hard work and enthusiasm has inspired other women. Thus they have become agents of transformation for their families, their daughters and for the society in the most comprehensive manner conceivable.
Today, on the threshold of life, I remember with immense gratitude the first woman in my life, my mother, who taught me the values that she embodied during her lifetime. I strive to be true to those values and carry within me these values as I mingle with women. The lives of thousands of women are worth recording, someday I hope we can compile these stories of real path breakers; simple illiterate women with a tremendous sense of duty marching forward; setting new trends…and so the journey continues…
Submitted by: Sr Dorothy Fernandes, pbvm (taken from North India Province Newsletter March 2021)