A candle for all women

Last night I lit a candle and stood outside our house, praying into the darkness. I prayed for the family and friends of Sarah Everard, and all for whom her death will have opened ugly, scary wounds: of loss, of terror, of tears and survival. I prayed, too, for the dignity, safety and freedom from fear of all women and girls, especially in this city: my city, beautiful and flawed, simultaneously welcoming and inhospitable, safe and unsafe. This week, we have all been forcefully reminded of what it can mean to be a woman: the harassment, the precautions; the trivialisation of our experiences, and the too many incidents we normalise or brush off. This week we have been forcibly reminded of why we fear - and angered because we should not have to. 

It has been a harrowing week in which to be a woman... and a humbling month in which to be a religious. From Myanmar we have seen images and short videos of sisters acting as human shields, pleading with armed soldiers and offering their own lives in place of the protesters. These were shared on social media along with appreciative, glowing words about nuns, which I read with a mixture of pride and unease. I can feel proud to share a sisterhood with these unbelievably brave, faith-filled women, but also humbled by them. I know my limitations; I doubt I would ever have the courage, or the generous, selfless love, to do as they did. 

Instead, all I can do is what I did last night. I can pray, gathering us all into the open Heart of God... and I can love; always, I can choose to love... and I can be alongside other women in their - in our - pain, and in our collective vulnerability and strength. 


  1. Thank you this reflection. Yes, we can pray. Always.



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