A prayer for International Women's Day

International Women's Day is both a celebration of women and our successes in achieving women's equality and a reminder of the challenges that we still face.

In 2009, the theme Strong Leadership + Strong Women + Strong World = Equality. The theme reflects the belief that increasing women’s participation in leadership roles will help empower them to live out their lives more fully in society.

This prayer from the Sisters of Mercy is a reminder of the many roles that women play, as well as a call to honour those roles. It is an adaptation of Miriam Therese Winter's "Valiant Women" by Cathy O'Keefe, a graduate of Mercy High School in Baltimore, Maryland.

Leader:

Who shall find a valiant woman?

All repeat:

Who shall find a valiant woman?

Reader 1:

Look! We are all around you:
in the work rooms of industry,
and of every functioning enterprise,
unheralded, invisible,
some say nonexistent,
but we know otherwise.

ALL:

Who shall find a valiant woman?

Reader 2:

Look! We are all around you:
contributing, setting standards,
changing the course of history,
preparing, supporting,
challenging those resentful of our collegial claims and capabilities.

ALL:

Who shall find a valiant woman?

Reader 3:

Look! We are all around you:
Woman of courage, compassionate, patient.
Our number is legion, our gifts diverse,
our goal one and the same:
that history hear, that history is cognizant of,
that history will one day recall our names.

Reader 1:

We honor the women of the Hebrew scriptures,
especially Mary, the Mother of Jesus,
whose courage, persistence, love, and fidelity
kept the lineage of faith alive.

Reader 2:

We honor the women of Jesus' time

Who cared for the community of believers;
Who followed Jesus to Calvary;
Who buried Him;
Who proclaimed Jesus' resurrection
Who passed the Gospel to their families, friends and strangers;

Reader 3:

We honor the valiant women of our own time

Who nudge us back on track;
Who remind us of the promises of Christ'
Who claim the Gospel for women, too;
Who preach the reality of wholeness;
Who strain against a patriarchal church
Who challenge us to grow!

Leader:

Living God, Today we gather in and among Your Presence.
Valiant women throughout the world,
and all gathered here, raise our voices in global petition
for your promise of wholeness --fullness of life--
to be realized in all our world, in our nations and inour lives.
This we pray in Your Name. AMEN.

Chandra Pasma is CPJ's former Public Justice Policy Analyst.

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