Blog Post

First Woman Appointed to Vatican Congregation

Sr. Luzia Premoli Sr. Luzia Premoli

The superior general of the Combonian Missionary Sisters, who believes motherhood is one of the most important contributions women can give to the Church, has been appointed to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the first woman ever to be appointed as a member of a congregation in Rome.

CNA/EWTN News is reporting on the appointment of Sister Luzia Premoli, who was appointed to the Congregation on September 13 and who admitted the honor took her by surprise.

"I did not expect it … but I was also joyful, because the appointment is a concretization of Pope Francis’ wish for more women in high ranking positions in the Catholic Church,” Sr. Premoli told CNA.

She believes her appointment shows that Francis is committed to having more women in decision-making positions within the ranks of the Church.

As CNA explains, women serve in the Vatican already but usually as consultants or under-secretaries and members of pontifical councils; however there has never been a woman appointed as a member of a congregation which is a higher ranking department of the Roman curia.

But Sr. Premoli wasn't just chosen because she was a woman. The charism of her order makes her a unique fit for the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

“Our charism is that of evangelizing peoples who have still not received the Gospel, and to help local Churches to be missionaries in their local environment and at the same time to be open to all the missionary challenges in the world,” Sr. Premoli explained.

A native Brazilian, she has been a Comboni missionary sister since the age of 23. She served for eight years in Mozambique during the time of the civil war that wracked the nation from 1977 to 1992.  While there, she noticed “that people evaluated every little thing they had: a piece of soap, a dress … after four years, I went back to Brazil on a vacation, and I felt just like I was going to another world, where things were wasted, and there was a love for unnecessary things."

The experience taught her a lesson - that she needed to live a more sober life.

It also taught her to appreciate the unique strengths of women. “ . . . (I)n the midst of tragedies, women always carried their children on their shoulders, and the children were quiet and calm, as though the mother’s touch let them feel protected.”

This is why she believes motherhood is the most important contributions women can give to the Church's life. “The Church is called 'mother', and a mother must bear the announcement of this full and joyful life Jesus had given us,” she told CNA.

The biggest contribution they can give to the Church’s life is “the way women gaze at things, and their being heartfelt," she said. "Women have this peculiar passion, which probably comes from their being capable of maternity.”

She sounds just like a Woman of Grace!

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