Voices of Faith storytelling event for International Women’s Day


From Catholic Relief Services


Anna Ruiz
Catholic Relief Services

VATICAN CITY, March 4 2016 ‒ For International Women’s Day on 8 March, at the Casina Pio IV in the heart of the Vatican, the Voices of Faith storytelling event will take place. With the theme “Mercy requires courage,” it will feature and celebrate extraordinary faithful women from nine countries on five continents who exemplify the courage required to live merciful lives.

The speakers for this 3rd annual Voices of Faith event (www.voicesoffaith.org/event) are dedicated to the empowerment of women who have experienced trafficking, forced displacement, violence, physical disabilities, homelessness, forced early marriage and lack of access to education simply for being female.

Dr. Carolyn Woo, President of Catholic Relief Services, will be among the key speakers. “As a women president of a faith-based charity, I feel it is both an obligation and a privilege to use my gifts as a woman and a follower of God’s word to help the poor around the world, to serve women in difficult circumstances by providing opportunity and hope,” said Woo who was previously Dean of the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, leading it to top rankings in ethics education and research.

“Working with women is a cornerstone of our work at Catholic Relief Services, providing them with the confidence and courage to forge a future for themselves and their families,” Woo said, pointing to programs that promote girls education, increase agricultural productivity for farmers, many of them women, and use microfinance and increased access to markets to help women develop businesses.

“Our speakers show that it takes courage to overcome adversity and become a leader,” said Chantal Götz, managing director of Voices of Faith, an initiative of the Fidel Götz Foundation (FGF). “It takes courage to break through traditional barriers to access and provide education; to venture into war-torn countries; to help war victims believe in peace. It takes courage to forgive your tormentor.”

Among the speakers is Cecilia Flores-Oebanda, a former child laborer from the Philippines who was later imprisoned for four years for fighting against the Marcos dictatorship. In 1991, she founded and now serves as the director of the Visayan Forum Foundation which addresses modern-day slavery.

When speaking at the press conference about her captors she said: “What I learned is that mercy begins with having the courage to accept that our God prepared us for a bigger mission in life, no matter how painful the journey is. Maybe one can never have courage if one does not have mercy.”

The Voices of Faith event takes place on International Women’s Day (Tuesday, 8 March). Live streaming starts at 15:00 hrs CET (14:00 UTC) on www.voicesoffaith.org.

For electronic press kit in English, Spanish and Italian including bios and photos please go to https://goo.gl/fjKwIm

For more resources, please visit Catholic Relief Services’ page on International Women’s Day.

Media contacts

Voices of Faith storytelling event:
Mr. Sigvard Wohlwend
+423 792 50 32

Catholic Relief Services
Tom Price

About Voices of Faith

Voices of Faith, an initiative of the Fidel Götz Foundation, seek to enhance the dignity, participation and leadership of women and girls through purposeful and compelling storytelling. The Fidel Götz Foundation is a charitable trust established in 1967. Its mission is to work with the church and catholic organizations to provide opportunities for a just and equal world. Its core area of focus is education. www.fidelgoetzstiftung.com

About Catholic Relief Services

Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding. For more information, please visit crs.org or crsespanol.org and follow CRS on social media: Facebook, @CatholicRelief@CRSnewsYouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.

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