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“She was warned but still she persisted”

The theme for today starts in the US Senate when Senator Elizabeth Warren was warned and then silenced for speaking out and speaking the truth. She found her voice.  In trying to defend the indefensible the Senate leader Mitch McConnell said: “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” On this day, we celebrate women who persist. Women who resist. Women who raise their voices in humility and strength, women who endure the indignities of violence, of seeing their families and communities ripped apart by war and poverty, women who are outraged when children go hungry, when we fail to protect the homeless and the sick. Tonight WE CELEBRATE THE WOMEN OF THIS BLESSED COMMUNITY AND SO MANY MORE THROUGH THE AGES who continue to love and to find ways to express their abiding faith in humanity and in acting for justice.

After 60 years as a practicing Baptist Jimmy Carter left the church writing: “This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths. Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple,” This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women's equal rights across the world for centuries.”

Remember Mary of the Magnificat – she’s the first to stand up to the Angel Gabriel and use her voice. When Jesus walked the earth, he extended to women the same equality as men. His The most faithful and fearless of his disciples were women. But what happened?

What happened to the self-assured Mary of the Magnificat, the wise woman Mary the Magdala the first disciple, Elizabeth and so many other faithful women. Were they taken up with daily chores, preoccupied with the cares of being mothers, focused more on the important work of welcoming the stranger, healing the wounds of war, leaving secure homes to found schools and hospitals. Somehow the men took control and have not given it up yet. But women persisted – in the nunneries, retreats, mother houses and other places where real work gets done. Women are often warned by church and governmental authorities but they persist.

Today we celebrate those women – all women. Here at Emmaus we too persist and we’re ready to recognize the contributions of women and continue to work of transformation.


Opening Prayer by Joan Chittister

Dear God, creator of women in your own image,

born of a woman during a world where women hold up half the sky,

carried by women to mission fields around the globe,

made known by women to all the children of the earth,

give to the women of our time

the strength to persevere,

the courage to speak out,

the faith to see the humanity of each person beyond

all systems and institutions

so that your face on earth may be seen in all its beauty,

so that men and women become whole,

so that the community of faithful may be converted in love

lifted in the will to persist and to share that love to all.

in everything and in all ways.



The First Reading:

First Reading: The Announcement of the Birth of Jesus.

The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a young woman betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the woman’s name was Mary.

And coming to her, he said, “Hello Mary, you have found favor with the Holy Spirit because of your kindness, humility and strength. The Spirit is with you.”

But Mary never spoke with strangers – especially one who spoke with such familiarity. She was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. But she was not one to be easily put off and she waited for what would come next.

Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary we have a request. If you will allow it, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you and you will give birth to a son. This child will be called holy, peace maker, the Son of God for nothing is impossible for God.”

Mary found her voice and said, “Well stranger, I am not afraid and I feel the power of your words. She continued “My soul proclaims the greatness of God w

And my spirit rejoices in my savior. For God has looked into the sweetness of my soul and not judged me for my poverty. How strange it is to know that from now on, people from all ages all ages will call me blessed.

The Holy Spirit has done great things for me, and holy is that name. Her mercy is from age to age and those who are arrogant will be thrown down. Because the Spirit will remove rulers from their thrones but lift up the lowly. The hungry will be filled with good things; While the rich and selfish will be sent away empty.

Those who are merciful will be given mercy. Those who are tender will live forever.”


A Litany of Women for the Church: Joan Chittister

We call on the holy women

who went before us,

channels of Your Word

in testaments old and new,

to intercede for us

so that we might be given the grace

to become what they have been

those who fearlessly proclaim the truth:

Mary, mother of Jesus,

who heard the call of God and answered,

  • We thank you

Mary, mother of Jesus,

who drew strength from the woman Elizabeth,

  • We thank you

Mary, mother of Jesus,

who underwent hardship bearing Christ

  • We thank you

Mary, mother of Jesus,

who ministered at Cana,

  • We thank you

Mary, mother of Jesus,

inspirited at Pentecost,

  • Inspire us

Mary mother of Jesus, who turned the Spirit of God into the body and blood of Christ,

  • Inspire us

Esther, who pleaded against power for the liberation of the people,

  • Inspire us

Judith, who routed the plans of men and saved the community

  • Inspire us

Deborah, laywoman and judge, who led the people of God,

  • Inspire us

Elizabeth of Judea, who recognized the value of another woman

  • Inspire us

Saint Mary Magdalene, minister of Jesus, the first evangelist of the Christ,

  • Inspire us

Scholastica, who taught her brother Benedict to honor the spirit above the system

  • Inspire us

Hildegard, the first healer, who suffered for opposing the hierarchy

  • Inspire us

Joan of Arc, who put no law above the law of God,

  • Inspire us

Clare of Assisi, who confronted the pope with the image of woman as equal,

  • Inspire us

Julian of Norwich, who proclaimed for all of us the motherhood of God,

  • Inspire us

Thérèse, who knew the call to priesthood in herself,

  • Inspire us

Catherine of Siena, to whom the pope listened,

  • Inspire us

Teresa of Avila, who brought women’s gifts to the reform of the church,

  • Inspire us

Edith Stein, who brought fearlessness to faith,

  • Inspire us

Elizabeth Seton, who broke down boundaries between lay women and religious by wedding motherhood and religious life,

  • Inspire us

Dorothy Day, who led the church in a new sense of justice,

  • Inspire us

Add your Own


Final Blessing:

Sitting where you are, I invite you to place your hands over your heart.

Feel the faint beating of your heart. This is the heart that hears the call, breaks free of the daily routine, begins the journey, one step at a time achieves the goal and comes home transformed.

With every beat of your pilgrim heart… what is it that you want to send out to your families, friends, the world on this Mother’s Day?

Kindness? Compassion? A Mother’s fierce strength?

Courage? Patience? Forgiveness? Healing?

What is it, within you that you offer?

Feel these gifts growing warm within you.

Now slowly, taking your right hand, extend it outward; and much like Spiderman, cast out a loving cord to all those with whom you stand and feel your cord flying outward, bound with all your gracious gifts and precious blessings ...

And imagine it now wrapping around all those you have chosen ... those with whom you share the road.

Keeping your right hand extended, now slowly, extend your left hand outward, and catch this cord now returning to you ...this cord that has encircled, embraced and empowered all those you have chosen ... feel the energy, the strength, and the power of this prayerful cord now returning to you.

And finally, draw both hands inward, together.

Pull the purse strings of your blessing to the heart place of its beginning… the only place of true change and transformation… feel this encirclement of love.

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