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Voices of Faith Annual Storytelling Event in the Vatican
28 February 2017

Twin sisters Nagham and Shadan taught life-skills to displaced children at a JRS centre in Syria until the war forced them out of their country. Now they're set to replicate the program with JRS Belgium.
"Voices of Faith and the Jesuit Refugee Service serve as a model of how collaboration in and outside the Church help address current challenges." - Fr Sosa SJ, Superior General of the Society of Jesus

Women of faith are a force in building peace inside and outside the church

Voices of Faith 4th Annual Storytelling Event in the Vatican
“Stirring the Waters - Making the Impossible Possible”

Vatican City, 28 February 2017 - The Voices of Faith storytelling event will take place on International Women’s Day, 8 March, at the Casina Pio IV in the heart of the Vatican. The event will showcase the important contributions that women of faith have already made and will continue to make in peacemaking and reconciliation efforts. Pope Francis is promoting a new politics of nonviolence. Women’s voices must be heard if peace is to be restored and sustained. The event will also feature a panel of women who will discuss the need and propose ideas for greater female leadership in the Church. Organizations and institutions, including the Church, can become truly effective only when women and men participate as equals.

Among the many speakers are:

  • Marguerite Barankitse. When civil war broke out in Burundi in 1993, she decided to adopt seven orphaned children. It was the beginning of a mission that would eventually save the lives of 30,000 children. In deciding to protect, love and educate all these children, she hopes to build a new generation that can break this cycle of violence. “When I became a refugee, I fled with my biggest treasure, love,” said Maggy. She says many people call her crazy. When Pope Francis heard Maggy speak last year he said “Of course, it’s the craziness of the love of God and of neighbor” behind what you are doing. “If only this could be propagated!”
  • Sr Simone Campbell S.S.S., JD. Many know Sister Simone as the ’nun on the bus.’ But long before the famous bus tour, media attention or countless awards, Sister Simone was active in working for the poor and marginalized as a defense lawyer and in spearheading the ’faithful budget.’ As head of NETWORK, she lobbies for federal policies and legislation that promote economic and social justice. She was considered a key player in convincing Congress to pass the Affordable Care Act.
  • Dr Scilla Elworthy. Scilla says her passion is “to enable leaders to make wiser decisions so that there is less suffering because of war.” Through the Oxford Research Group, she brought together nuclear weapons policy makers – from China, the USA, Russia, France, India, Pakistan and the UK –and their detractors to build the framework for arms control treaties. Later, at Peace Direct, which she also founded, her work identified 1,400 viable locally-led initiatives for peace in active conflict areas and provided support so they could better carry-out their peace keeping work.
  • Dr Mirreille Twayigira. When she speaks about her childhood, she addresses the many adversities and wrong-doings that she has managed to overcome. Her miraculous journey from refugee to medical doctor was ’the impossible!’ She will also speak about ‘the possible ‘-- the things she wants to see changed in this world and how she sees her role in helping to create that change.

Jesuit Refugee Service and Voices of Faith in partnership

Jesuit Refugee Service and Voices of Faith are pleased to continue their second successful year in partnership based on their common values.

Father Arturo Sosa SJ, Superior General of the Society of Jesus and opening speaker of the event, says: “These are impossible times in our world. We have to think about the ways that we, as the human community, can respond. We need to stand and work together as women and men of faith. I cannot put enough emphasis on this need for collaboration, as I believe that only together we can achieve what today seems impossible. Voices of Faith and the Jesuit Refugee Service serve as a model of how collaboration in and outside the Church help address current challenges.

Chantal M. Götz, Executive Director Fidel Götz Foundation and Managing Director Voices of Faith, says, “We as partners aim to support the Catholic Church and Catholic organizations to see their mission and work through a gender lens. We hope they will realize how expansive, but how vastly underutilized, the expertise of female leaders working for the Church and Catholic organizations truly is.”

The Voices of Faith event will take place on International Women’s Day (Wednesday, 8 March). Live streaming starts at 15:00 hrs CET (14:00 UTC) on

Press Contact Information
Martina Bezzini