Soline Humbert writes…

When There Was No Room At The Church Inn And A Wise Woman Came With A Gift

Twenty five years ago today a friend of mine, a missionary sister returning from Africa, gave me a very special present with these words: ”It has long been gestating in you, but now the time has come for the birth. Rome is not ready, but you are.” As I opened the gift, I discovered a chalice and a paten. I was filled with awe and gratitude as my own discernment had led me to this realisation and I had prayed for a sign. This was the sign: A door had opened and the Holy Spirit was beckoning me forward. I used this chalice and paten to first preside at Eucharist on the Feast of the Epiphany. And since then, I have done so countless times and so have many other women in Ireland and around the world.

A new church is being born out of a dying one. The Spirit is calling us to be mothers and midwives. NOW.

Did the woman say, when she held him for the first time in the dark of a stable,

After the pain and the bleeding and the crying,

“This is my body, this is my blood”? … (Frances Croake Frank)

Yes, Mary did, and yes, we do.



Soline Humbert

[This reflection was first shared on 27 December 2020 at the Catholic Women’s Council Liturgy, organised by the Indian Women Theologians Forum]


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  1. George Lynch says:

    From Irish Times 31/12/2020; Orla Muldoon, professor of psychology at University of Limerick, writing about the GAA
    “The Catholic Church, Fianna Fáil and the GAA were once described as the three pillars of the Irish state. Organisations that wove together the fabric of Irish society together. The power of the former two have been eroded. And their failure to engage and empower women is at the heart of their demise. This is the GAA’s moment. To survive it will have to live up to its own mission to support Gaelic games culture and life long participation for all, and not just for men and boys.”

  2. Soline Humbert says:

    December 28th also marked the 50th anniversary of the ordination to the priesthood of Ludmila Javorova in the underground Roman Catholic church in Czechoslovakia during the communist regime and persecution.
    This courageous, humble and faith-filled woman will be 89 this month. Her prophetic story was written up by Sr Miriam Therese Winter in a very moving book: Out Of The Depths, The Story of Ludmila Javorova Ordained Roman Catholic Priest. (available online at Veritas, the Irish catholic bishops’store!..)

  3. Patti Roche says:

    Hi Soline,
    I commend you on all of your striving to have your vocation recognised.
    I suppose it is time to form a church that is inclusive, which, as far as I can gather, you seem to be heading? Is this the case?
    Well done to you all who have persevered, and fought for the rights of women to respond to a calling to their church.

  4. Soline Humbert says:

    Thank you Patti for your kind words of affirmation.
    Every person has a vocation and a mission in life, unique to themselves. I try to be faithful to my calling and bear witness to it. And yes, it is calling the church community to read the signs of the times and overcome its blindness to what God has been doing and is doing in and through women in its midst.
    The Synodal process asks us to speak with parrhesia (courageous frankness, for the common good, even at risk for oneself), and I believe that if we really do that we will witness that
    “with God, nothing is impossible”, beyond our wildest dreams.
    And that’s the disturbing Good News!…
    Happy Saint Brigid’s Day (ordained a bishop by St Mel..)

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