Catholic Theological Union, Chicago

Our Lady of Lavang: A resource for upholding the dignity of Vietnamese women

Abstract
Vietnamese Catholics have a great devotion to Mary under the title of Our Lady of Lavang. This cult has continued to grow and attract pilgrims each year. In their daily life, Vietnamese are interested to take part in Marian devotional practices. They have shown their special honor and veneration to Our Lady because she is considered as a powerful and effective figure who would take help and protection over those in need. Indeed, Vietnamese are taking the image of Mary and imagining her as a source of their strength and empowerment.
In its earliest days, Vietnam was indeed a matriarchal society in which women got a high status. In the history of Vietnam, some women would play their important role as female political and military leaders. In the goddess worship ritual, women would become masters of the ceremony. We realized that women’s status was high in the ancient time, but it has been declined since the patriarchal ideology of Confucianism was introduced into the country. Since then, women were more disadvantaged when compared to men in all aspects of life. Present-day, women are still treated as second class citizens. Even though the national laws give equal rights to both sexes, the issue of gender inequality and violence against women still persist in Vietnam. In order to raise the status of women, we proposed a spirituality that may transform attitudes toward women. Also we highlighted some ways that may help to advance the role of women in the Church and society, especially as leaders.

The Art of "Naming Grace." Nurturing everyday mysticism in the life of the contemporary Christian.

Author
Gerardine Ann Doherty Sr M.A.
Abstract
Is the Holy Spirit alive among God’s people today? Does the Catholic Church recognize the potential of such a reality? Do ministers nurture, encourage, uphold this gift of God’s extravagance ~ grace operative and dynamic in each member?
The core of this thesis-project explores the ‘instinctive hunch’ that God’s Spirit is present and moving among God’s people, be it often yearning recognition, deliverance and liberation. The potential for all the baptized to fully embrace their already-God-given giftedness, is something not yet fully conceived.
By briefly presenting the experience of mysticism through historical interpretation, acknowledging contemporary spiritual authors and gathering current spiritual experience of ‘ordinary’ people, the stage is set to introduce Karl Rahner’s notion of everyday mysticism. Then, convinced of the extravagance of God, a final question is surveyed: Should existing theological, spiritual and psychological ministerial assumptions be challenged, in order for the fullness of Vatican II’s “universal call to holiness” to be a reality?

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