Beth Clausnitzer is CNEWA’s director of Donor Services.
While planning CNEWA’s campaign to celebrate women in the church with my colleagues, I found my emotional focus being pulled in two directions: the tireless work of the religious sisters who devote their lives to helping others, and the lay women who support their missions, either directly or indirectly. Mercy Sister Christian Molidor and Megan Knighton have shared their thoughts on the work of the sisters. Now, I would like to share my thoughts on the work of laywomen.
To outsiders, it appears that laywomen make smaller sacrifices than women in religious life in service to God. A sacrifice, however, is still a sacrifice and it should never be undervalued. Time that is devoted to working with the poor, assisting with fundraising or simply volunteering to clean the church hall following a social event — all of it counts.
Every day, I look around CNEWA’s office and see women who could easily earn a larger salary in the secular business world, yet they choose to earn less knowing their sacrifice serves the greater good. Many times I’ve stepped into the elevator — our offices are located in the Terence Cardinal Cooke Center, home of the Archdiocese of New York — and have overheard conversations that ranged from possible solutions for solving technical problems to soothing words of encouragement being given to an immigrant who had sought asylum to avoid religious persecution in his homeland. The range of work that lay women do for the church is broad and never-ending.
I’m proud to be counted among these women. From this office worker living in New York City to all of the women of the church around the world, I celebrate you, your strength, your dedication, your contribution and your love.
For more posts related to our Celebrating Women initiative, click here.