Women’s history emerges in our social environment slowly and with great foresight, and it demands to be acknowledged. Women historians, experts in this field, have developed a specific method of research and of scientific enquiry, also in the light of having bravely trodden into a domain that our Latin fathers (provided that we still cherish their memory and don’t enfold them behind the banner of pseudo-internet culture) would have described: hic sunt leones! In patriarchal societies women had no voice, their names were absent in actors and writers’ annals, as any bibliography testifies to. However, is this really the case? Is this the true way in which we understand that daily life that leaves an imprint in the events of humanity?
Women used as commodities, objects to be sold and to profit from, women victims of unprecedented violence forced to be subjected to terrible modes of living that find to respite. Their deepest feelings are crushed by utter silence.
Even if our consciences were aware of this, how can we find a way out of dead-ends, of deadlocks caused by male power that failed or refused to understand the reality of sharing in full harmony and respect between the two genders? “Footprints” are found in ancient times that we must learn to decrypt today, to seize their innermost meaning. Silent footprints overflowing with a voice that makes itself heard if attention is drawn to them and that leave us speechless as we realize their scope. Contemporary footprints have their own voice, we can understand their language, we are struck and saddened by them. However, the surrounding domain is motionless and fails to bring forth a concrete welcome. Daily news is swarming with painful events, some of which unpredictable, others that are the outcomes of widespread prejudices and choices of convenience.
Women, however beaten and abused – and the narrative could continue almost infinitely – are in fact the fountainhead of life.
Also of the life of those who oppress it. How is it possible not to accept our own mothers as women? Women can, in full awareness and freedom of action. Not to obtain privileges. Not to ascend the social ladder but to show that the only way forward is that of difference lived out in harmony, in synergy. Only then can life become a fruitful and joyful gift, and not an armed battle to earn who knows what, while, in truth, it fails to build the woman person and the man person, and ultimately, it ends up being abandoned. However, women’s inalienable, innermost posture is that of caring, her ability to care for others – whether male or female. Her intuition in giving aid, in perceiving the other person’s needs. At the Marriage at Cana did Mary not acknowledge, provide for and care for? In doing do, did she not sing the praises of female nature? Did she not intervene with constructive wisdom so as not to ruin a festive moment such as a marriage celebration? In the celebration of mutual devotion, of the human love that unites man and woman in the path of life.
If we observe the women in the Bible we ought to acknowledge that of many of them we don’t even know the names.
They are involved in events as if they were ghosts, with a sort of indifference, for the spotlight of the narration is placed elsewhere: on the protagonist. Is this the true picture of the story of the people of Israel? Reading the text through female lenses leaves us dumbfounded. In the womb of faithfulness to the Almighty, women have exposed and put at stake their lives in order to respond to the One who called upon them, and by doing so, they ushered in changes in the history of Israel. They remained faithful to the covenant. It is not a question of more or less. It is a matter of assuming the role and mission that each one of us has received by the Creator at the moment of birth. Not as a solipsistic property to be preserved and cherished stolidly but as the fountainhead of life that gurgles, and the more we drink from it the more clearly it flows. Was Eve not defined “mother of all living?” Of all living, no one excluded.