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In Christian theology, a charism denotes a gift that flows from God's love to humans for the good of the world and of the Church. In the secular sense charism can be defined as having a personal influence on other people. We sometimes refer to a people as being 'charming'.

Since my teens I have been touched by the charism of a man called Edmund Rice (1762-1844). Edmund was a wealthy ship owner in Waterford. When his young wife died he was shattered and found solace in reflecting on his Christian faith and on Scripture. Seeing the plight of the many poor unschooled and hungry boys in the city he felt a call to do something about the situation. He built a school and a bakery for them. This was the beginning of a world-wide system of caring that has influenced followers for the last 200 years. I've just been reading a news report from the West African Region (Ghana, The Gambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone). Followers of Edmund Rice are doing fantastic work there.

I ask myself, have I had any such influence on people who have crossed my path during my lifetime - even on a very small scale? I would imagine that the gift of the Holy Spirit is available to all, but some open themselves more to the Spirit's action in the world. Fancy still having influence for good on thousands of people after 200 years! Why do I still say "Yes" to being a follower of Edmund Rice for the last 70 years? As a teenager he captured my imagination and has held it captive ever since.

Pop-stars, footballers, canonized saints, etc. have had great influence on numbers of followers down through the years - even Hitler and Mussolini. Can they be said to have had charisms and influenced the world for good?


I am very very glad you found your charism and it has brought you satisfaction and peace

however, i can not help but comment on charisms and the church

"In Christian theology, a charism denotes a gift that flows from God's love to humans for the good of the world and of the Church."

I, and other women, have the charism of priesthood. I taught scripture, wrote homilies and paraliturgies, was cantor in a parish. But, the church would not recognize my charism. God can not call you to that. You do not have the proper genitalia.

And so, eventually, i went where my charism led me. I became teacher and ritualist for the Goddess. In addition, i ministered to people through the program i started to help people with disabilities.

The church could have used my talents. But, i was alway a second class laywoman in everything i did.

I doubt your "charism" is for the priesthood. Perhaps it is to minister in the ways you mention. As regards the Church's
long accepted ruling on women priests, this is how she understood and still understands the priesthood. I'm quite sure she would be only too glad to ordain women. The Orthodox too have not ordained women. Do you really understand this attitude to be one of power or some such?
You bet i believe it is POWER and a rejection of women !!!
It is patriarchal thinking!

Of course, i have the charism! I can do everything a priest can do. And I could do it a whole lot better than some of the priests i knew.

Theology - got it - studied it
Liturgy - got it - did paraliturgies - wrote about it
Ministering to those in need - did it

Just what does a priest do that i and other women can't do?

"be like Jesus"? - is there in christ neither man nor woman jew nor gentile?

And what about Jesus' own actions
In the house of Mary and Martha - the men are gathered around him and his teaching - and there is Mary - when Martha complains she is not acting like a woman - Jesus says Mary has chosen the better part and it shall not be taken from her

The still small voice of the Spirit that tells you who you are - is that not charism?

The Women Priests movement came too late for me.
Here in the USA we have legitimately ordained women - by a bishop within the apostolic framework.

Some have established "parishes" meeting in private homes and even in rented spaces. The shortage of priests and the personal "charm" of these women have drawn people to them.

There is evidence that in the early gatherings women served as leaders which would assume to be eucharistic celebrants.

In your own Ireland there is evidence of women in leadership roles that could have included priesthood.

You can not know the hurt to have your talents scorned because you are a woman.
To be refused admission to theological conferences because they are "for priests only" but my male theology teacher colleagues were admitted.

It has gotten better in the 30 plus years since i left because there was no place for me. But until the church recognizes the legitimacy of our charism women will still be second class.

I am, of course, a priest- we practice the priesthood of all believers in a very literal fashion and the demands it can lay upon one are rather frightening.

I helped out in a relationship issue once having been asked by Meeting to do so and when the male partner (he was Irish as it happens) heard that I was doing this because I'm a Quaker he said: 'Well she must be a good woman'.

How does one ever live up to that?

I like to think that my teaching of the less able kids for all those years has done some good in this world and I'm sure your own work has done the same.