Ecclesia of Women in Asia

Forum of Asian Catholic Women Theologians

To Act Justly, Love Tenderly, and Walk Humbly, Women's Day 2005 Liturgy, by Julia Ong

Today we gather in solidarity with all women to celebrate being women. We gather for those who are suffering because of being women. We gather as women becoming for the becoming of women.

For this we invite all people to join the Ecclesia of Women in Asia in prayer and hope for justice and peace, for love and compassion and for the will of God to be done in us and through us.

(This prayerful reflection is divided into 3 parts: Act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with God. You may choose to have all 3 parts in one prayer or you may wish to have them as 3 different prayers through the month of March, giving time for the suggested activity to take place before moving on to the next section of the prayer.)

1. Mark 5: 21 - 43

To Act Justly in Feminism:

1. "Feminism is not a doctrine that seeks to confine us but rather a quest we continually define."
-- Caroline Soriosis[1]

2. "If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive."
-- Audre Lorde

3. "I feel there is something unexplored about a woman that only a woman can explore. "-- Georgia O'Keeffe

4. "Woman must not accept; she must challenge. She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her; she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression."
-- Margaret Sanger

5. "My idea of feminism is self-determination, and it's very open-ended: every woman has the right to become herself, and do whatever she needs to do."
-- Ani DiFranco

6. "When she stopped conforming to the conventional picture of femininity she finally began to enjoy being a woman. "
-- Betty Friedan

7. "When will it no longer be necessary to attach special weight to the word "woman" and raise it specially?"
-- Ding Ling

8. "I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is; I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat."
-- Rebecca West

We pray for women, who are ashamed of being women and girls who feel bad that they are not boys.

We pray for women who are bound by what they are expected to be and never get to discover who they are and may become.

We pray for women who suffer because they have decided to take the responsibility to define themselves.

We remember women who have spoken for women’s rights and freedom.

O Jesus, help us to begin doing justice by accepting ourselves as we are. Open our eyes to see the possibility you see in us so that we may be in awe and wonder before the splendor of God’s creation.

Action: Heal a woman of her shame and raise the sense of dignity in a girl.

2. Hosea 1:2-3, 6-9; 2:1-4, 21-22

To Love Tenderly is to Be Humane:

1. "In the end antiblack, antifemale, and all forms of discrimination are equivalent to the same thing - antihumanism."
-- Shirley Chisholm

2. "To be meek, patient, tactful, modest, honorable, brave, is not to be either manly or womanly; it is to be humane."
-- Jane Harrison

3. "Women are not inherently passive or peaceful. We're not inherently anything but human."
-- Robin Morgan

4. "Don't tolerate me as different. Accept me as part of the spectrum of normalcy."
-- Ann Northrop

We pray for wo/men who forget that we are all dignified sons and daughters of God.
We pray for compassion for the abuser and the abused.
We pray for acceptance and appreciation for the diversity and differences among humanity.
We remember those who love us into being and pray that we may do the same for others.

O Jesus, help us not to forget that we are made by love, for love and to love. Open our hearts to embrace the beauty of humanity so that in the face of the other who is different we may see God.

Action: To love a “Lo-ruhamah”.

3. John 19:25; 20: 1-18
Walk Humbly with God by using our Power For Service:

1. "Women must understand that simply attacking or hating men is just another form of disempowerment. A woman has to realize that when she makes a man crawl it doesn't give her power."
-- Tori Amos

2."The thing women must do to rise to power is to redefine their femininity. Once, power was considered a masculine attribute. In fact, power has no sex. "
-- Katharine Graham

3. "Some leaders are born women."
-- Unknown

4. "I do not wish women to have power over men; but over themselves."
-- Mary Wollstonecraft

We pray that women will empower women by supporting one another as sisters.
We pray for the humility to serve and not the power to dominate.
We pray that we may use our gifts to build communities of peace and hope.
We remember those who have empowered us by their vision and faith.

O Jesus, help us to recognize the dignity of being your servant. Open our minds to comprehend the balance of your designs in order to place the least as your first.

Action: Choose to serve with a woman leader who is not recognized.

Closing Ritual:

Invite the women ashamed, the unwanted girl children, the unloved women and the unrecognized servants of God to a meal.

Julia Ong
is Singaporean and a sister of Infant Jesus. She obtained an MA in Education major in ReligiousFormation from the De LaSalle University, Manila. She taught at secondary schools and at the Infant Jesus’ Centers for Children.

Julia is presently the Secretary of Ecclesia of Women in Asia

Suggested websites for more Women’s Day prayer and readings:


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