Throughout history women have been catalysts for positive change. Magdalena Institute held its second annual Women’s Symposium on March 10 in order to recognize this reality, inspiring and encouraging other women to reflect on the power of their “feminine genius’, which she shares with the world when she lovingly gives of herself.
Approximately 90 women attended this event. The symposium opened with an engaging conference on the person and significance of Mary Magdalene by Dr Tina Wray, scripture scholar and professor at Salve Regina University. Her insightful scriptural and historical research was combined with enduring lessons applicable to contemporary women. She also highlighted the transforming encounters between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. It reveals the power of the experience of one’s dignity being affirmed and the strength of a woman’s love that brings her to simply “show up”. Woman’s feminine genius leads her to accompany another even to the foot of the cross.
After her conference, Dr Tina Wray and Fr Juan Solana discuss Mary Magdalene in Magdala’s mosaiced chapel of the encounter between Jesus and Mary.
The rest of the day showcased women living and working in Israel in order to make a positive contribution to her society. Jewish, Christian, Muslim and a Bedouin woman shared their stories of challenges, struggles, and victories in their personal lives that led them to their current efforts for humanity. Their stories reinforced the phenomena that when a woman recognizes her own dignity, she finds the strength to help others discover that good news about themselves. It seems so simple and ineffective, yet these women are proof of the impact this makes on persons, families, and a whole community and beyond.
Dr Faydra Shapiro shares her story of being challenged by Christians to reflect on and live her own Jewish faith to the fullest. She is currently the Director of the Galilee Center of Studies for Jewish and Christian Relations.
Their external appearances marked them as Jewish, Muslim or Christian, yet they all had something in common: their feminine genius. In a time and land where tensions are heightened among these three monotheistic religions, Magdalena Institute brought together and honored women of different faith and cultural backgrounds, united in a common quest to become the face of love that humanity needs.
Sahar Jurban, 20, shares the challenge of growing up in her Arab village as a woman, the gratitude she has for her parents who permitted her to attend university, and her desire to someday make money to help her own mother receive an education. She expressed her gratitude to a Jewish woman, Genevieve, who also spoke at the conference.
Genevieve Begue began a young leaders group in Jisr Az Zarqa, the poorest Arab village in Israel, in order to encourage the youth in their leadership skills and personal initiatives in raising the socio-economic conditions in their town.