One year on. Has anything changed?

There have been various articles in the Catholic press, secular press and blogs which have commented on the pontificate of Francis as he marks the one year anniversary of his election to the Chair of St. Peter.  One author mentioned that she thought there was more style than substance to the first year.  After yesterday’s announcement that the new economic commission at the Vatican would be composed of eight cardinals and seven laymen, I’d have to agree with her.

It would have been a bold move on the part of Pope Francis if he would have selected eight men from the Church, be they cardinals, bishops, priests, deacons or laymen and seven women to serve on this new commission.  He and his staff must know any number of very qualified men from across the spectrum of vocational callings and from many parts of the world.  I doubt he knows many women so I’d like to offer a few suggestions of very qualified women who might make his new commission both more representative and would have given substance to his stated desire to give women a greater say in the Church.  I doubt all the laymen on the commission are Catholic so there isn’t a need to have only Catholic women named but the first woman I’d like to suggest for this alternative commission is:  Mother Assumpta Long, foundress of the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist.

In 1997, she and three others left the Nashville Dominicans to found a new order of nuns dedicated to teaching in Catholic schools.  In less than 20 years she has built a community of over 120 sisters, a mother house in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a novitiate in Indiana and a new, second mother house being built in Texas.  She and her companions didn’t have much to start with but they worked hard and prayed even harder.  Her ministry is focused and true.  Her sisters are highly educated.  So she and her first companions would make, I think, a wonderful addition to this economic commission to serve the Church.  She (and they) have lived this to the full.  They know the practical side of things and they get results.

And if the Holy Father wants more women to choose from here is a small list of women from around the world who would know a thing or two about economic commissions as well as bringing a woman’s point of view to the table.  Too bad no one will pass this list on to Pope Francis – but we can always hope for miracles!

Maria das Gracas, CEO – Petrobras, Brazil

Gail Kelly, Managing Director, CEO – Westpac, Australia

Sheryl Sandberg, COO – Facebook, USA

Marissa Mayer, President, CEO, Yahoo, USA

Guler Sabanci, Chair, Managing Director, Sabanci Holding, Turkey

Chanda Kochhar, Managing Director, CEO – Icici Bank, India

Ornella Barra, Chief Executive, Alliance Boots, UK

Chua Sock Koong, CEO, Singapore Telecomm, Singapore

Annika Falkengren, President, CEO, SEB, Sweden

Anne Sweeney, Co-Chair, Disney Media, USA

Mary Callahan Erdoes, CEO, JP Morgan Chase, USA

Elizabeth Corley, CEO, Allianz Global Investors, UK

Karen Agustrawan, president, CEO, Pertamina, Indonesia

Nancy McKinstry, Chair, CEO, Wolters Kluwer, Netherlands

Ana Patricia Botin, CEO, Santander – UK, UK

Dong Ming zhu, Chair, President, Gree Electrical Appliances, China

Lubna Olayan, Olayan Financing, Saudi Arbia

Carolyn McCall, CEO, Easyjey, UK

Kwon Seon-joo, CEO, Industrial Bank of Korea, South Korea

Isabella Ealet, Global Co-Head Securities Division, Goldman Sachs, UK

Zhang Xin, CEO, Soho China, China

Angela Ahrendts, CEO, Burberry soon to take up her new role as Apple’s Head of retail and online sales, UK

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