With only two months left until the Second Assembly of the Australian Plenary Council, it is worth recalling a key distinction insisted on by Cardijn at the Second Vatican Council.
Indeed, one of his key frustrations in his work with the Vatican II Preparatory Commission on Lay Apostolate in 1961, writes Stefan Gigacz, was the confusion and conflation by Commission members of the concepts of ‘apostolate of the laity’ and ‘apostolate of the faithful.”
For Cardijn, the “apostolate of the faithful” related to those tasks that lay people “carry out in religious life properly speaking (e.g. their participation in the Holy Sacrifice, in works of charity, etc.).”
In contrast, “apostolate of the laity” (or “lay apostolate”) related to the tasks that lay people “exercise in temporal life (in their profession, civic life, etc.).”
The consequence of confusing or conflating the two, Cardijn observed, was “fail(ure) to adequately highlight the necessity and importance of the proper and irreplaceable apostolate of lay people in temporal life.”
“This point seems to me, however, to be decisive in the world of the present and the future!” he insisted in a note for the Vatican II Preparatory Commission on Lay Apostolate.”
Led by Katharine Massam and Stefan Gigacz, ACI’s latest project aims to record the lives and contributions of women jocist leaders from around the world and of every generation.
Few remember today that when Cardijn began his ministry in the parish of Our Lady of Laeken, near Brussels, he started by forming study circles of young female teenage workers. And to achieve this, he recruited several young women with experience in community and labour organising, including Victoire Cappe and Madeleine De Roo.
Entitled “Making daily life vast and beautiful,” the Jocist Women Leaders project will draw on oral and written sources to bring the stories of these women to life.
The international project team includes researchers from Latin America, Europe and Australia. The initial aims will be to publish a book presenting the life and work of ten jocist women leaders and to develop an online database recording the stories of so many more of these powerful women.
“The international conversation is already showing that women held key leadership roles as the movement grew and spread,” Katharine Massam noted. “We’re keen to understand what made that possible, and to recover the memory of those contributions in many different contexts.”