By Philip Pullella
ROME (Reuters) – Sister Nathalie Becquart, 52, who Pope Francis appointed final week to a key Vatican publish, is an achieved seafarer who loves utilizing nautical pictures as an instance her views of life, religion and the function of ladies within the Roman Catholic Church.
“I discover myself crusing in the course of the ocean in direction of a brand new journey,” she stated of her new place.
Becquart, a member of the Xaviere Missionary Sisters, was appointed joint quantity two of the Synod of Bishops, a division that prepares main conferences of world bishops held each few years..
She is going to turn out to be the primary lady to have a proper to vote within the assemblies, one thing many ladies and a few bishops have referred to as for.
Catholic media have referred to as her appointment “historic” or a “revolution” due to its doable long-term ramifications.
“It is a very courageous signal and a really prophetic selection by Pope Francis,” she instructed reporters on Wednesday. “I additionally hope this factors to a concrete change.”
Ladies have participated as observers and consultants in previous synods however solely “synod fathers”, together with bishops and specifically appointed or elected male representatives, may vote on remaining positions despatched to the pope. He then writes his personal doc.
“What I’m discovering on the Vatican is that you simply want quite a lot of endurance,” stated Becquart, who has labored as a marketing consultant within the synod workplace since 2019.
“Many duties and roles usually are not at all times simple. It is like if you find yourself within the open sea – you could have storms however you even have great moments and unbelievable landscapes,” she stated.
Becquart does not thoughts being referred to as “The Crusing Nun”. Earlier than she joined the Xaviere Sisters, she realized to sail as a woman on the Atlantic coast of France, changing into a skipper and participating in lots of regattas.
She studied on the prestigious HEC enterprise faculty in Paris and in addition labored as a marketing consultant in advertising and promoting. Right this moment, like many sisters, Becquart doesn’t put on a conventional behavior however attire merely, with a cross on a jacket lapel or on a necklace.
Her love of crusing by no means disappeared. Even after she entered the spiritual life, she skippered non secular retreats for younger Catholics, spending every week or two on 40-foot (12-metre) boats within the Atlantic and Mediterranean and nonetheless sails when she will.
Francis has upheld the Church’s custom barring ladies monks, however he has arrange commissions to check the historical past of ladies deacons within the early centuries of the Catholic Church, responding to calls by ladies that they be allowed to take up the function in the present day.
He has additionally named six ladies to senior roles within the council that oversees Vatican funds, and ladies as deputy international minister, director of the Vatican Museums and deputy head of the Vatican Press Workplace.
Becquart says the Church’s “patriarchal mindset is altering” and she or he is satisfied that Francis will do extra for girls.
“Pope Francis is a person of his personal era and doesn’t essentially share the mindset of a youngster,” she stated. “However he’s shut, he’s rooted within the individuals of God and he feels, he listens. He’s the one who’s writing historical past.”