Women finding promotion under Pope Francis

With women starting to be called to important positions at the Vatican, Sr. Alessandra Smerilli, an economist and Salesian nun, was appointed interim secretary of the Roman Curia’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development in August, making her the highest-ranking woman ever at the curia. She has also become one of the three leaders of the Vatican Covid-19 Commission, in charge of worldwide post- pandemic projects. Additionally, among other duties, she teaches economic policy at a pontifical university, has advised the pope and the Italian bishops’ conference since 2018, and was appointed a councilor of the pontifical commission for the Vatican City State in 2019. She is also a key person in the “Economy of Francesco” project, meant to give “a new soul” to the economy. Sr. Smerilli is representative of a new trend. She is not the only woman entrusted with important tasks at the curia, writes Ulrike Sauer (Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Sept. 1). In a trend likely to continue, Pope Francis has appointed a growing number of qualified women to key positions in recent years, including six undersecretaries. In her most recent book, Donna Economia (2020), Sr. Smerilli advocates a more human, environmental-friendly, and feminine economic future.

(The Economy of Francesco, https://francescoeconomy.org)