12/30/2013, 00.00
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Tenacious women, from armed struggle in Lebanon to the "rubbles of the World"

'Tenacemente donne' by journalists Cristiana Caricato and Alessandra Buzzetti relays 12 stories, those of women "active among refugees, AIDS patients, lepers, and outcasts," like Jocelyne Khoueiry, who threw away her Kalashnikov to set up Catholic movement La Libanaise-Femme du 31 Mai.

Rome (AsiaNews) - "I was born in Beirut in a practicing Maronite family. In 1975, war broke out between the PLO and Lebanon. On 6 May 1976, I and 12 other female soldiers held a front-line building. The oldest of us was 20. At one point, I heard the enemy sing. I felt a presence and knelt. I prayed to Our Lady and offered myself to be the first to be hit. We fought until we ran out of ammo defending the Christian Quarter," said Jocelyne Khoueiry, founder and leader of the Catholic movement La Libanaise-Femme du 31 Mai.

The testimony of the former female soldier is one of 12 found in Tenacemente donne (Tenaciously women, published by Edizioni Paoline), co-authored by journalists and Vatican experts Cristiana Caricato and Alessandra Buzzetti.

In telling her story, Jocelyne remembered the time when, not yet 18, she took up a Kalashnikov, thinking that "choosing Lebanon meant choosing Jesus."

After a long and arduous journey, she followed the path shown by John Paul II in his trip to Beirut in 1997, and converted, a process that culminated in the founding of a movement that seeks to "build bridges between people, families and communities."

The book tells stories of women "who are active amid the rubbles of the world, among refugees, AIDS patients, lepers, and outcasts; women willing to welcome suffering, stem devastation and devise treatments"; courageous women who "bear witness to the creative beauty of faith," whether acting "on the world stage or behind the scenes".

These 12 women, writes Focolare Movement president Maria Voce in the preface, are "very different from one another because of their different contexts, personal choices, or problems they they have tried to address." These women do share however the same "love, the love of a mother," with Mary as their role model, Mary who is "everyone's Mother".

Each woman has "a specific vocation to bear witness of God, of love, which is the greatest value and effective way to renew the Church and society."

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