By Anna Nuccitelli | February 08, 2020 06:30:52A group of women who attended Mass at the Vatican on Sunday night, in which the pope acknowledged the “huge and very important” contributions of women to his life, said they were not sure if they were really being “sacrificed” for the sake of the church.
“I think that is not what it is like to have an experience that is so sacred,” said Sister Francesco Bonacorsi, a retired professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame, in an interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.
“For me, the experience is more profound, it’s more sacred, and it is the experience that we have all the time in this life, to be loved and to be believed in.”
Bonacorsi was among those who attended the event, which took place at St. Peter’s Basilica and was attended by Pope Francis and several cardinals.
The pope was a guest at the event and praised the role of women in the Church.
“This is the great joy of the whole Catholic world,” he said, adding that the experience was “an immense honor.”
Bonaclisi, who lives in Rome, has a bachelor’s degree in theology from the University in Rome and her masters in religious studies from St. John’s College, London.
The Vatican confirmed that she had taken part in the event.
A spokeswoman for the Vatican said the women did not attend the Mass but said they felt that “the Lord’s gift is to be celebrated as part of the Church, as the Church itself.”
She did not comment on what Bonacuti said about the women, or whether she felt any pressure from the Vatican to participate.
Bonacotti is one of two women in attendance at the Mass, which the Vatican described as a “historic moment.”
Another woman, Sister Francesca Casal, a senior lecturer in the theology department at the Pontifical Gregorian University, was among the participants.
She said that while she felt “deeply grateful” for Pope Francis’ invitation, she did not feel that it was a personal gesture.
“There are many, many different ways to celebrate the gift of the sacrament of the Eucharist, but in this case I felt that there was a different way,” Casal told Corrieren della Sistema.
“I think the Church should be welcoming, but it should not be afraid of the word ‘sacrifice.'”
Casa also said she was surprised by the reception she received by the pontiff.
“It was kind of unexpected,” she said.
“We were expecting to hear about this and then it was just a surprise.
It was a very positive, uplifting experience.”
Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Italy for a second time on March 3, 2019.