2022 Assembly


Report from ANDANTE GA: Sharing Life – Working Together – Building Strength


ANDANTE (European Alliance of Catholic Women’s Organisations) is an umbrella organisation supporting member organisations to be powerful and credible players defending women´s rights as human rights. Additionally, ANDANTE links Catholic women´s organisations with sources of knowledge and information and offers a platform for reflection and exchange.
Fifty five members from 19 organisations and 13 countries gathered at the Conference Centre High Leigh in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, UK to attend the ANDANTE General Assembly with the theme “Sharing Life – Working Together – Building Strength”. The focus was on the future of ANDANTE, its vision, challenges and possibilities.
The General Assembly consisted of two parts: (i) Study Days and (ii) Statutory Assembly, followed by a social event arranged for each evening.
Full report available here: Report from ANDANTE General Assembly, 14-17 April 2016 by Sr. Stanka Oršolić, DSNG

ANDANTE Newsletter, May 2016


ANDANTE, the European Alliance of Catholic Women’s Organisations, has released its May 2016 Newsletter, available attached. Both RENATE and Mary Ward Loreto (Albania) are acknowledged in the Newsletter!
In addition to news from member organisations, the member’s statements of ‘international policy related to refugees’ and the outcomes of the ANDANTE General Assembly, (April 16th-17th, 2016) feature as the highlights of the Newsletter.
The ANDANTE 10 year Jubilee Brochure is embedded into the Newsletter and is a compilation of the various activities, meetings and events undertaken by ANDANTE in the last decade.
ANDANTE Newsletter_14 May 2016
Read and enjoy!
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person

ANDANTE Summer School in Vienna, Bioethical Issues Facing People Today


Andante Summer School, 12 – 16 August, 2015


I attended the Andante Summer School in August as a RENATE member. It was a great privilege to be there at the Don Bosco house in Vienna, Austria where the event took place in a picturesque part of Vienna close to the famous Wienerwald (the Vienna Woods). The theme: “Why bioethics? – Bioethical issues facing people today.”
Andante (The European Alliance of Catholic women`s organisations) proposed this topic at the request of several members from different countries in Europe who face Bioethical issues related to their work or to their personal life.

ANDANTE Summer School on Bioethics, Vienna, 12-16 August 2015
ANDANTE Summer School, Vienna, 12-16 August 2015

We were 54 people in total, from different European countries, with diverse backgrounds and different ways of answering or dealing with difficult questions and decisions regarding Bioethics.

As an Alliance of Catholic Women, Andante meetings had its focus on the Christian aspects of the discussions, underpinned all the while by consideration for the dignity of the human person, which cannot be reduced to the outward appearance of the body, but is a holistic complex of body and soul.

Dr. Sigrid Sterckx from Belgium, gave an introduction to ethics on the first day. She is Professor of Ethics and Political and Social Philosophy at the Department of Philosophy and Moral sciences at Ghent University. In her introduction, her central point was the question: What should I do? We were given explanations on several approaches to normative ethics like: utilitarism, deontology and virtue ethics, with particular attention to the (in)/compatibilities between them, illustrated with several examples. All of which challenged the way we react in critical situations.
After this amazing way of putting us in front of the reality some people live in daily life, we discussed the ethical aspects of various medical end-of-life practices such as pain and symptom alleviation, continuous sedation at the end of life, physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia and the differences and similarities between them.
Dr. Myriam Wijlens from the Netherlands, Professor of Canon Law and Ecumenism at the Erfurt University in Germany spoke on Ethics and Canon Law. She payed particular attention to the issue of abortion and the question of when the penalty of an automatic excommunication on Canon Law is indeed occurred, or if it ever occurred.
She said, “Development in the area of medicine requires not only ethical reflections but also leads  to questions that touch on actions and reactions within the realm of pastoral ministry. It is not uncommon that a tension arises between the doctrine and the teaching on the one side and pastoral care with regard to an individual specific person on the other side.”
Dr. Regula Ott, Professor of Ethics at University of Zurich, Switzerland, gave a talk on Ethical Issues for prospective parents.
In her presentation she addressed aspects related to biomedical ethics for parents, explained closely the terms of artificial insemination, prenatal diagnosis that employs a variety of techniques to determine the health and condition of an unborn fetus, about Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) which is a reproductive technology that can be used for diagnosis of a genetic disease in early embryos prior to implantation and pregnancy. In addition, this technology can be utilised in the field of assisted reproduction for aneuploidy screening and diagnosis of unbalanced inheritance of chromosome abnormalities, such as translocations or inversions, all these from the perspective of biomedical ethics.
Dr. Sigrid Müller, Germany, talked about the relationship between Ethics, Culture and Faith/Spirituality, emphasising the pluralism and the decreasing influence the Churches or religions face in Europe today. She is Dean at the Catholic Theological Faculty of Vienna. World views are increasingly dominated by paradigms used in the field of technology, technique and neutral sciences, in a context where arguments traditionally offered by the churches are often no longer accepted, she said.

All meetings started with a prayer and the song Laudato Si, prayer of Saint Francis. The entire meeting was underpinned by the influence of the Pope Francis’ Encyclical letter Laudato Si’  – care for our common home.
I am very grateful for such an enriching experience both from the speakers and from participants.
I would like to finish with part of the second prayer at the end of the Encyclical, where we, Christians, ask for inspiration to take up the commitment to creation set before us by the Gospel of Jesus.

O Lord, seize us with your power and light,
help us to protect all life,
to prepare for a better future,
for the coming of your Kingdom
of justice, peace, love and beauty.
Praise be to you!

Sr. Adina Balan, CJ – Bucharest

Andante Summer School Summary 2015_English

Andante Summer School Summary 2015_French

Andante Summer School Summary 2015_German

Report from the Conference organised by ANDANTE in Riga, Latvia


ANDANTE – European Alliance of Catholic Women’s Organisations

Conference in Riga, Latvia, 3rd-5th October, 2014

Conference Theme: Poverty

Pope Francis opened the Synod of Bishops on the Family, 5th October, 2014, Rome, with these words:

“…Because we must say everything we feel we need to say, in the spirit of the Lord, without pusillanimity and without fear. At the same time, we must listen humbly and embrace with an open heart what our brothers are telling us…I can ask you please to adopt these two fraternal attitudes, in the name of the Lord: to feel with parresia and listen humbly…”

These words and sentiments describe best the atmosphere and culture which prevailed throughout the ANDANTE Conference in Riga, in the days prior to the Synod.
The Conference focused on how the Andante member organisations are taking actions to address and combat poverty in their own countries as well as through collaborations with partners in other European countries. More than fifty delegates attended.
Mrs. Anna Zaborska, in her keynote address, spoke of the many understandings of the term ‘poverty,’ presenting both the worldwide and European perspectives. She concluded with the stark fact that despite years of unprecedented global economic growth, poverty is on the rise.
Mrs Zaborska urged listeners to understand the concept of ‘family’ in contemporary times; to see the importance of the family unit as central to society. At the same time she drew attention to the disintegration of the family unit as having a direct impact on poverty.
Following her address, conversations with frank and open dialogue took place. These were the ‘hallmarks’ of the gathering. Shared belief was simply, that everyone must do the best one can do one’s own particular circumstances.
Different approaches to addressing poverty-related matters were presented by representatives of three ANDANTE member organisations; Gretta’s story from Riga; The National Board of Catholic Women, from the United Kingdom and Mary Ward Loreto with RENATE. This led to lively discussion exchange of impressions and responses.
The situation in the host country Latvia, was presented by a Gretta who has struggled personally to overcome poverty and now works to help others in similar need. She founded Martin’s House, which offers shelter and support to homeless mothers. Gretta spoke of the desperate situation for so many unemployed who become homeless due to the downturn in the economy.
The ‘National Board of Catholic Women’ in the UK shared some poverty consciousness-raising projects in the UK. Their focus was on social responsibility and the power of working through networks such as CARITAS, and ‘The Women at the Well’ was much appreciated. The conclusion was that we need more women to be politically engaged, to be vocal and advocates for Catholic Social Teaching.
Mary Ward Loreto (MWL) and RENATE presented their work to combat Human Trafficking. This struck a chord with those present and gave rise to requests for membership of RENATE. This is a welcome development!
Representatives gave brief presentations on their own countries’ various activities. These included awareness-raising ‘fasting’ days; fund-raising initiatives, like candle sales distribution through parishes in Austria; voluntary telephone emergency services in Holland; as well as work with prisoners; the provision of food-banks through to the ‘Today a Reader; Tomorrow a Leader’ initiative in Germany.
One of ANDANTE’S long-term goals is to seek to be heard in the political arena. It works hard to be respected and regarded as a voice of women at the Council of Europe, as well as other political and Church bodies throughout Europe. This is already being achieved as the Conference proceedings will be ‘fed into’ future meetings of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
Solidarity was saluted as a common value to celebrate and accentuate what we have in common instead of focusing on our differences. As ANDANTE grows and widens its impact, its immediate task is to identify the extent of other Catholic Women’s Organisations throughout Europe. A project to achieve this scope is likely to begin in the New Year. The final days of the Conference were spent discerning ways forward in this regard.
RENATE congratulates the ANDANTE Conference organisers for all their good work! It gives special mention to the President, Dr Mary McHugh, for her energetic leadership and commitment to encouraging each member-organisation to work together to address issues of poverty.
For further information about Andante, please see
Text by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person

ANDANTE Conference in Riga, Latvia, 3rd-5th October 2014
ANDANTE Conference in Riga, Latvia, 3rd-5th October 2014

ANDANTE Conference in Latvia, Riga, 3rd – 5th October 2014


RENATE is honoured to have been invited to make a presentation at the forthcoming Andante Conference in Riga, where the main theme will be Poverty as a driver for Human Trafficking in Europe.
Founded in 2006, Andante is a European alliance of Catholic women’s organisations, comprising approximately twenty two women’s organisations throughout Europe.
We look forward to networking and strengthening our capacities to combat Human Trafficking.