Walburga Duranteau

76, retired after 45 years working as gynaecologist in Brussels, Libreville/Gabon and Conakry/Guinea. At present engaged in voluntary A&E pastoral work.

In addition in Conakry she helped build the new parish church, presbytery and secondary school with the financial help of “Missio”/ Sternsingeraktion (Star Singers Epiphany fundraising).

Member of the Schoenstatt Mothers’ Federation since 1972.

What experiences have shaped you the most as a woman? 

I was particularly touched by the situation of girls and women in West Africa. Until they marry their father takes all the decisions about them – with little emphasis on the need for a good education. Then the husband or his family take over. When they marry women become the “property” of the husband’s family, which in many instances exploits them, making them work to the limits of their strength, and at the same time expects them to have many children.

Also with regard to medical care the girls have to give their brothers precedence if there isn’t enough money to pay for both.

How did you experience God in your life? 

After meeting Fr Kentenich in 1966/67 on a number of occasions, and hearing his talks on our childhood before God, I was able to discover God’s daily influence on my life, and felt constantly upheld by him.

What do you think is the main challenge for women today? 

In my opinion women must be (allowed) to contribute far more intensively to the Church and society, especially in important posts and leadership positions. We women have to actively initiate the important re-structuring this requires.

What do you want to change in the world through your life? 

I want to continue to be involved in improving the situation of women and girls worldwide in the Church and society.