Fewer women can read this sentence than men.
Two thirds of the world’s illiterate adults are women. It is estimated that about 500 million women in our world today are illiterate. This is an astonishing figure.
Today, in our series remembering women saints, we honour Veronica of Binasco. (Feast day 13th January). Veronica came from a humble family which clawed a hard living on the land in a village in what is now northern Italy. Veronica grew up illiterate, like most girls of her village. She only managed to read and write a little by teaching herself, with determination over a long period. It was a long and difficult journey for her. Finally her self education allowed her to enter a convent where she was renowned for her care and thoroughness in her work. In her spiritual life she was enriched with strong imagery of the passion of Christ and she also received remarkable visions.
Veronica encourages us to give thought to the millions of women in our world who would benefit greatly by learning to read and write.
In the United Kingdom it is estimated that 5 million adults are ‘functionally illiterate’ that is they have literacy levels below those expected of an 11yr old. Often simple straightforward things can be read and understood, but the unusual or different causes problems. Often adults with literacy problems have developed ways of hiding the issues they face.
Much good work is being done in the UK and around the world to raise literacy levels and so open up new opportunities for women and men.
Remember St Veronica and her struggle with reading and writing.
Pray for those who help women and men to read and write.
Act: Look at the National Literacy Trust website and be more informed about issues of literacy in the UK and what can be done to help.