​ ​Scholars cite this story, which also appears in Matthew’s Gospel, as a rare instance when Jesus’ own view of his ministry is challenged. The woman’s wit and sharp retort make way for a new gift of healing, and shine a light on how powerful the gift of faithful courage can be.

As the Catholic Church and other religious organizations adjust to modern life, may we look to this strong woman who was able to speak truth in an inspiring way, a way that opened up new avenues of healing. In what ways can I help my community of faith become more expansive, more inclusive of healing in all forms? How can I be inspired by this woman’s faithful courage?

And from a different perspective, how can I see anew the growing need for the voices of strong and faithful women in the administrative structure of the Church?

—Charlotte Ahern is a wife and mother of three college-aged children. She is also a spiritual director and retreat leader at Jesuit schools in the Chicago area.