"Women’s Cry" Photo Exposition at Vatican Depicts Suffering of Women throughout the World

Photograph of a girl at the border with Ukraine, part of the “Women’s Cry” photo exposition at the Vatican during the month of May 2023. | Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/ACI Prensa

A photo exhibition titled “Women’s Cry” will be on display during the month of May in St. Peter’s Square. It seeks to give a voice to the suffering and injustices endured by women around the world.

On several occasions Pope Francis has recalled the intention of the artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini when he made the great “colonnade” that frames St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican: to represent the maternal embrace of the Church that welcomes the faithful and also nonbelievers.

The left side of this “embrace” is the area chosen for the Women’s Cry exhibition, promoted by the Holy See’s Dicastery for Communication together with the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations (WUCWO) and the Handshake agency.

At the presentation that took place May 2 at the Holy See Press Office, the organizers explained that the exhibition consists of 26 photographs taken by eight international photographers “who accepted the challenge of giving voice to the cry of pain, often hidden, of the women in the world.”


Paolo Ruffini, prefect of the Dicastery for Communication, speaks at a May 2, 2023, press conference. Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/ACI Prensa

The snapshots show the faces of girls and women young and old from the heart of the Amazon to the shantytowns of Brazil, passing through the Greek islands, the borders of Ukraine, and from India to the Bangladesh countryside in Southeast Asia.

According to María Lia Zervino, president of WUCWO, this exhibition in St. Peter’s Square “is a sign of how the Church today wants to embrace all the women of the world, believers and nonbelievers, and give them visibility, to transform, to improve their lives, that of their families, that of their peoples,” she noted.

Photograph from the exhibition “Women’s Cry.”. Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/ ACI Prensa

For the prefect of the Department for Communication, Paolo Ruffini, these images “capture suffering and make it cry out, which unveils beauty” and helps believers and nonbelievers to understand suffering through beauty.

More in Africa

In addition, each image in the exhibition is accompanied by a line from Pope Francis’ encyclical Fratelli Tutti.

Lia Giovanazzi Beltrami, director, producer, and art director of the initiative, also participated in the press conference and stressed that photography is a universal language and explained that “art touches the deepest emotions and leads to personal and social change.”

She noted that “it hasn’t been an easy journey” and that “each shot tells a drama but carries within it a profound hope.”

Girl from India. Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/ACI Prensa

One of the authors of the initiative, the photographer Giuseppe Caridi, explained to ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, that his objective in portraying a woman in the Sahara desert was “to tell a story through the beauty of life and those who still have hope.”


Giuseppe Caridi next to his photograph. Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/ACI Prensa

For Caridi, “despite life’s problems, beauty continues to exist” and his photography, he adds, can inspire those who feel pain as “a message of optimism.”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.



(Story continues below)