News Story

Women Across Canada Celebrate International Women’s Day

March 8, 2016, marks International Women’s Day, with this year’s theme focusing on the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women worldwide. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints celebrate the potential and achievements of women everywhere.

The Church has supported the education and advancement of women from its earliest days. Former Church President Spencer W. Kimball once stated, “It was the Prophet Joseph Smith who set forth the ideals for womanhood. He advocated liberally for women in the purest sense of the word, and he gave them liberty to fully express themselves as mothers, as nurses to the sick, as proponents of high community ideals, and as protectors of good morals” (“The True Way of Life and Salvation,” April 1978 general conference).

In the 19th century, the Church invested in the training and calling of midwives and female doctors, and for some time the Mormon communities of the West boasted the largest numbers of trained female doctors and midwives in the United States.

This legacy continues to this day. Aimée Bouka, a member of the Church living in New Brunswick, is a strong woman of knowledge, discipline and faith. A first-generation Canadian of Togolese descent, she is currently attending medical school on the East Coast while awaiting the birth of her third child.

The name Aimée means “loved” in French, and Aimée Bouka clearly understands that she is loved, indicating she was born of goodly parents, both heavenly and earthly. She says, “Knowing that I am the daughter of heavenly parents reminded me of my worth even when others suggested otherwise. It was definitely the foundation of a strong personality that made me confident enough to fear [no one] and humble enough to constantly seek the Spirit for guidance. I came to Earth with talents and skills to develop and improve. I came to Earth to reach my spiritual and temporal potentials. I knew that the only path that mattered was the one my parents had traced for me. I can do hard things. I can defy the odds. I can inspire. I can lift up and I can support. I am a daughter of God.”

Christian history is replete with examples of other strong women of faith, much like Aimée. One such figure is Mary Magdalene, to whom the risen Saviour first appeared after His crucifixion. The Bible outlines how a broken-hearted and bereft Mary arrives at Christ’s tomb to find it empty. Distraught about where His body may have been taken, she stands outside the tomb weeping. The Lord then appears and asks her, “Woman why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?” (John 20:15). We are told that she does not yet recognize Him, but supposes Him to be the gardener — whether due to her weeping or to disbelief, we cannot know. It is then that Christ calls her by name, “Mary,” and in a flash she recognizes the risen Saviour. The only other words she utters in His presence are “Rabboni,” which translated from Hebrew means “Master” (John 20:16).

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will host its next general women’s session on March 26, 2016. All are invited to attend and celebrate the accomplishments and potential of women.

Contributed by Samantha Smith-Bird

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