Causes of Relational Suffering between Persons According to the Tradition of the Church Mothers

  • Anne McCarthy, OSB Mt. St. Benedict Monastery


When we examine the stories of women leaders in the early church—especially the stories of their actions for alleviating suffering—their teaching on the causes of suffering comes into focus: ignorance and fear which are the root of alienation, isolation, and divisions among people and from the earth. Ignorance and fear also manifest in patterns of social injustice and in organized systems of oppression, persecution, and violence (I hear similarities here with Buddha’s three “roots of evil”: greed, aversion, and delusion). The antidote/response to the causes of suffering modeled by the women leaders in the early church is always love-based action. Their love-based action makes the gospel message, the “good news” of Jesus, visible in their time. 

Relational Suffering and Its Causes