This summer marked 100 years since the ratification of the 19th amendment. That long overdue moment in history paved the way for Amy Barrett’s potential nomination to the Supreme Court and for Kamala Harris’ appointment as a presidential candidate’s running mate.

Most politically active Americans have a vehement view about one or both of these women and whether or not they should be in their respective positions. Catholics are among them.

But all Catholics can or should agree that women shape not only the political sphere but also our church in radical and irreplicable ways.

I recently interviewed three women who work at Mount Angel Seminary. It was for a story on the seminary’s virtual benefit event, and the women’s focus was, of course, on the resilience and faith of the seminarians, some of whom have lost family members to COVID-19 and family homes to wildfires.

But what also came through was the passion, the creativity and adaptability of these women, who most recently have produced a beautiful video in spite of a relentless stream of obstacles.

Such women are employed throughout the church, working as principals, teachers, pastoral administrators and theologians. Working women in society make an “indispensable contribution to the growth of a culture,” wrote St. John Paul II in 1995.

Those who work for the institutional church do the same — making the culture of the Catholic Church far stronger because of their presence.