Last night I read an article in my husbands Columbia Magazine. Susan Binkmann titles the article A Renaissance for Catholic Woman. The article is a reflection on Pope John Paul’s Apostolic Letter; Mulieris Dignitatem (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women on the Occasion of the Marian Year) issued Aug 15th 1998.
What does the new feminism mean to Catholic women? Is our late Holy Father trying to tell Catholic women to be weak and dependent? Is the Catholic Church saying all women are good for is bearing children and keeping quiet? As a Catholic woman I have never felt this from the Church. I have only felt it from societies misconception of the Church and the misunderstanding of Gods plan for women.
”Men and women were not created to compete with each other, but to complete one another. They were not meant for separation, but for union. True liberation is not found in imitating what a man can do, but in doing what only a woman can do.” –Susan Brinkmann
This is such a powerful message to me. Who is more powerful than God? Society seems to think their image of a powerful woman is above the image God has created. Society tells us there is power in giving up our fertility, there is power in manipulation, and there is power in a women’s “right” to their body even if it means the death of another. That is not power that is called surrender.
“The women is imbued by her creator with gifts all her own, and they lie in the very femininity that the radical feminist want to discard. This femininity informs everything she does: the way she loves, works, and thinks, whether at home or in the public square. Far from being a weakness, John Paul II said this is woman “genius.” –Susan Brinkmann
Feminine Genius, I love the sound of that. To me it means that all women are called and trusted by God and I, as Catholic woman, need to embrace and trust in this calling. Does this mean that women who work outside the home or those who are unmarried or infertile do not have a calling or are missing the “feminine genius” John Paul the Great speaks of? Of course not, the late Holy Father tells us that no matter where the women is in her life the trust and calling of God, if embraced, will radiate that woman’s femininity and make her the powerful being God has meant for her to be.
When I say power I don’t mean a prideful power that women are expected to have. I mean the silent power of God within. The power and the trust God has given to women. The femininity God gives us is not shameful, degrading, nor does it make us less of a human. What God gives us is always good and when embraced helps our soul and society.
The article goes on to say “no government, no culture has placed as much trust and confidence in women as God has.”
God put His trust in Eve, He put His trust in Mary. Eve believed the lies told to her by the Devil, Mary embraced the trust God put in her and unconditionally accepted His will. Who do we want to model as Catholic women? What would better our society and our world?
As for my daughters I don’t know what their path will be. They may be called to be mothers, religious, or doctors and scientists. No matter what they are called to do I will teach them that the way God planned women to be will never fail them if they embrace it. In the home or in the workplace their trust in God and the feminist power God has created in them will shine. I hope they will model the new Eve and celebrate their femininity, their feminine genius.