I sat in out student lounge yesterday talking to three women who are students at Iowa State about a topic that you wouldn't necessarily expect: why women should be proud to be Catholic.
It all started when I noticed three women students sitting in the student lounge. I went over to say hello and one them asked if I knew anything about Edith Stein/Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. I told her I didn't and she said she thought we should get a group of people together to study her life and writings. She said that there are several people at "the University" (a term that I've learned is what you say when you don't particularly like something about Iowa State) who say the church is anti-woman and we have no response. I agreed and said that we should study the great women saints throughout history, like Felicity and Perpetua, all the Theresas, and others. I also couldn't think of the woman who convinced the Pope to move the papacy back from Avignon, France to Rome and one of them knew it was Catherine of Sienna. One of my favorite statements came from a woman who said she sat next to a male sociologist on a plane ride and the man couldn't understand how a woman could be involved in the church. Her response was that she feels like the church is the only entity that gets her. The church tells her she has dignity and that she is called by name and a child of God and that she is different from man but not less important. I was proud that one of my students would know that the church isn't the evil women oppressing agent that we are often alleged to be. She felt the call of Christ who loved women differently but equally to men.