Wednesday, January 16, 2008

An atypical feminism conversation

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.


Adoro te Devote said...

It's so incredible to meet and hear from other women who feel about the Church as I do. The Church is the only place on earth where we can come and be as we are; daughters of God. We come without having to put up any kind of a front, without having to impress anyone, downplay our femininity, etc. It is a sanctuary, in all senses of the word.

Anyone who claims the Church is patriarchal is ignorant of history. Jesus himself broke "rules" with regard to the treatment of women, revealing the dignity of women in a truly patristic society. He set them free from oppressive cultural norms on many levels! And as you discuss here, the Saints! St. Teresa of Avila chastized and counseled Popes! Women all over the world have spread the faith through their very gifts of femininity, starting religious communities, hospitals, schools, even in the face of regimes that warned of death if they defied their pagan or atheistic ideologies!

I AM proud to be a woman. Indeed.

Now...if I could just work on becoming a Saint... * sigh * THAT'S the hard part.

~ Julie

Kristen said...


I have a newsletter for Catholic women called Secretum Meum Mihi, based on the insights of Edith Stein (and other saints). Perhaps you and your readers would like to check it out:

John Donaghy said...

A book that has short biographies of a number of holy women is Robert Ellsberg, Blessed Among all Women: Women Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time. New York: Crossroad, 2005