This past semester, I had the opportunity to be in a Focus bible study on the feminine genius. Focus is a “Catholic collegiate outreach whose mission is to share the hope and joy off the gospel to college students”. My two bible study leaders were incredible and really helped me dive into my own self discovery of the feminine genius through not only the bible study, but also my own prayer life. We started in Genesis, focusing on the beautiful complementarity between man and woman. Here in the first book of the Bible, God lays out His plan for men and women so beautifully, and it drastically differs from the plan the the world lays out for us. “…he took one of his ribs and closed the flesh up again forthwith….This one at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh!” -Genesis 2. Eve was not taken from Adam’s head to rule over him, nor was she taken from his feet to be ruled by him, but she was taken from his rib, to rule with him. Together they find joy, together they become the person that God created them to be. This major theme from the bible study left me completely stunned. This one story I had heard so many times had so many truths and I wasn’t even aware of them!
Later that semester I entered into discipleship with my bible study leader, Sara. Being a disciple means that Sara accompanies me as I pursue a life of virtue and evangelization. We meet once a week and the goal is for me to eventually have my own bible study and invite one of the girls in my bible study into discipleship with me. Sara truly became a friend to me during our time spent together this past semester. Her feminine gift of receptivity is unlike any other, and seeing that in her has inspired me to focus on my own receptivity. When she first asked me to be her disciple I couldn’t believe it because I am relatively shy and reserved. I was so shocked that she felt called to enter into this journey with me. I thought, why me? Why not someone else? Her choosing to invest in me as a disciple meant so much more than she could ever know. It made me realize that I don’t have to be like everyone else, and it’s ok that I am more quiet and shy, because that is the way that the Lord created me. She really did bring out the best in me, and helped me to see the feminine gifts that God has given me. Sara saw in me the ability to be a great disciple and leader, but ultimately, God saw it first. She became a vessel for God’s grace, healing, and confidence.
This past semester I applied to be on the Women’s ministry at my university. Women’s ministry is a group of about 12 girls who serve the women of campus and put on events for them. While filling out the questions on the application I was challenged to reflect on my view of femininity. One question in particular asked, “summarize how you view Catholic womanhood to be different than models proposed by secular feminism.” My view on Catholic womanhood is living out the vocation that was created by God specifically for women. This womanhood involves understanding the unique gifts and talents God bestows on us as females. Being able to find our identity in God is a large part of how I view Catholic womanhood. This differs from the models proposed by secular feminism, which calls for identity in independence, self-gratification, equality to men. I want to focus specifically on finding our identity in God. It is God who created us and God who knows us so well. The more we discover God, the more we discover ourselves.
After becoming friends with Sister Ignatia, a Sister of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, I found authentic femininity. It absolutely amazed me that this religious sister was so confident in her identity and was so able to be both a woman and spiritual mother to so many people on campus. A large part of my view of womanhood involved eventually getting married and sharing in a life with someone who complimented me. Just because Sister is not married to another person, she still finds her identity in her Spouse, Jesus. Sister Ignatia shows me womanhood in such a different way than anyone else. She is a bride of Christ and she finds her beauty in that. I see such authentic femininity in her life with the beauty and JOY of her personality. Sister Ignatia shows me that womanhood does not necessarily have to include marriage and a family, it can be lived out in our everyday life as a member of the church.
Jesus wants us to find ourselves in Him. He wants to reveal to us our authentic femininity. He wants us to bring our gifts and talents to His church while guiding us along the way. How do you view Catholic femininity? Have you allowed Jesus to show you who and whose you are?