Come learn the catechesis behind the book, “Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious” — a webinar with me and Terry Polakovic of Endow.
There’s a movement on Twitter to help call out the mainstream media for ignoring the coverage surrounding abortionist Kermit Gosnell. Here’s an angle about media blackouts and censorship that comes from catechist, Peggy Clores, a former guest on Among Women, who wrote to me about this new story:
Regardless of your viewpoint, every American should be deeply concerned and disturbed by the chronic censorship of relevant news in our country. As a daughter of a Holocaust survivor, I take this censorship of information very seriously. The wipe out of critical news made it effortless to put my grandparents in the ovens of Auschwitz. The fact that so many Americans are not aware that one third of the present generation (55 million persons) have been eliminated in our country alone in the last 40 years is as much a cause for concern as the fact itself. ~Peggy Clores
In my book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious, one area of focus is the maternal gift that women bring to the world based on their feminine nature. This maternal nature is part of God’s design of womanhood, as Blessed John Paul II taught, in that the human person is entrusted to women in a special way because of this gift of maternity.
The moral and spiritual strength of a woman is joined to her awareness that God entrusts the human being to her in a special way. Of course, God entrusts every human being to each and every other human being. But this entrusting concerns women in a special way – precisely by reason of their femininity – and this in a particular way determines their vocation…
A woman is strong because of her awareness of this entrusting… (John Paul II, Mulieris Dignatatem, 30)
Often, women help to humanize the situations they are in; they are all about “relationships”and how well people mesh together. This is one of the strengths of women, and when exercised in friendly and respectful ways, women become a life-giving resource in our society, especially in the workplace. In this recent piece in the Wall Street Journal, we see this demonstrated, as writer Katherine Rosman asks the question: “Who’s Your Office Mom?”
The office mom is shorthand for a figure in many offices: the colleague who remembers everyone’s birthdays and brings in cupcakes. She has Advil and tissues in her desk drawer. She knows your significant other is all wrong for you—and will say so.
She is often an office manager but can be a senior executive, too. Just as people talk about their “office spouse,” a colleague they spend time with and confide in, the office mom is asserting herself as the matriarch of the office family. This is especially true for more companies as they ditch private offices in favor of open-space desks where senior staff members sit among the junior and every personal phone call is overheard.
The office mom is almost always a woman and often slightly older than other colleagues. She might actually be a mother, but not necessarily. A relationship with her is complex like all family relationships tend to be: A younger employee might want to please her professionally, even as she grits her teeth listening to her personal advice.
How an office mom might operate? I think it is as individual as a woman herself. Someone might offer to celebrate birthdays and such, but then, another might change the office culture just by being thoughtful, as in this case where a woman serves her co-workers when she sees needs and intentionally sets out to fill them:
In an economy where companies can grow quickly without the infrastructure of human resources, an office mom is about more than birthday cakes. Pamela Mendoza is the executive assistant and office manager at Udemy, a Silicon Valley online education company. At 38, she is one of the oldest in the office. When new people move to town to join the company, she offers advice on finding apartments and restaurants. She shares her feelings about the importance of a work-life balance. Recently, she ordered a dining room table for the center of the office to encourage people to step away from their computers for long enough to eat lunch. “It’s not the job, it’s my personality,” Ms. Mendoza says.
For Eliza Davidson, a 23-year-old recent college graduate, Ms. Mendoza’s support has been a comfort. Ms. Davidson says: “Pamela has been a great guide for the more quote-unquote ‘adult things’ I need to care about, like health care and taxes.”
Some office moms say they take on the role without thinking—they are moms at home and don’t know how to switch it off. Others become office moms because nurturing younger colleagues gives them an outlet for maternal energy.
The rest of the WSJ article is here.
The mission of women in the world at large is to nurture and care for it… that includes the people in her sphere of influence.
For more on this subject of women and work, especially, faith-filled women at work, you might be interested in this recent Among Women podcast with Mary Wallace, author of the blog The Working Catholic Mom.
Pope Francis, Day One -”Among Women”-style: The gifts of Mary, womanhood, and the new evangelization
Last night, when he first met us from the balcony of St Peter’s, the new “Peter” — Pope Francis — told us his plan for today. Job One would be to bring this pontificate to Mary, the Mother of God, the woman who brings us all to Jesus. This kind of holy bow is a profound “yes” to being open and receptive to the Holy Spirit. Then the Holy Father would get down to the rest of the tasks that his schedule would demand.
Why does this matter?
Mary was the one God the Father entrusted to receive and bear God the Son. She brought Jesus into the world. By the power of the Holy Spirit, she was the first one to make Jesus present in the world, in the flesh. The Good Pontiff humbly seeks her out as he courageously begins his very high profile mission of bringing Jesus to the world.
Here’s a video of his travels to St Mary Major Basilica…not only does he pray earnestly to Mary for his papacy, but on the way out to go back to the Vatican, the new Pope pauses to bless a pregnant woman.
What a beautiful demonstration of God’s love and blessing for the gift of woman, her maternity, and the new life within in! How many pregnant women today might understand the gift of their maternity through such a public blessing? I can only hope many.
One of the reasons I’ve written my book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious, is to draw attention to the reverence and awe that the Church has for the gift of womanhood — and to introduce the basic ideas of a woman’s dignity, gifts, and mission that the Church has proclaimed to people like us, the women in the pew. As I’ve recently explained in an article for the Washington Post that is currently at my column at Patheos, despite the negativity that our society often describes of women being enslaved by her maternal gift, rather, a woman herself is blessed by God by the gift of her created being — and being made feminine!
Tragically, humanity has habitually lost sight of the true gifts we are to one another, and the treasure of maternity was rarely appreciated as the blessing it is, until Jesus, the Savior of all, was born of a woman.
In and through Mary, the world heard once more: Woman, you are a gift!
Blessed John Paul II was especially eager to teach that women, by the beauty of their physiology and God-given design, are particularly well-disposed to seeing, comprehending, and loving human persons. This is our “feminine genius.” This particular strength of woman bears repeating and rediscovery as we survey the political rhetoric of the day that tends degrades maternity…
The late pontiff’s major treatise on women, “Mulieris Dignatatem,” exults in the dignity and beauty of femininity. The gift of maternity, he wrote is a strength, not a weakness.
The moral and spiritual strength of a woman is joined to her awareness that God entrusts the human being to her in a special way. Of course, God entrusts every human being to each and every other human being. But this entrusting concerns women in a special way—precisely by reason of their femininity. . . .
A woman is strong because of her awareness of this entrusting . . . always and in every way, even in the situations of social discrimination in which she may find herself. This awareness and this fundamental vocation speak to women of the dignity which they receive from God himself, and this makes them “strong” and strengthens their vocation. (Mulieris Dignatatem, par 30)
There’s no mistaking biology. Womanly bodies are wonderfully made, and purposefully created with an empty space of a womb carried under her heart.
A woman’s womb, her uterus, signals that she is made for something and someone more than herself. This reality touches a woman at her very core—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The womb’s raison d’être illuminates this gift that welcomes and receives the life of a child, sheltering and nurturing it, until finally, a woman gives birth. We even use the expression—giving birth—denoting the gift that it is. The maternal gift ought to be honored and celebrated.
(Read the rest here.)
What’s more, a woman is further dignified by Mary’s maternity, by her bringing forth the Christ to humanity. Mary is “blessed among women”, as we pray in the Hail Mary Prayer; she is “the feminine genius” par excellence. The gift of maternity is magnified in Mary, and the gift of maternity in all women is elevated because of the amazing gift of who Mary is to Christ and to his Church. She brings us to Jesus, while she teaches us that we women, indeed, have a mission to help make disciples in our world through physical and spiritual motherhood.
I was edified to read a wonderful post this morning over at Ignitum Today by Miriam Fightlin Brower that gives more voice to this. Like me, she notes there is something sadly missing from feminist ideology if it discounts the fullness of the womanly gift of maternity. Her article is titled “Liberated from the Women’s Movement.”
Modern feminism is a peculiar ideology. It professes to offer us, as women, all the choices in the world, to determine our own paths and not be hindered by the shackles of patriarchy. Yet, with all the exhortation for choice and empowerment for women, there is one choice that is like Kryptonite to these feminists–the choice of women to celebrate and honor their own nature.
When unwrapping this philosophy, it is impossible to escape the irony. The true enemy of the 1960s and 70s era Women’s Movement is not patriarchy, but none other then Mother Nature herself.
Embedded deep within Modern feminist ideology is a fundamental flaw.
This brand of feminism views equality through the singular lens of sameness–completely unwilling to acknowledge our female biology and psychological and spiritual make-up. Instead of truly celebrating our diversity and uniqueness, it succeeds only in advocating an “equality” which extracts and then promptly discards everything that is most distinctly and most powerfully female.
You really start to wonder: Is this brand of feminism advocating for our advancement or our demise?
The Bible says “by their fruits you will know them” (Matthew 7:16). Yet, in a very real way we know modern feminism because it refuses to produce any fruits. Our fertility is deemed a hindrance simply because it doesn’t look like or act like a man’s. In their quest to advance the cause of women, they have somehow managed to make male fertility the gold standard thereby deeming women’s fertility defective; our biology becomes something we are encouraged to mutilate instead of embrace. It has truly become the fulfillment of Bl. John Paul II’s warning in Mulieris Dignitatem (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women) when he wrote, “There is a well-founded fear that if they take this path, women will not “reach fulfillment”, but instead will deform and lose what constitutes their essential richness.”
Unless women allow themselves to be defined by this rigid and confining notion of what it means to be a free and equal woman, completely ignore their biology and pretend to be less than they are, they will not find a seat at the table of modern feminism. It has indeed become the embodiment of that stifling patriarchy it fought so hard to overcome.
Authentic Catholic feminism recognizes the beauty of our distinct nature and celebrates women in their entirety. It rejoices in the awesome power of creation that women have been given rather than apologizing for it. It acknowledges the nurturing aspects of our femininity, the importance that we place on relationships, and our centralness in the world family. We are truly raised up, mind, body and spirit as something beautiful and meaningful to behold.
(Read the whole post.)
As we witness the birth of a new papacy, we are reminded that this becomes a time to renew a deeper call to a new evangelization in our world. With it comes a responsibility to promote human dignity. Such a task must include a new brand of feminism, a new wave of feminism that is paired with the Christian message and a proper anthropology — an understanding of the dignity of women and men in their blessed design. It must be bathed in justice, as it is immersed in an ocean of charity that sees human persons as the invaluable and unique gifts that they are.
A Pope who entrusts himself first to Mary is showing us the path to a holiness that is both consoling as it is courageous. Both Benedict XVI and John Paul II entrusted the new millennium to Mary, calling her the Star of the New Evangelization. Francis knows this.
Likewise, a woman who entrusts herself to Jesus through Mary has found a path to understanding the exquisite dignity she has a person, especially as a feminine person. Women, in a very particular way, hold the fate of humanity, in their hands.
A woman aware of her blessed dignity and her beautiful gifts will naturally become a bodacious evangelist — hers is a most excellent mission to bring the life of Christ into the world, like Mary did.
Image credit: from RomeReports.com
Here’s a snippet:
Waiting on the Lord’s timing and his mercy are so great a part of the Christian life. And Lent is not so much about tending to our will, but to his; not so much about our timing, but his. We see this so clearly this Lent — characterized by the prayers and sacrifices on behalf of the conclave.
May we anticipate the goodness of the One who sees and knows the one who will be chosen as pope.
The Lord is gracious… merciful… slow to anger… kind… just…good… compassionate…faithful… holy… and near to all who call on him. (Psalm 145)
And may our new pontiff be a loyal and holy son of the Church – a Good Shepherd who always acts like Jesus — in union with the amazing will and timing of the Father.
For the Father loves the Son
and shows him everything that he himself does,
and he will show him greater works than these,
so that you may be amazed. (John 5: 20.)
Read the whole thing, and go to the March 13 entry.
God gave me a pretty amazing day. Today is my birthday so I spent some time in a local chapel, praying my daily prayers and rosary there, and attending the noon Mass. Of course I was praying for the conclave. As I left Mass, I just had a feeling we would see white smoke today. As I came in the door after Mass and doing a little shopping, I saw Bob was on a late lunch break and watching the news. I told him I thought we would hear something today about the pope. As I brought in and unpacked the groceries, Bob yelled: “There’s smoke!” As soon as I saw the white smoke and the bells of St Peter’s signaling the rejoicing, I just was full of joy.
While I was hoping for a pope from the USA, (don’t all Catholics everywhere root for their “home team” Cardinals?) , we did get an “American” pope in Pope Francis I — from the South American nation of Argentina.
I wish I knew more about Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, but like many people, I’ll be learning more about him! I loved that he asked us to pray for him first, that God would bless him, before he gave us his first blessing. I was praying for him like crazy in those moments that led up to that point.
I was talking with friends on Facebook today, and just loving that he took the name Francis. St Francis of Assisi has long been a hero in the Gohn home, but so is St Francis Xavier who was a patron of my boy’s high school. I also have a particular devotion to St Francis de Sales.
I don’t know which Francis the Pope means to honor — perhaps he’ll tell us more soon– I have a feeling it is a nod to Francis of Assisi, but each “Francis” has special meaning for me.
As I wrote on Facebook: ”God’s call to St Francis of Assisi is to “rebuild” the church… God’s call to St Francis Xavier is bring the gospel to the ends of the earth… and God’s call to St Francis de Sales was to engage the laity and show them the beauty of their vocations! I’m pretty pumped.”
Pumped. And amazed.
Long live Pope Francis! May God lead him to do great amazing works, like Jesus!
Now that the conclave will begin on Tuesday, let us continue to lift the Cardinals who will select our next pope in our prayers. There’s a few helpful links that you may wish to bookmark for the exciting days ahead listed below.
Here’s a well-done video from Catholic News Service on the making of the pope…
Some informational commentary from around the blogosphere:
Whispers in the Loggia by Rocco Palmo – the respected Vatican news hound of the Catholic blogosphere
Catholic Channel at Patheos - many blogs and articles on this site, including my own.
Electing the Pope - a new site launched to educate and answer questions about the papal election
Aleteia - many articles and newsy items
Catholic Fire - Prayers for the Election of a Pope featured on this blog post
Focus.org offers How the Papal Announcement is made in Latin, complete with videos of previous announcements of Benedict XVI, John Paul II, John Paul I. You can also sign up for their Pope Alarm so as not to miss the news of a new pope that follows the “white smoke”.
Reliable Catholic News agencies:
Don’t forget to tune into your Catholic television and radio sources in your area and online!
Many diocesan websites and diocesan newspapers are also providing coverage.
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to share the themes from my new book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious at the annual Military Council of Catholic Women’s (MCCW) retreat held at the chapel on the post at Carlisle Barracks, where the US Army War College is located. What a wonderful group of 68 women! Most of them are wives to either active duty or retired military personnel. I met a few women who even wore a service uniform themselves, or had children currently serving our country.
On Friday we had Mass together and shared in a luncheon where I gave a presentation to get the women pumped up for the weekend ahead.
Later that night we prayed the Stations of the Cross, and shared a simple meal of soup and salad.
I learn a lot about army life, the heroes who nobly serve our nation, and the joys and heartbreaks that military families experience. As I toured the post, I learned the history of Carlisle Barracks and the top rank officers who are selected to study toward further advancement at the college. As a guest, I stayed in the VIP quarters on post at Washington Hall — named for President George Washington, who as an army general led missions from the Barracks back in colonial days when Carlisle PA was the western-most outpost of the country.
Fr. Gregory D’Emma, the Chaplain at Carlisle Barracks, explained some of the religious history associated with the armed forces, including a fascinating story of a chaplain who may one day be declared a saint! You may be interested in the story of Fr Emil Kapaun – a military chaplain who was a priest, a soldier, and a hero during the Korean War. His cause for canonization as a saint is underway, and there’s a short video describing his life.
On Saturday the women and I had a full-day of retreat together. We opened with morning prayer and recognition of Our Lady of Good Counsel, the patroness of the MCCW chapter in Carlisle.
Then I offered three talks, along with slides and music, based on the themes drawn from three parts of my book – the blessed dignity of women, the beautiful gifts of women, and the bodacious mission of women!
Some highlights of the retreat for me included listening to three inspiring women – Rebecca Burbridge, Katie Hester, and Kathy McQuaig – who courageously offered their reflections on the different subjects of our womanly dignity, gifts, and mission. Great spiritual fruit was also found in the chapel, both with confessions and in quiet in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The retreat also included opportunities for personal sharing and group discussions, and great food and fellowship at meals.
I’ve even come home with some cool swag from my time at Carlisle Barracks — a great coffee mug and bookmark from the college — things every reading-writer needs! Plus a fabulous polka-dot scarf that tied up the gift basket I received.
Only the keen eye of a sensitive woman would know about the polka-dot dress on the woman on the cover of Blessed, Beautiful and
Bodacious! I was really touched by it all.
So, naturally, I had to model it for the “bodacious” talk and share my new favorite accessory with the women!
Enjoy the gallery below. You can click on any photo to view it in a larger mode. And, please, let’s remember to pray for our troops and their families!
Here’s the story from NEWS.va. In short:
Benedict XVI will be “Pontiff emeritus” or “Pope emeritus”, as Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, reported in a press conference on th final days of the current pontificate. He will keep the name of “His Holiness, Benedict XVI” and will dress in a simple white cassock without the mozzetta (elbow-length cape).