This most recent edition of Among Women finds us talking in detail about the Catholic Church’s teaching on contraception with a moral theologian, Angela Franks, PhD. Dr Franks recently authored Contraception and Catholicism, which I endorsed. She is a wife, mother, and professor at the Theological Institute of the New Evangelization at St John’s Seminary in the Archdiocese of Boston. Dr Franks’ expertise and advice on this important subject is both pastoral and consoling. Her teaching is based on the truth that God really does want us to be happy, and that the moral life is always possible for us — with God’s grace!
I’ll also be looking at the life of St Mary of Cerevellon, a 13th century native of Barcelona, Spain and her ministry among slaves and others, earning her the nickname, “Mary of Help.”
Listen to this episode of Among Women.
You might also enjoy a previous episode with Dr Franks from the Among Women archives: AW 158.
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?
For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done.
March 13 marks the first anniversary of Pope Francis’ election as our Holy Father. I’d like to release a special edition of Among Women in honor of Pope Francis’ election, and I need your input!
What do you love about Pope Francis?
What you have learned from him?
Send me your comments via the combox below.
Or via my email for Among Women: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or leave them on the Among Women podcast Facebook page.
I’d love a short MP3 recording of your voice with your comments to add your voice to the special edition podcast!
You can do this in two ways.
First, use your smart phone voice memo app to record your thoughts and send me the MP3 file to email@example.com.
Second, record your comments at the voicemail I’ve set up for this purpose: 206-339-8834
Thanks for your help!
Remember: I need your comments by midnight on March 11, 2014.
If you are looking for a romantic kind of post here for Valentine’s Day, you might have to read something from my archives here, or here. This is one is a salute to another kind of Valentine that captures a woman’s heart.
I wept the first time I saw this. No, it wasn’t hormones. Something inside me just gave way to see what I’ve tried to put in print, and share in talks, revealed on this tiny screen*: the transformational power of loving and the inner beauty of the feminine gift of maternity.
Maternal love is genuinely expansive. At the very same time it is very, very personal.
I have spilled many words on this subject in Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious. It unpacks the beauty of womanhood found in her four amazing gifts… receptivity, generosity, sensitivity, and maternity. These gifts not only make women truly beautiful, but they are how women pour beauty into the world. All four gifts unfold in this little story told in seven minutes. The video even captures how maternity is being mocked and belittled in the world today — or thrown away.
So, in honor of Valentine’s Day, and in thanksgiving for the God of Love who designed women with innate, beautiful gifts, let me share this reminder of why this little video is so poignantly beautiful.
[In his 1988 document,] On the Dignity and Vocation of Women… John Paul II taught that women, by the beauty of their physiology and God-given design, are particularly well disposed to human persons, and this is our feminine genius.
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 Dignitatem, par. 30)
[O]ur being blessed comes from the core of who we are… our dignity is rooted in how we are made. There’s no mistaking our biology. The beauty of our feminine design prepares us for motherhood. It flows from the sublime blessing of who we are in our creation. Our womanly bodies are wonderfully made and purposefully created with an empty space of a womb that we carry under our heart.
Our womb, or uterus, signals that we are made for something and someone more than ourselves. It is an organ that is made for welcoming and receiving the life of a child, and generously sheltering and nurturing the child, and finally, bringing the child to birth. Our breasts are meant to feed that child. Everything about a woman is made to give and support life.
The gift of maternity is being a beautiful life-bearer through motherhood. And even if a woman never gives birth, her life is still inclined and ordered toward mothering. Maternity is an inherent gift of femininity. That means all women have it. All women are entrusted with the call to care for the people within their sphere of influence. (From Chapter 7, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious)
I’m getting prepped and excited to travel to churches in Peoria IL, Duluth MN, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, to celebrate the dignity, gifts, and mission of women! I’ll explore the themes of my book with talks and discussions. Plus, we’ll hear from local women themselves sharing what it means to be blessed, beautiful, and bodacious… bodacious being most excellent and courageously undertaking the mission we woman have in the world. We’ll enjoy the company of other women, and the gift of faith as we take time to pray and reflect!
Mark your calendars and register! I hope I’ll be able to meet you at one of these venues.
March 7 & 8: Saint Jude Church, Peoria, IL
Details: Contact Kim.Thompson@stjudechurchpeoria.org
March 29: Queen of Peace Catholic Church, Duluth, MN
The second annual Authentic Catholic Women’s conference. Details here.
April 25-26: Saint Benedict Parish, Halifax, Nova Scotia, CA.
More details to follow…
This week on Among Women we explore the reflections of author and CatholicMom.com founder Lisa Hendey as she talks about a troubling subject: the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. Although this conversation is challenging, in terms of the devastating horror of genocide, and its continued threat in the modern world, it is also one of hope and the grace of forgiveness amid deep sorrow. Lisa explains the opportunity she had as a recipient of the Egan Fellowship from Catholic Relief Services, to visit Rwanda last fall. She details the effect the mission had on her, and the seeming miraculous graces she found there amidst pain and heartbreak.
I’m also happy to share a short selection from Lisa Hendey’s 2011 book, A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms, and I’m featuring the story of St Elizabeth of Portugal, a Catholic wife and mother, matriarch and noblewoman from the 13th century.
Listen to this episode of Among Women.
My Among Women conversation with Joanne McPortland about her trip to Lourdes and other shrines in Europe.
A link to add your petitions to Our Lady of Lourdes in France.
Learn more about the Lourdes shrine in France.
Visit the Grotto at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in Emmitsburg, MD.