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This makes me think… about Mary as the New Eve

This makes me think… about Mary as the New Eve

In Mary, Eve discovers the nature of the true dignity of woman, of feminine humanity. This discovery must continually reach the heart of every woman and shape her vocation and her life.

-Blessed John Paul II, Mulieris Dignitatem, par 11.

I’ve always been moved by this illustration.


Crayon & pencil drawing
by Sr. Grace Remington, OCSO.
Copyright 2005,
Sisters of the Mississippi Abbey


Among Women 168: The Silver Jubilee of Mulieris Dignitatem

Among Women 168: The Silver Jubilee of Mulieris Dignitatem

Among Women looks at the 25th anniversary of Blessed John Paul II’s apostolic letter, Mulieris DignitatemMy guest is author-blogger Genevieve Kineke who has long studied this document and who recently released a commemorative book edition of John Paul’s letter with commentary and ways you can study this ground-breaking document for women.

You can win a copy of Genevieve Kineke’s book on Mulieris Dignitatem! Enter the free drawing by sending your comments me, Pat Gohn, at amongwomenpodcast@me.com, or visit the Among Women podcast facebook page. The contest will close on Oct, 31, 2013.

Also of note to podcast listeners, the Pontifical Society for the Laity in Rome invited over 100 women from around the world to meet to study Mulieris Dignitatem anew, we’ll also look at the life of a little-known 8th century hermit, St Ulphia of France, and I’ll tell you where I’ll be speaking next in the next few weeks.

Listen to the Among Women podcast here. 


This makes me think… about women as guardians of life

The maternal mission is also the basis of a particular responsibility. The mother is appointed guardian of life. It is her task to accept it with care, encouraging the human being’s first dialogue with the world, which is carried out precisely in the symbiosis with the mother’s body. It is here that history of every human being begins… with an exclusive and unmistakable plan of life.

-Blessed John Paul II, Angelus message, July 16, 1995-


I write about this theme in Chapter 8 of Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious. 

This makes me think… about Mary’s Fiat and Our “Amen” to the Body of Christ

In a certain sense Mary lived her Eucharistic faith even before the institution of the Eucharist, by the very fact that she offered her virginal womb for the Incarnation of God’s Word. The Eucharist, while commemorating the passion and resurrection, is also in continuity with the incarnation. At the Annunciation Mary conceived the Son of God in the physical reality of his body and blood, thus anticipating within herself what to some degree happens sacramentally in every believer who receives, under the signs of bread and wine, the Lord’s body and blood.

As a result, there is a profound analogy between the Fiat which Mary said in reply to the angel, and the Amen which every believer says when receiving the body of the Lord. Mary was asked to believe that the One whom she conceived “through the Holy Spirit” was “the Son of God” (Lk 1:30-35). In continuity with the Virgin’s faith, in the Eucharistic mystery we are asked to believe that the same Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Mary, becomes present in his full humanity and divinity under the signs of bread and wine.

-Blessed John Paul II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, par 55-


I write about this theme in Chapter 7 of Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious.

This makes me think… about the wisdom and goodness of complimentarily between men and women

History might well remember John Paul as the pope of human love. His most profound contribution to the development of Catholic doctrine, the theology of the body, is an extensive meditation on the beauty of enfleshed loving communion, rooted in the male/female difference. As wonderful as the theology of the body is, it must be confessed that the collection of audience talks devoted directly to the topic is a doorstop of a book. We know from teaching it how important it is to dive into it in a classroom setting. Thankfully, in “Mulieris dignitatem,” Pope John Paul has provided a masterful precis of the theology of the body, presented through the lens of Mary.

He argues for the wisdom and the goodness of sexual difference, in an age in which the fashionable opinion is androgyny (the refusal to recognize the male/female difference as having intrinsic meaning). But doesn’t androgyny undermine the first condition for a robust and authentic feminism: the recognition that being female has intrinsic dignity and worth?

And so Pope John Paul helps us think things through from the beginning. And there are two fundamental coordinates. First, if we want to see the truth about female dignity, we have to recognize the dignity of every person as such: every single member of the human species images God. But because God is Trinity, we do so as male and female (Gen 1:26-28), as a “unity of the two” in one spirit of love. Without difference, there cannot be union. And this leads to the second basic coordinate: the difference between male and female cannot be understood apart from the primacy of love: to love is what being alive is all about.

Marriage is the nexus of these two coordinates, as St. Paul discusses in Ephesians 5:21-33. Here’s the punch line when it comes to sexual difference: “The Bridegroom is the one who loves. The Bride is loved: it is she who receives love, in order to love in return” (Mulieris, no. 29). Every man is to be a spiritual bridegroom (and father), and every woman is to be a spiritual bride (and mother). Without woman, love could not enter human history. Woman is the necessary and equal (but uniquely gifted) partner of man in the development of civilization. And without the marital love of man and woman, there would be no new life. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit wish to pour undying and invincible love into flesh and to bring that flesh into eternal life. (The consummation of that wish is what the last two mysteries of the Rosary are all about, what we celebrate in these days: the Assumption and Coronation of Our Lady)

At the center of human history, at the heart of humanity, is Mary, who lives out self-giving love with profound perfection. But this central position of hers is possible only because she is first the beneficiary of God’s generosity.

-Drs. David and Angela Franks, PhD Theology, “A Woman’s Heart Receives the Future” 

This makes me think…. about the beautiful gift sensitivity in women and why it’s so needed…

Perhaps more than men, women acknowledge the personbecause they see persons with their hearts. They see them independently of various ideological or political systems. They see others in their greatness and limitations; they try to go out to them and help themIn this way the basic plan of the Creator takes flesh in the history of humanity and there is constantly revealed, in the variety of vocations, that beautynot merely physical, but above all spiritual-which God bestowed from the very beginning on all, and in a particular way on women.

-Blessed John Paul II, Letter to Women, par. 12.-

For more on this subject, read Ch 6 of my book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious.

Among Women Podcast #150: The Rosary and Pregnancy — Perfect Together!

Among Women Podcast #150: The Rosary and Pregnancy — Perfect Together!


This week’s AW is our 150th episode!!

(Listen here.)

Just how do the rosary and pregnancy go together? Well, they both nurture new life in us, both spiritually and biologically!

This week, our “Blessed are They” segment is a departure from our usual discussions about a woman saint, as we open Rosarium Virginis Mariae, the Apostolic Letter of Blessed John Paul II on the Most Holy Rosary, in honor of October, the month dedicated to the Rosary (when this podcast was originally slated to be released. But, given the superstore “Sandy”, our timeline was delayed.)

In our guest segment, I talk with longtime friend of Among Women, Sarah Reinhard, and we share themes from her new book, A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy: Walking with Mary from Conception to Baptism We talk about how the Blessed Mother assists and inspires a woman during the stages of pregnancy, and in preparation for having a child baptized. See the podcast show notes for how to enter our free drawing to win a copy of Sarah’s book.

Be sure to listen all the way to the end of the podcast to join me in praying for the storm victims in the Northeast. Thanks for your patience in waiting for this episode.