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Among Women features Dawn Eden and her book The Thrill of the Chaste

Among Women features Dawn Eden and her book The Thrill of the Chaste

AW-1400x1400-logo-300x300In this episode of Among Women we examine the virtue of chastity with the author of The Thrill of the Chaste, and a returning guest to AW, Dawn Eden. There is something in this conversation for women in every vocation. Chastity needs cultivating in every state of life! Also in this show, in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary this month, a look at Edith Stein’s writings on the relationship between Mary and us.

Note to Parents: some of this subject matter may be a bit mature for children.

I hope you’ll enjoy this latest episode of Among Women!  Listen here, or find it on iTunes.


Dawn_Eden_Thrill_of_the_Chaste_Catholic_Edition

 

Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious receives more kind reviews… get signed copies on sale before Christmas for $12 each!

Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious receives more kind reviews… get signed copies on sale before Christmas for $12 each!

Buy a signed copy of Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious at a sale price!

Peggy Eastman of the Catholic Daughters of America magazine SHARE writes:

This book provides a refreshing, honest affirmation of the special gifts of Catholic women in a breezy conversational style that photoenhances the message. At its heart, this book is a joyful look at what it means to be feminine, faith-filled and both.

In an era when there is still some confusion about women’s roles and about gender equality, Gohn sets the record straight, writing “Men and women, while being distinct, are equal in the eyes of God. For women who have been made to feel inferior or who have suffered unjustly at the hands of others because of their femininity, this is very good news.”

This book is divided into three parts: The Blessed Dignity of Women; The Beautiful Gifts of Women; and The Bodacious Mission of Women. In the last section, the author delivers an unabashed love letter to Catholic womanhood, encouraging women to live fully as God’s beloved. Here are two summary sentences: “Femininity in its fullness, naturally and supernaturally, in body and soul, is a gift of God to you to bring you into a relationship with him and with other people. It is God’s plan for you.”

Dawn Eden, author of My Peace I Give You, now in pursuit of doctoral studies in theology, writes on why this book makes a great gift:

When I saw the title and cover of this book, I feared it would be corny or glib. It’s not. Pat Gohn is an engaging, intelligent writer who clearly lives her Catholic faith deeply and longs for others to discover the joy she has found. I was very impressed at how well she was able to convey the truths of the faith with great depth in highly readable language. This is an excellent book to give to a convert who wants to intensify her faith life, a cradle Catholic who needs help understanding the Church’s teachings on women, or to a mom who needs help keeping the faith while managing her work/life balance.

More endorsements here. More reviews and interviews here.

Order a signed copy before December 15, and get your book before Christmas!

(Sale price: $12! Plus $5.95 for a padded envelope via Priority US Mail. Limit 3 books per envelope, US Mail delivery only.)

PLACE AN ORDER.

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Need something cheaper and faster? Get your e-book here.

To St Anthony, with love

To St Anthony, with love

For some ten happy years (1985-1994) I was a parishioner at St Anthony’s Church in beautiful Rocky Point, New York. It was a place where my husband and I began our family and raised little ones amidst a burgeoning beach community in a church with a wonderful crew of (mostly) Italian-Amercan priests who loved Jesus, People, and Pasta, in that order. I learned to love St Anthony under their kind tutelage, (along with his many affectionate nicknames of San Antonio, “Tony”, St Anthony of Padua, and St Antonio of  Lisbon).

St Anthony is the saint who finds what is lost to us… from lost earrings and diamonds, to lost faith and bearings. Dear St Anthony come around, something is lost and needs to be found…

You see, when I was first a stay-at-home Mom, I was more than a little bit lost in the role. I had a rough transition into motherhood, particularly in yielding my professional life to the privilege of staying at home to raise my children. But Jesus used those years to introduce me to his Mother in a powerful way through the nurturing community of women he sent into my life in those days. So I have always had a special place in my heart for St Anthony ever since those early mothering years when I finally “found” being a Mom was just about the greatest thing that might ever happen to me.

Fast forward to today and imagine my joy in getting an invitation from the Pilgrim Center of Hope to come to San Antonio to speak at the Catholic Women’s Conference last weekend. It was not lost on me that this was St Anthony’s turf, nor that I was being asked to speak about the mission portion of my book… that of spiritual and physical motherhood. God has a sense of humor, does he not?

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It was a wonderful few days, notwithstanding my being stranded en route by weather-related delays in Houston, and missing the opportunity to pray at the basilica dedicated to St Therese of Lisieux at a pre-conference event. But eventually, my intrepid “angel” guide, Ivanna Warnken, picked me up and delivered me to the hotel (as she would all weekend long), I was able to catch up with Anastasia Northrop and take her out for a drink in thanksgiving for her support of my book.

The next day I was happy to re-connect with local San Antonio pals Angela and Dan Sealana at a delightful lunch on the Riverwalk. Angela was an early reader of my book, (and I think she was largely responsible for bringing it to the attention of the conference committee, for which I’m grateful.)

Later on, Angela gave this lovely talk Friday night that set the tone for conference — helping women connect with Jesus in a deeper way through his Eucharistic presence. Her love for Christ, together with her poise and story-weaving won the hearts of her listeners. She writes about her experience over at her blog, Inspired Angela.

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To Texas with love and boots!

Angela also helped me get ready for my talk, by producing a short get-’em-on-their-feet video that introduced my talk to the 1800+ women in the room… to the tune of Chris Cagle’s “Let There Be Cowgirls”… She did a great job taking the first two minutes of the song that captured these words…

On that very first day, the Lord sat down
And saw fit to say, “Let there be light!”
So He could tell the day time from the night
And then he spoke again,
Felt the wind come rolling in
Smelled the rain
It soaked everything

And then the mountains rose up,
Across the Great Plains
And all the angels up in Heaven started singing,
“All it’s missing is a pretty thing”

Let there be cowgirls for every cowboy
Make them strong as any man, Lordy
Something you can’t tame,
She’s a mustang
The heartbeat of the heartland
She’s got a drawl, ya’ll,
Yeah, she’s the salt of the earth that rocks my world.
Let there be cowgirls, come on.

Yes, this was taking a little creative license with the Genesis story, (and this was the first time I’ve used country music to introduce my themes from Genesis 1 in a talk) regarding our dignity of being made in the image of God… but, hey, I was in Texas! These women, I hoped, would “get it” — and they did — and I enjoyed packing my boots and leather fringe vest for the talk! These Texas women are definitely the salt of the earth! 

The video was a fun way to connect and bring up the energy a notch late in the day when I spoke, because the talk, in essence, was to drive home the point that we women have got to get our boots on when it comes to the bodacious mission of being spiritual and physical mothers…. that its up to us to drive a new feminism that supports a culture of life.

The remaining highlights for me, besides meeting the conference go-ers after the morning Mass, was being part of the fine team assembled by Mary Jane Fox (co-founder of the Pilgrim Center of Hope) and Nan Balfour (Conference coordinator and speaker). It was a joy to be alongside veteran authors Heather King and Dawn Eden, both whom I’ve interviewed at Among Women as I’ve long admired their work. (AW 140 with Dawn; AW with Heather.) Both moved audiences with their powerful testimonies and insightful nurturing in the areas of recovery and healing from some of our deepest hurts.

This was the first time I had met or heard Fr Nathan Cromly who preached a great lesson on Mary.  I hope that videos of these talks might be made available to the general public in time.

Dinner with our Catholic Women’s Conference speakers and committee. Speakers shown here (L-R) Dawn Eden, Nan Balfour, me, Fr. Nathan Cromly, Pat Gohn, and Heather King.

Dinner with our Catholic Women’s Conference speakers and committee. Speakers shown here (L-R) Dawn Eden, Nan Balfour, me, Fr. Nathan Cromly, Pat Gohn, and Heather King. (Photo Courtesy of the Inspired Angela blog.)

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Also: Some thoughts on the conference experience from Heather King.

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San Antonio, pray for us!

The 7 Best Books for Women by Women (and one Priest) from 2012

The 7 Best Books for Women by Women (and one Priest) from 2012

(Okay, so that’s really an 8-book list.)

If you listen my podcast, Among Women, you know I have a passion for three things: first, to encourage women to grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ and their Catholic faith; second, to celebrate the beauty and genius of their womanhood; and third, to call women to serve others with love. With those three goals in mind, let me share with you my top picks for great reads from 2012, and the some of the podcasts that highlighted them. These books are grouped by the three aforementioned themes, and not ranked by priority or preference. They are ALL good, that’s why I’m sharing them.

(For the men reading this, you may enjoy these titles too, or give them to the women in your life! That book from Fr Gaitley, 33 days to Morning Glory, is for all, not just for women! Most especially, the books from Helen Alvare, Mary Eberstadt, and Colleen Carroll Campbell, have mass appeal as well.)

 

Books that build your faith:

 

He Speaks to You, by Sr Helena Burns, FSP (Pauline Books and Media) 41Bo2LdjiPL._AA160_

Though released in 2011, I didn’t catch this title until 2012. The publisher describes the book this way, and its spot on: “What is my purpose in life? How do I best utilize my gifts and talents? How does God call upon me as a young Catholic woman? Discerning your vocation can be difficult. But endowed with the spiritual guidance contained within this daily discernment book and Jesus as your lifelong coach, you’ll be on your way to self-discovery rooted in faith.”

So, with that said, JESUS is the “He” in the book title. This is a great book for women in their 20s and 30s… but even though I’m no where near that age category anymore,  I loved, loved this book… for its page-a-day wit and wisdom, and its great suggestions for daily prayer and Christian action. I think it could also be a good fit for women in high school.

This is a book to pray with; it’s a faith-builder for sure. Check it out. Give it as a gift.

Listen to the author — the energetic Sr Helena Burns, who has a spitfire faith-and-media blog named “Hell Burns” — chat with me on Among Women 143.

 

33 Days to Morning Glory, by Fr Michael Gaitley MIC (Marian Press) 51SKa-8TITL._AA160_

Though released late in 2011, this book didn’t catch fire until this past year, so like Sr Helena’s book, I’m including it. This book is a four and a half week retreat for your soul. What I love about it is that it is an updating of the tried-and-true Consecration to Jesus through Mary that I’ve been doing for many years. So if you’re ready to entrust yourself to Mary, and become her daughter in a meaningful way, or you want to increase your devotion to the one who is most blessed among women, here’s a good book to help.

(Through the years, I’ve privately used the formula found here by St. Louis de Montfort. Some people have mixed reactions to it, since its a bit “old school” in its language and approach to the daily prayers. I still like it, but that’s me. Blessed John Paul II recommended it, so that was enough for me to trust its efficacy.) However, I also like this new book on Marian consecration and let me tell you why.

I’m grateful for Fr Gaitley’s approach, because I think many more people will consecrate their lives in this way, using this book, with its updated language and friendly sensibilities as a spiritual guide. What’s more, Fr Gaitley introduces Montfort’s method essentially, but then incorporates wisdom from other modern Marian-devoted saints, (beyond the 18th century “classic” notes of St. Louis de Montfort), thus widening and deepening the wisdom pool that he draws from. It’s a beautiful, easy-to-read result. Besides Montfort, Gaitley also explains the Mariology of St. Maximilian Kolbe, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, and Blessed John Paul II.

You can do the consecration using this book on your own, or with a small group. I enjoyed doing it with a small group last Lent, and will renew my consecration later this year, either privately or corporately.

Finally, and this is worth noting: This book does not stand alone; it is part of a new parish-based initiative known as HAPP (Hearts Afire Parish Program) that you can look into.

So go to it. I’m here for conversation on this subject, if you choose to take on the 33 days.

Books that capture the feminine genius, as applied to women’s issues:

 

Breaking Through, edited by Helen Alvare. (Our Sunday Visitor) 41i1YszbbuL._AA160_

For years, I’ve been reading articles and insightful commentary from Helen Alvare on the sexual politics in our culture, law, religion, and family life. Most recently, in light of the controversy surrounding the HHS mandate in relation to Obamacare, she became the co-author of an open letter on women and religious freedom that has thus far attracted over 37,000 women’s signatures, including my own. (See womenspeakforthemselves.com). Breaking Through, grew out of that effort, and contains a series of essays from nine women who take on the myths and media messages that often malign Catholic women today, or that tries to squeeze women into a one-size-fits-all caricature. Topics include:

    • Navigating dating and sexpectations
    • Feminism, freedom and contraception
    • Children versus a “better me”
    • Being Catholic in light of the sexual abuse scandal
    • Faith, psychology and same-sex attraction

 

Adam and Eve and the Pill: Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolutionby Mary Eberstadt (Ignatius Press) 41IXPzjMADL._SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_

This book has one of my favorite titles of recent memory. But besides its pithy headline, this book has excellent social, religious, and political commentary on its subject matter, which is, what the sexual revolution hath wrought. Critically and intellectually, this is a tour de force, not to mention it is superbly written and researched. In light of the present testimony presented, Eberstadt asks probing questions, as she proceeds to answer them, such as: Is food the new sex? Is pornography the new tobacco?

This book stretched me and forced me to think deeply, as it gave me hope in light of the problems it examines. I agree with NRO Editor Kathryn Jean Lopez’ assessment that Eberstadt’s book “is a treasure and a resource and a cultural catechesis.”

(I had hoped to interview Mary Ebestadt on Among Women last fall, but Hurricane Sandy pre-empted us. We’ll see if we can re-book the professor at a later date.)

 

My Sisters the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir, by Colleen Carroll Campbell (Image Books) 51jyrsFYD+L._AA160_

This well-told memoir from Campbell, a popular journalist and EWTN host, plus a former White House speech-writer, describes her quest for meaning in light of her Catholic faith and contemporary feminism. Her story is woven with wisdom from St. Teresa of Avila, St. Faustina Kowalska, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

When I was reading this book, I felt like I was reading about my younger sisters and younger friends, who like me, have waded through much of cultural feminism’s promises and been found wanting.*

Campbell is a masterful writer, and given all the lives of the saints that I’ve profiled over the years on Among Women, you know that I appreciate when someone integrates their saintly wisdom with care and modern application. As for the writing craft, this is probably the most well-written book on this list.

Books that serve others with love:

 

After Miscarriage: A Catholic Woman’s Companion to Healing and Hope, by Karen Edmisten (Servant Books) 41Vt+aDDqrL._SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_

When something like one in four pregnancies can result in miscarriage, you know this is a sad event in the lives of many women. There is an amazing amount of comfort packed into this little book of 120 pages. Stories, theology, prayers, comfort aids… just good, solid help and a come-alongside attitude to soothe the hurts on multiple levels that accompany miscarriage. Every Catholic family should have this book as a resource. Give it to your parish priests or your parish library. This kind of love-in-action book needs wide distribution.

I highly recommend my two-part conversation with Karen Edmisten about this book. Part one is on Among Women 129, and part two is on Among Women 130. 

 

My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saintsby Dawn Eden (Ave Maria Press) 51G1xpQt1RL._AA160_

Many women, and countless listeners of Among Women, have suffered from sexual abuse and trauma. This podcast featuring my interview with Dawn Eden was in the top three downloads of Among Women in 2012. That alone tells me this book is a needed resource. Of course, I give the author props for utilizing the lives of the saints as source material, but the book is that and more. Eden tells of her own path to recovery as she shares her conversion to Catholicism and through it, her on-going healing from sexual trauma, thanks to the graces of the sacraments and the wisdom of the Faith. I won’t say this is an easy read, given the emotionally-tender content, but it is accessible and practical. Listen to Dawn Eden’s visit on Among Women 140.

 

The Catholic Girl’s Survival Guide for the Single Years: The Nuts and Bolts of Staying Sane and Happy While Waiting for Mr. Right,

by Emily Stimpson (Emmaus Road Publishing) 416bhJ+7DWL._AA160_

This common-sense title says it all. With passion, intelligence, wit, and beauty, Emily Stimpson – who also writes for numerous Catholic publications and websites – puts it all together with prayer, excellent facility with theology of the body and the feminine genius in particular, and profound honesty and care for her reader. (Yes, this little book touches all three categories of this blog post.) Stimpson tackles a variety of topics with nerve and verve: vocation, dating, sex, finances, work, depression, and more. You’ll enjoy her candor and stories on Among Women 144.

Note: If you choose to purchase these books through the links provided above, a small portion of your purchase will benefit the ministry of SQPN.

*(If you choose to read my book in the coming year, you’ll see what I mean. I concur with many of Campbell’s conclusions.)