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December 2017

    Modern Catholic Women

    Surviving the Waiting Season: 6 Stories that will help

    Surviving the Waiting Season: 6 Stories by Catholic Women that will help -- FemCatholic.com

    1) Waiting on a job change

    My season of waiting started at the beginning of this year. My company was struggling financially. We started seeing some changes: cuts in benefits, attrition, spending freezes.

    I began praying to God asking what I should do. He told me to wait until the fall.

    At first, it was easy to wait: I enjoy my job, love my company, and have a fantastic manager. As the year progressed and worse announcements were made, doubt grew and I started looking for new jobs.

    Though logically, seeking a new job seemed like the right choice, I felt uneasy. It went beyond dissatisfaction with the available jobs or frustration when I was outright rejected for jobs I was qualified for; something was unsettling me.

    After (finally) really listening to God, I realized I just needed to trust Him and wait. I stopped applying for jobs and turned down interviews. The logical part of me was panicking, but I knew this was the right thing to do.

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    Mary

    How a Feminist Poem Changed the Way I Understand Advent

    How a Feminist Poem Changed the way I understand Advent -- FemCatholic.com

    This is a post about Advent, about Mary, and about how the beauty of language can change what we think we know.

    But before I get into it, there are few things you need to know about me:

    1) I’m an English professor, and for most of my college and professional life, I kept that pretty separate from my faith life. It’s not that I thought my career and my faith were inconsistent with each other – just that there didn’t seem to be much overlap. I remember a conversation I had with a friend who is a theology professor in which I expressed jealousy that his work with students could potentially aid in their salvation. I feared that there was a lack of significance in my own work.

    As I grew more in both my faith and my career, however, I started to see overlap. I began to notice how great literature, even literature that is not explicitly religious, almost always contains aspects of truth, beauty, and goodness, and I started to notice the prevalence of stories of redemption and grace, even in the work of authors who seemed anti-religious in their work. I started to think about how the beauty of art can’t help but lead us to God.

    the beauty of art can’t help but lead us to God.

     I’ve had a less-than-enthusiastic relationship with Mary for most of my faith life. For a long, long time, I just couldn’t get into the passive, meek, mild woman I understood her to be. I couldn’t get excited about the rosary and couldn’t get past my sense that only old, conservative, traditional Catholics could connect with her.

    3) I’m kind of an Advent junkie. Whenever people ask me what my favorite season or holiday is, I say something nice and expected, like Autumn or Easter or Thanksgiving. But, secretly, it’s Advent all the way. I love the quiet expectation, the stepping back, the way the dimmer lights and quieter music reflect the shorter days and hibernation of winter. I love the wreath and the candles and “O come, O come, Emmanuel.”

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    Books, Modern Catholic Women

    7 Boss Catholic Women Biographies That Will Inspire You

    7 Boss Catholic Women Biographies that will Inspire You -- FemCatholic.com

    1. Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader’s Eye-Opening Journey across the Life Line

    If you’ve already heard of her, Abby Johnson’s story can sound almost like a fairy-tale conversion: Pro-choice  Abortion clinic worker becomes a Catholic Pro-Life Leader. Classic. But that story didn’t happen overnight; it unfolded moment by moment, in Abby’s very real, very human life. Unplanned takes you along for the ride, through the tension, the uncertainty, and the encounters that in hindsight, form a cohesive story, much like many of our own lives.

    If you’re Pro-Life, a Feminist, or both – this book is one you need to read.

    You can get the book here.

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    Modern Catholic Women

    The Surprisingly Catholic Feminism of Wonder Woman

    The Surprisingly Catholic Feminism of Wonder Woman -- FemCatholic.com

    Warning: Some Wonder Woman movie spoilers below.

    I know I’m a bit late to the game. A lot of the hype around Wonder Woman seems to have died down. But the mark of a good story is that it endures. It’s not just fun and new, but it’s also compelling because it speaks truths to us. It draws you back again and again, and it’s always relevant.

    Just a little background and recap before I dive right in: Diana, princess and warrior of the Amazon women, has been training (and dreaming) for the day when she would fight Ares, the god of war. Ares has made it his mission to corrupt mankind, sowing discord and hatred. One day, an American soldier named Steve Trevor essentially crashlands off the coast of her home, bringing news of the Great War (World War I) that has been raging for the past several years. Diana realizes that this Great War must be the work of Ares, and she sets off with Steve, intent on defeating Ares once and for all.

    Now, Diana has been raised by women her whole life. Not only that, she had never even met a man until Steve shows up. So when he brings her to London, to the war, it’s quite a culture shock for her – and not just because the clothing is different, or because she’s never tried ice cream before, or because people don’t carry swords. She is thrown into a society that is dominated by men. Dominated politically, yes, but in so many other subtle ways that even the most self-aware feminists are still trying to discern.

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    Mary

    The feminine strength of Mary, Mother of God

    Hail Mary, Badass Woman -- FemCatholic.comHail Mary, Badass Woman -- FemCatholic.com

    Confession time: Marian devotion has never come especially easy for me. I fall asleep during the Rosary and get the feast days mixed up.  It’s not that I don’t love our sweet Mama. I just find it hard to relate to her. None of the women in my family really reflect the meek and mild Marian ideal of popular devotions, hymns and literature. Instead, I come from a long line of farmers and teachers: Holy women, no doubt, but less “gentle Mother, peaceful dove” and more “mother butchering chickens in the yard.” We drive tractors, play softball, drink beer, read books, and rule over countless classrooms and tiny houses full of wild children. Of one of my pioneer ancestors, it was said: “She rode a horse well, could yoke and handle a double team of oxen … and could swing a two-bitted axe with telling effect … she is said to have helped her dogs drag down a deer.”

    Even so, this past October, the Month of the Holy Rosary, I resolved to pray the Rosary more often. Daily, if I could manage it. I wasn’t even looking forward to it. It’s just something I was convicted to do for my own good, like eating more vegetables or going to bed at a decent time. But it took only three days of reciting Mysteries before I was smacked over the head with a whopping dose of grace and an important spiritual insight.

    The Blessed Mother was tough.

    Meek, but mighty.

    Feminine and formidable.

    In short, a badass.

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    Modern Catholic Women

    Overcoming Comparison when really I was craving Connection

    Overcoming competition when really I was craving connection -- FemCatholic.com

    It’s a cold, gray morning and I’ve just put the baby down for his nap. I’m sitting in my favorite chair in the sunroom watching the rain fall and sipping the cup of coffee I’ve been thinking about since I woke up two hours ago. It’s quiet and peaceful, and I think for a moment about opening up my bible and praying. But before I know it, I’ve got my phone in hand as I scroll through my Instagram feed, curious about what I’ve missed since last night. This is the story of so many mornings, and although I hate to admit it, I’ve wasted far too many nap times in the last 7 months.

    I am a 25 year-old stay-at-home mom living on a quiet 2 acre lot in the suburbs. Our sweet son arrived less than a year into our marriage and turned our world upside down (as new babies have a way of doing).  Most of my close friends are unmarried and without kids, working normal 9-to-5 jobs and going out on the weekends; and although I graduated from college with them just two years ago, I feel more like a decade removed. I can’t remember the last time I went out to dinner with my girlfriends, or spent the afternoon in a cozy coffee shop with a good book. Despite that, however, I am living the life I always wanted as a young wife and mother, blazing a new trail that I am learning to navigate day by day. I chose a clear path right out of college that is transforming my heart as I am constantly refined by love. But, though I love my particular vocation, my life at 25 is not “the norm.”

    For me, feeling connected to the “outside world” and staying in the know is important. I want to keep up with my friends who are living entirely different lifestyles than me. I want to be engaged in social discussions and aware of cultural trends and patterns. I want to feel connected to my peers who are living different vocations just as I want to feel connected to my few friends who are also young mothers.

    In my experience, social media can often be that bridge. It feels relevant, current, new. It can make me feel less isolated and provides a level of interaction with other people that I can appreciate as someone who is chained to her house most of the day for consistent nap times—which, by the way, often means 5+ hours of alone time each day (a gift and a cross).

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