Modern Catholic Women, Other Resources

    Catcalls: A Catholic Response

    Catcalls: A Catholic Response --

    Far too many of us have been there.

    You are walking in a park, or perhaps huffing and puffing and sweating while on a run, when someone crudely comments on your body or hits on you. Classic catcall.

    Your may respond like:

    Catcalls: A Catholic Response

    Or if, like me, your feisty side takes over, you may be like

    Catcalls: A Catholic Response

    Campaigns against street harassment aren’t new. The scope of this global issue is such that Marlène Schiappa, the French junior minister for gender equality, recently spoke of a new law that, if passed, would impose fines for catcalling. A trendy topic among feminists, women and men are speaking out against catcalls and proposing different ways for how women can respond in the moment.

    Which makes me wonder – as Catholic women, what might be our response?

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    Books, Mary

    Mary’s Freedom: The Hidden Power of the First Disciple

    Mary's Freedom: The Hidden Power of the First Disciple --

    On a scale of 1 to 10—with 1 being totally passive and 10 being absolutely active—where would you rank Mary’s performance in the Annunciation narrative? On the one hand, the angel takes the initiative, does most of the talking, and seems to decide when the encounter begins and ends. Mary didn’t come up with this plan, she doesn’t negotiate any of the terms, and something is done to her. Sure seems like sheer passivity. On the other hand, she does say “yes”, so maybe there’s some traces of activity here, though perhaps not as much as one would like.

    In truth, no matter where you’d place Mary between 1 and 10, you’d be wrong. You’d be wrong because the light of Christian discipleship does not bend to that spectrum and Mary herself is the revelation of a Christian disciple in all her brilliance.

    Is there passivity? Yes, and it’s total. Is there activity? Yes, and it’s total, too. Mary is a paradox because she embodies what we might call “willed-passivity” or “active-obedience”, which disposes her to harmony with divine freedom rather than what we otherwise want to see, which is something like “freedom” as autonomy, maybe even rebellion. But especially in the Gospel of Luke, the explicit definition of a disciple is the one “who hears the word of God and acts on it” (Luke 8:21; 11:28), and before Luke ever writes these words, he paints a portrait of the complete disciple in Jesus’s mother. Later he shows how the transformation into discipleship follows the pattern first established in her.

    Mary is a paradox because she embodies what we might call “willed-passivity” or “active-obedience”, which disposes her to harmony with divine freedom rather than what we otherwise want to see, which is something like “freedom” as autonomy, maybe even rebellion.

    How do we learn what true freedom is in Mary, the paradigmatic Christian disciple? By paying attention to how she listened and how she acted, focusing mostly on the Annunciation narrative.

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    Modern Catholic Women

    Being a feminist is being the woman God made you to be


    Type “feminist” into Google Images. Who do you see? My search resulted in a lot of pants-wearing, short-haired, women flexing their muscles or wearing a t-shirt with some feminist slogan on it and looking tough.

    What is most striking about this woman? She is not what society would consider “feminine”—she is not gentle, she does not have shiny hair blowing in the breeze, and she is definitely not wearing a sundress.

    Why is the representation of feminist so…specific?

    It’s fair to say that a lot of women who are attracted to the feminist movement are attracted exactly because they are tired of society’s definition of “feminine.” They aren’t satisfied staying at home with their kids, they would rather be out playing football than cooking the Thanksgiving dinner, and they find men more relatable than many women.

    But, what about the women who genuinely enjoy baking? Or like taking that time in the morning to curl their hair? Or would much rather stay at home with their children than work a nine to five? And what about all those women (most of us, I imagine) who fall somewhere in between? Where do we fit in the feminist movement?

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    Other Resources

    When Women Have Power: A Spotlight on Fast Fashion (cont.)

    When Women have Power: A Spotlight on Fast Fashion (cont.) --

    But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth.” -1 John 3:17-18

    In my last post, I shared my thoughts on my role as a consumer, especially in regards to my choices in clothing and in view of the human rights abuses in the fashion industry.

    We as women hold enormous purchasing power and influence amongst our families and friends.  Who does most of the shopping for clothes, shoes, and accessories?  We do!  We outfit ourselves, our children, and sometimes even our significant others.

    We can use this collective influence to do manifold good for the oft-destitute women who make our clothing.

    We can use this collective influence to do manifold good.

    But how?  

    The global fashion industry is vast, and the players are many.

    I will briefly outline a few of the complexities, but I offer the caveat that I claim no expertise here.  I’m just a concerned Catholic on a mission to figure out how to shop for my family without supporting an industry that exploits other families.  

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    Modern Catholic Women

    Surviving the Waiting Season: 6 Stories that will help

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

    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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    How a Feminist Poem Changed the Way I Understand Advent

    How a Feminist Poem Changed the way I understand Advent --

    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 --

    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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