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    Proverbs 31: Feminine or Feminist?

    Proverbs 31: Feminine or Feminist? -- FemCatholic.com

    The other day, I started another rant while my husband listened. (It’s ok. He’s used it.) As with most of my rants, this one fell under the broad category of “why can’t everyone live their lives as I think they should.” And, as with most of my rants, he responded to this one with an amused smile.

    This particular rant, however, took me in a direction I didn’t expect.

    It started out as a complaint about the pressure that some Catholic women feel to conform to some sort of imagined “ideal” of domesticity.

    Why do women feel that they must good homemakers to be good wives?

    Why is all of the pressure on women to be the nurturers?

    Doesn’t this ideal overlook the truth that not all women are good at cooking and cleaning? What about men? Shouldn’t they help out with the domestic duties?

    On and on I went until I unveiled my secret weapon: Proverbs 31. (Let’s pause here and agree not to talk about the fact that I used the Bible as a weapon…)

    “I get so frustrated by women who try to become ‘Proverbs 31’ women. I mean, is anyone really like that? This ideal is just setting women up to fail! And what women with jobs? Listen to this!”

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    Modern Catholic Women, Talks

    A Letter to the Woman Wondering about Feminism

    A Letter to the Woman Wondering about Feminism -- FemCatholic.com

    In 1995, Pope John Paul II started a conversation.

    You’ve probably heard of it – his Letter to Women.

    Now, over twenty years later, Chloe Langr is continuing that conversation. Chloe runs the Letters to Women podcast, and she invited me to chat with her for the latest episode “A Letter to the Woman Wondering about Feminism.”

    A Letter to the Woman Wondering about Feminism -- podcast episode -- FemCatholic.com

    Here’s a few of the things we talked about in this episode:

    • Why feminism always resonated with me, wanting to be “part of the boys club,” and how it led me to start FemCatholic
    • Mythbusting on what it means to be a “good catholic woman”
    • Differences between modern secular feminists and catholic feminists – what modern feminists get right about equality, and the advantage catholic feminists have
    • Should you call yourself a feminist, or does “catholic” already cover everything?
    • Virginity and it’s history of empowering women
    • Being a new mom myself, I talk about why feminism needs to support moms in the culture and the workplace
    • NFP and birth control (from a feminist perspective, of course 😉)
    • Seeing woman’s body as a burden – even in marriage
    • What you need to know about how modern feminism has impacted men – and what to do about it
    • What I want to tell you if you disagree with church teaching

    Listen to our entire conversation on iTunes or online.

    ♦♦♦

    Keep chatting with me on Facebook Live! – this Tuesday, Sept. 26th @ 1pm CST

    I had SO much fun talking to Chloe about feminism, and now I want to talk with all of YOU!

    These are really important, and tough, topics. There’s a lot we need to discuss.

    Here’s how to join:

    1. Join the Facebook event.
    2. Before Tuesday, download the episode and listen to it.
    3. Tell me what resonated with you, and what rubbed you the wrong way. Send me your questions!

    Talk to you soon! 🙂

    — Samantha


    Samantha Povlock is the Founder + Creative Director of FemCatholic. You can learn more about her here.

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    Dear Edith

    Dear Edith Response #2 – Julie

    I'm not maternal: Catholic women respond -- FemCatholic.com

    Read the original question here.

    Dear anonymous,

    One of the beautiful revelations for me of reading St. John Paul II’s Letter to Women, was discovering the Catholic church upheld women working. Up unto then, I thought the only way to be a true woman was to be a SAHM. Being present in the workplace as a woman balances the workplace environment.

    God perhaps has withheld imparting the desire for biological maternity to spare you the agony of wanting something that is not yet attainable in your life because you are single. You can live what is called spiritual motherhood.

    Spiritual motherhood is a beautiful gift. I witnessed this in a profound way on a mission trip to Haiti. I was with a group of college students, priests, and consecrated women. We were ministering in the wound clinic. The wounds were severe and very painful. A consecrated woman knelt down at the feet of a woman with a severe toe wound. Very lovingly, gently and so Christ like she soothed the women as the consecrated debrided her foot – without pain meds. This consecrated woman was ministering Christ present in the Haitian woman. Such a profound beauty of spiritual motherhood. Also on the trip, I witnessed these consecrated women rock babies, feed babies, and lovingly hold them. Again, another way to care for others in our femininity in lieu of biological motherhood.

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    Modern Catholic Women, Talks

    Live Interview: My Story & Why I Started FemCatholic

    My Story: How Being a Feminist Brought Me Closer to God 25 min interview

    I started this blog to help women like myself.

    Women who may not have always felt like they fit within the Church, or fit the image of a “good Catholic woman.”

    Women who have been attracted to feminism, but who want to know how to reconcile it with their Catholic faith.

    Women who have a sense that the strength, power, and influence of women is untapped — both in the Church and in the world.

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    Church Documents, Resources

    The Vatican Document all about Women

    The Vatican Document All About Women. FemCatholic.com

    In 1988, Pope John Paul II published the Apostolic Letter Mulieris dignitatem, which means in Latin “On the Dignity and Vocation of Women.”

    Read it from the Vatican here.

    Or get this book version, which includes commentary.

    Some key points and thought-provoking quotes:

    • A woman, Mary, is at the center of human salvation because it was through her that Jesus came into the world
    • In her “fullness of grace” Mary signifies the fullness and perfection of what is feminine

    both man and woman are human beings to an equal degree, both are created in God’s image.”

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    Dear Edith

    Dear Edith Response #1 – Amanda

    Read the original question here.

    Dear Carey,

    Thank you for your question! To start, I think you are correct in that St. Paul’s teaching was related to the culture at that time. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a declaration in 1976 called Inter Insigniores, in which they state about the teachings of St. Paul regarding women,

     “. . .it must be noted that these ordinances, probably inspired by the customs of the period, concern scarcely more than disciplinary practices of minor importance, such as the obligation imposed upon women to wear a veil on their head (1 Cor 11:2-16); such requirements no longer have a normative value.”

    Since the 1970s, women are not expected to wear head coverings while in church (though the expectation remains for Mass in the Extraordinary Form), leaving it up to a woman’s personal choice. As it is a choice, I can only share why I choose to do so. There are variety of reasons, but they are all part of a desire to recognize my femininity before God by wearing a veil in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.

    One such reason is that, when I put on my veil upon entering a church, it is a concrete reminder that I am in the presence of God. This fosters a disposition that helps me pray and focus (helpful for someone who is as easily distracted as I am).

    I also wear a veil as a sign of submission to the will of God; however, for me, this is far more of an accountability measure than it is a sign of holiness. I continually struggle with surrendering my will to God’s, and wearing a veil helps me remember that I still have much growing to do in this area.

    Finally, the veil reminds me that it is a great blessing to be a woman, as our bodies are sacred vessels capable of carrying life (think of how the chalice which holds the Precious Blood is veiled before the consecration). This is one attribute that distinguishes us from men. As a woman, I have a special vocation to receive life and nourish it, whether that be through loving my friends, in my work with college students, or one day as a mother. All of that being said, the veil is certainly not necessary for women to focus at Mass, surrender their will to God’s, or embrace the gift of their femininity. There are plenty of holy women in my life who inspire me and happen to not wear veils. In the end, I wear a veil because I like wearing one for the reasons I mentioned, and I hope that any woman would feel free to wear one or not, as she chooses.


    Amanda is a Coloradan who recently relocated to the south. She works at a Catholic college and could talk for days about her love of Catholic education. She can usually be found at a local coffee shop or getting lost while exploring her new city.

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