Letter to Women – Week 8
Week Eight: Letter to Women
In the Holy Father’s own words:
In this vast domain of service, the Church’s two-thousand-year history, for all its historical conditioning, has truly experienced the “genius of woman”; from the heart of the Church there have emerged women of the highest calibre who have left an impressive and beneficial mark in history. I think of the great line of woman martyrs, saints and famous mystics. In a particular way I think of Saint Catherine of Siena and of Saint Teresa of Avila, whom Pope Paul VI of happy memory granted the title of Doctors of the Church. And how can we overlook the many women, inspired by faith, who were responsible for initiatives of extraordinary social importance, especially in serving the poorest of the poor? The life of the Church in the Third Millennium will certainly not be lacking in new and surprising manifestations of “the feminine genius.”
John Paul II affirms, if I may be so bold, the “new and surprising” apostolate of our Endow family! Only three years into the third millennium, Endow was born. I continue to be moved by the numerous Endow hosts, participants and followers. You are one of them. Thank you for being the incarnation of John Paul II’s prophecy noted above in his Letter to Women.
In reading and studying Chapter 8, I was struck by the fact that the Holy Father intentionally appointed women—both lay and religious—to a number of pontifical councils and academies including the International Theological Commission and the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences for the first time!
Emily Stimpson Chapman writes,“For John Paul II’s thoughtful, compassionate, and practical commitment to helping women, the UN’s Secretary-General Gertrude Mongella offered him public thanks, saying, ‘If everyone thought as he does, perhaps we wouldn’t need a women’s conference.’”
John Paul II’s reign was a huge step forward for the papacy, the Church, and also for the world. But there is still much work to be done in terms of promoting the theology of the feminine genius and witnessing that genius to the world. Our Lord communicated to us that the “harvest is abundant but the laborers are few.” (Matthew 9:37) But we also know because of St. Paul’s witness that though we have a diversity of gifts, as sisters rooted in Christ, we share the same Spirit! (1 Corinthians 12) Our unique feminine genius will look different from one woman to the next, but our hearts and minds are one. Let us continue to be a help and consolation to one another in friendship.
While we’re at it, please join us this Wednesday at the Pope Party! Our new Executive Director, Annette Bergeon, is excited to meet you and celebrate John Paul II with you! We also hope you will join us on November 14 for the Rhema Workshop for a spiritual recalibration before the new liturgical year. Finally, our Advent Book Club and Podcast Series will be on Joseph Ratzinger’s Advent homilies on What It Means to be a Christian. We look forward to seeing you at one or all of these events!
Pray on it: What has the Kingdom cost me? What has being a spiritual daughter demanded of me? Do I see myself as a spiritual mother? What is my vision for the future?