"I hate how the Church doesn't recognize the beauty or value of women...just because we are women doesn't mean we can't do as good a job as men in the Church AND in the world."
When I over heard this conversation (it's a conversation I have heard many a time) a part of my heart sank in sadness for these sweet gals who had no idea of the beautiful teachings of the Church as to the value, dignity, and worth of women.
In our quest as women to prove that we are just as capable as men, I believe we have lost some of the beauty and the uniqueness that we have as women--our "Feminine Genius" as St. Pope John Paul II coined it. When the Feministic movement came, while there were some things that absolutely needed changed in the culture for women to have an 'equality' aspect, the pendulum swung a little too far. Men and women are different and that is AWESOME. We have different strengths, different weaknesses, different things that we naturally orient to. Differences are not bad. Differences are good, they can be complimentary. Women have a particularly unique, beautiful, and irreplaceable role to play in both the Church and the world!
One of the things I love about our Catholic Faith is how the Holy Spirit always brings to the forefront those particular saints that are needed for that particular time and season in the world.
In my mind, Edith Stein or St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross who's feast day we celebrate on August 9th is just one of those saints.
Edith Stein was a strong woman with a deep faith and a keen insight into the human person. This brilliant woman was well versed in Theology, Philosophy, Phenomenology, and pretty much every other 'ology' you can come up with. She was a teacher who later converted to Catholicism and became a Carmelite Sister and eventually died in the gas chambers in Auschwitz.
But the work she left, her writings, played a vital role in some of Pope John Paul II's teachings on the Theology of the body. She spoke of how vital the womans' role is-- in the home, in the Church, and in the world.
"A woman's soul is fashioned as a shelter in which other souls may unfold." - Edith Stein
As women there is a place in our physical bodies to house new life, little souls; they are nurtured and loved there. And just as our physical bodies can nurture little ones to life, even more so can our hearts and souls house others souls and help bring them to life. As women, we are specifically gifted with the ability to open up our souls which imparts purpose and meaning to the lives of others.
There is so much we could talk about in regards to Edith Stein's writings, as well as Theology of the Body, and the Feminine Genius. But for now, it will suffice to say...
Women! You have a worth, a dignity, and a value that is UNIQUE to YOU. You are a gift in WHO you are and you are needed in the home, in the Church, and in the World!
Let us ask for the intercession of Edith Stein, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, to help us become the women God is calling us to be and to know deep in our hearts the truth and fullness of what it means to be Woman.