I’ve been absent from this blog for awhile. As many of you know, I struggled with infertility for years and was blessed with a miracle baby boy just six months ago. As I started to think about what direction to take this blog in, this is the question that lit the fire within me
What does it mean to be an empowered woman?
In the months since I published my last post, mainstream media here in America has had a lot to say on the topic. With the election of Donald Trump as President, so-called champions of women’s rights and feminists have come out in full force to demonstrate the importance of women and to empower women to make a difference and be all they can be.
Or at least that is the message they claim to send. But in reality, many of these groups seem to think an empowered woman is only one who thinks like them. After all, only one who supports all women’s rights, including the rights to birth control and abortion, could truly be empowered as a woman. And so conservative organizations and the Catholic Church in particular are seen to be “anti-woman.” A Church refusing to allow women priests, opposing birth control and abortion must be opposed to the success of women, right? That crazy Catholic Church just wants all the women to stay home and keep house and have babies and never contribute anything more to society…at least this is the message that seems to prevail. But let’s really think about what empowerment means.
Empowerment, according to Oxford Dictionary, is “authority or power given to someone to do something.” By this definition, it seems the most empowered women would be those receiving their power and authority from the highest source. Whoever has the highest authority themselves would be able to bestow the greatest authority onto another to do great things.
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Matthew 28:18
Of course our Lord and Savior holds the highest authority! So those who act according to His will are certainly empowered to do great things. The Catholic Church, the church that Christ Himself founded, believes this to be true also. In fact, those who follow the will of the Lord and live extraordinary lives of faithfulness are recognized by being pronounced as Saints. And sainthood is not limited to men! In fact, many of the most influential Saints in the Church were women! Catholic women who were empowered by the Holy Spirit, who used the gifts given to them by Jesus Christ who holds all authority, and who accomplished great things. Things like becoming scholars, fighting battles, founding hospitals and schools, caring for immigrants, going to places no one else would to care for the poor, the sick, and the dying. They were women who risked their lives to do the will of the Lord. Women who perhaps received little to no recognition in the secular world for their greatness, but who were instead honored by the Catholic Church. Certainly doesn’t seem very anti-woman to me! The Church shows us through these amazing women that to be empowered means embracing the gifts God has given us to do the things He calls us to. Women have special and unique gifts that allow us to do incredible things.
Over the next several weeks, I’d like to highlight just a few of these inspiring women. Women who live thousands of years ago, and women from our own lifetime. Women who are mothers, teachers, scholars, and more. Women from various backgrounds and walks of life who had one thing in common; they were empowered Catholic women.
Follow along with the ECW (Empowered Catholic Women) series weekly to learn more about amazing women of faith including…
Blessed Virgin Mary
St. Frances Xavier Cabrini
St. Joan of Arc
St. Teresa of Avila
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Edith Stein (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross)