Living the feminine genius

Talks From the GIVEN 2016 Catholic Young Women’s Leadership Forum

There is nothing that we can do but love.

This past summer 300 women between the ages of 20 and 30 had the opportunity to attend GIVEN 2016, a 5-day conference during which participants focused on authentic femininity as expressed through three key themes:

  • receiving the gift you are
  • realizing the gifts you’ve been given
  • responding with the gift only you can give

So, if you are hearing about the forum after the fact, or if you heard about it in time, and were too old to apply to participate… organizers recorded and published the daily homilies and talks, so that we all may benefit. Following are just a few of the many great speakers.

The Feminine Genius – Dr Helen Alvare

Reclaiming the Public Square – Gloria Purvis
Giving counter-witness to the culture about what authentic femininity really is

What are you willing to risk to bring the Gospel Truth to the person in front of you?

Every young woman has been entrusted with a mission: to cultivate her own unique gifts and initiate positive change in the world through the love that is exclusively hers to give.
GIVEN 2016 Vision statement

The Temperament God Gave You – Laraine Bennet
“I used to think my husband was just like me, only bad.”

The Feminine Genius Unleashed in Education – Sister Amelia Hueller, OP
We are supposed to be in the process now of becoming more and more like God.

Reclaiming Beauty – Kara Eschbach
The media we consume affects the way we view ourselves and how we view other women.

How can we begin to see ourselves as God sees us?

Casting the Vision – Sister Mary Gabriel
God notices you. He waits for you and for your yes.

What do I desire? What do I think I need at this moment?
What does God desire here and now?

If you are tired of mainstream media junk and spin, visit givenforum.org to watch talks on Theology of Woman; Finding Balance in Life; Feminine Genius Unleased in the church, politics, and education; Living Motherhood; Entrusted with the environment, economic issues, and with the suffering of others.

The vocation of woman in its fullness changes everything forever.  The vocation of woman in its fullness ushers in a revolution of love that heals hearts and raises the dead to life.

Not afraid to let herself be loved.

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Trust in Him who is Virtue and Holiness

Feast of Saint Therese of Lisieux
The Little Flower’s Bold Confidence in God

I wasn’t too good at playing games, but I did love reading very much and would have spent my life at it. I had human angels, fortunately for me, to guide me in the choice of the books which, while being entertaining, nourished both my heart and my mind. And I was not to go beyond a certain time in my reading, which was the cause of great sacrifices to me as I had to interrupt my reading very often at the most enticing passage. This attraction for reading lasted until my entrance into Carmel. To state the number of books would be impossible, but never did God permit me to read a single one of them that was capable of doing me any harm. It is true that in reading certain tales of chivalry, I didn’t always understand the realities of life; but soon God made me feel that true glory is that which will last eternally, and to reach it, it isn’t necessary to perform striking works but to hide oneself and practice virtue in such a way that the left hand knows not what the right is doing.

When reading the accounts of the patriotic deeds of French heroines, especially the Venerable JOAN OF ARC, I had a great desire to imitate them; and it seemed I felt within me the same burning zeal with which they were animated, the same heavenly inspiration. Then I received a grace which I have always looked upon as one of the greatest in my life because at that age I wasn’t receiving the lights I’m now receiving when I am flooded with them. I considered that I was born for glory and when I searched out the means of attaining it, God inspired in me the sentiments I have just described. He made me understand my own glory would not be evident to the eyes of mortals, that it would consist of becoming a great saint! This desire would certainly appear daring if one were to consider how weak and imperfect I was, and how, after seven years in the religious life, I still am weak and imperfect. I always feel, however, the same bold confidence of becoming a great saint because I don’t count on my merits since I have none, but I trust in Him who is Virtue and Holiness. God alone, content with my weak efforts, will raise me to Himself and make me a saint, clothing me in His infinite merits. I didn’t think then that one had to suffer very much to reach sanctity, but God was not long in showing me this was so and in sending me trials I have already mentioned.

— Saint Therese of Lisieux, Story of a Soul, Manuscript A, Chapter IV

I have a say, I have a vote

And I will speak for unborn children, whose voices Planned Parenthood silences.

With Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards speaking at the Democratic National Convention last month, the Democratic Party has made clear that the pro-life voice is not welcome at the table. This time last year, Hillary Clinton likened us to domestic terrorists (CNN report or The Federalist or LifeSite News).

All of which makes the following videos from 2012 more relevant than ever.

Videos of the Day / Men Have a Say

Father John Hollowell Has a Say

Men have a say. And when men speak up and stand up fight for and protect women and children, women listen. On the other hand, women who degrade and want to eradicate men from the conversation are divisive, and simply wrong. Keep up with Father John Hollowell at On This Rock.

Cecile Richards Does Not Speak for Me

Before a baby dies, a heart must die. Before a heart dies, it must close. A heart that is unable to make a total gift of self is not open to life and the fruit of sexual expression, and so the mind attached to that heart seeks a solution, for how to not make a total gift of self, and the answer is birth control. Birth control and abortion are intricately linked and simply different parts of the journey in the culture of death.

Quotes of the Day / Join the Culture of Life

22. There are some things we must never do, as individuals or as a society, because they are always incompatible with love of God and neighbor. Such actions are so deeply flawed that they are always opposed to the authentic good of persons. These are called “intrinsically evil” actions. They must always be rejected and opposed and must never be supported or condoned. A prime example is the intentional taking of innocent human life, as in abortion and euthanasia. In our nation, “abortion and euthanasia have become preeminent threats to human dignity because they directly attack life itself, the most fundamental human good and the condition for all others” (Living the Gospel of Life, no. 5). It is a mistake with grave moral consequences to treat the destruction of innocent human life merely as a matter of individual choice. A legal system that violates the basic right to life on the grounds of choice is fundamentally flawed.

31.     We urge those Catholic officials who choose to depart from Church teaching on the inviolability of human life in their public life to consider the consequences for their own spiritual well being, as well as the scandal they risk by leading others into serious sin.  We call on them to reflect on the grave contradiction of assuming public roles and presenting themselves as credible Catholics when their actions on fundamental issues of human life are not in agreement with Church teaching.  No public official, especially one claiming to be a faithful and serious Catholic, can responsibly advocate for or actively support direct attacks on innocent human life.  …

32.     The Gospel of Life must be proclaimed, and human life defended, in all places and all times.  The arena for moral responsibility includes not only the halls of government, but the voting booth as well.   Laws that permit abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide are profoundly unjust, and we should work peacefully and tirelessly to oppose and change them.  Because they are unjust they cannot bind citizens in conscience, be supported, acquiesced in, or recognized as valid.  Our nation cannot countenance the continued existence in our society of such fundamental violations of human rights.

34. Catholics often face difficult choices about how to vote. This is why it is so important to vote according to a well-formed conscience that perceives the proper relationship among moral goods. A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who favors a policy promoting an intrinsically evil act, such as abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, deliberately subjecting workers or the poor to subhuman living conditions, redefining marriage in ways that violate its essential meaning, or racist behavior, if the voter’s intent is to support that position. In such cases, a Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil. At the same time, a voter should not use a candidate’s opposition to an intrinsic evil to justify indifference or inattentiveness to other important moral issues involving human life and dignity.

Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship (USCCB)

Your Life Matters

Your voice matters. Your vote matters.

 

God bless women and grant us peace

Pope Francis’ Prayer Intentions for May 2016

How appropriate that the Pope Francis’ prayer intentions for May, a month dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, would be for women and include the rosary.

Let us join our Holy Father in prayer:

  • Universal: respect for women
    That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed.
  • Evangelization: Holy Rosary
    That families, communities, and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelization and peace.

Male and female he created them (Genesis 1:27). Both made in the image and likeness of God and with equal dignity. Destined to be different and complementary. This union with “the other” who is unlike oneself symbolizes the union God, Creator, pure spirit, desires to have with us, humanity, his creation, which he found good, which he loves.

May men and women, especially spouses, experience God’s peace. And may the peace between spouses spread to their children, among extended families, into neighborhoods and communities, across the state and the country, until God’s peace fills the world.

Peace.

Love lays down her life

Quote of the Day

I ask you to love me with the same love with which I love you. But for me you cannot do this, for I loved you without being loved. Whatever love you have for me, you owe me, so you love me not gratuitously, but out of duty, while I love you not out of duty, but gratuitously. So you cannot give me the kind of love I ask of you. This is why I have put you among your neighbors, so that you can do for them what you cannot do for me—that is, love them without any concern for thanks and without looking for any profit for yourself. And whatever you do for them, I will consider done for me.

— Saint Catherine, The Dialogue (a conversation between the Eternal Father and a soul)

Scripture of the Day: John 15:12–17

Jesus said to his disciples:
“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another.”

Saint of the Day: Catherine of Siena

Italian, b. 1347, d. 1380, canonized 1461

Saint Catherine laid down her life in response to God’s love for her. After a mystical vision at age 6, the girl turned to a life of prayer and solitude. At 7, she made a private vow of perpetual virginity. As she matured, Catherine’s parents began to prepare her for marriage, but she resisted to the point of cutting her hair and relinquishing adornments. While she never officially took the religious vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, she lived them perfectly. Catherine became a Third Order Dominican and remained at home, where her life was dedicated to penance and works of mercy. She tended the sick, including those dying of bubonic plague. Her strong foundation of prayer strengthened her vocation as spiritual guide, which led to her involvement of the more worldly side of church affairs and politics. Having the courage to speak the truth to popes and kings, Catherine played a role in bringing the seat of the papacy back to Rome from Avignon, France.

In 1970  Pope John Paul II named Saint Catherine, who was unschooled, except by the Lord in prayer, a Doctor of the Church.

The soul, who is lifted by a very great and yearning desire for the honor of God and the salvation of souls, begins by exercising herself, for a certain space of time, in the ordinary virtues, remaining in the cell of self-knowledge, in order to know better the goodness of God towards her. This she does because knowledge must precede love, and only when she has attained love, can she strive to follow and to clothe herself with the truth.

But, in no way, does the creature receive such a taste of the truth, or so brilliant a light therefrom, as by means of humble and continuous prayer, founded on knowledge of herself and of God; because prayer, exercising her in the above way, unites with God the soul that follows the footprints of Christ Crucified, and thus, by desire and affection, and union of love, makes her another Himself. Christ would seem to have meant this, when He said: To him who will love Me and will observe My commandment, will I manifest Myself; and he shall be one thing with Me and I with him. In several places we find similar words, by which we can see that it is, indeed, through the effect of love, that the soul becomes another Himself.

— Saint Catherine, The Dialogue, Prologue

Writings of Saint Catherine

 

Pray With and For Our Little Sisters

Tomorrow the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case of Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell. The justices will decide if the government can force a group of nuns who provide care for the elderly poor to include contraceptives and abortifacients in their health plan. If the Little Sisters lose their case they will be forced to violate their religious beliefs or pay $70 million in fines per year.

Let us surround both the Little Sisters and our Supreme Court justices with prayer, and pray for the continuation of religious freedom in America and around the world.

Who are the Little Sisters of the Poor?

What is religious freedom?

Who is already exempt from the “HHS mandate”?

Mandate Exemptions.png

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