"It is thus my hope, dear sisters, that you will reflect carefully on what it means to speak of the "genius of women", not only in order to be able to see in this phrase a specific part of God's plan which needs to be accepted and appreciated, but also in order to let this genius be more fully expressed in the life of society as a whole, as well as in the life of the Church." (Saint Pope John Paul II, Letter to Women, 1995).
What is the feminine genius?
The phrase "feminine genius" was first used by Saint Pope John Paul II to appreciate and emphasize the unique gifts given to women. John Paul II writes, "The moral and spiritual strength of a woman is joined to her awareness that God entrusts the human being to her in a special way. Of course, God entrusts every human being to each and every other human being. But this entrusting concerns women in a special way—precisely by reason of their femininity—and this in a particular way determines their vocation."
John Paul II's words echo the original plan that God had in mind at the beginning of creation, what he calls "original man". Men and women weren't created to compete against one another for the top spot, but rather, were called to complement each other. Because of their inherent masculinity and femininity, men and women express the dimensions of what it means to be human differently. But together, they harmoniously show the world what it means to be human - they reveal the nuptial meaning of the human body.
A woman's feminine genius is unique and essential to society and to the church. But in today's culture, there is debate and confusion over what our roles are as men and women. We question if men are the same as women, if one or the other is inferior, and what each person's place is in the life of the church and today's society.
Although there are many various qualities and characteristics to the feminine genius, the four mane aspects of the feminine genius are receptivity, sensitivity, generosity, and maternity.
How do you live out the feminine genius?
Each woman is called to live out the feminine genius uniquely in her own everyday life. For some, the feminine genius will be lived out in the role as a wife, or as a mother. For others, they will be called to give life through spiritual maternity through relationships with others. But regardless of each woman's vocation, each woman possess the feminine genius. Each woman has something unique and beautiful to offer the world, and the church.
How does this blog series work?
The beauty of the feminine genius is that it looks different in every one of our lives. To find out how women I know and admire live out the aspects of the feminine genius in their lives, I asked four women to write on each of the four aspects of the Feminine Genius. Every Monday, a different blogger will be reflecting about a different part of the Feminine Genius. I'd love to introduce you to them and their blogs!
Meet the Writers!
Sarah is a young Catholic woman who tries to live out the words of St Irenaeus that "the glory of God is a (wo)man fully alive." Her love for mountains and books takes a back seat only to her love for Jesus. Her passions involve sharing her faith, stories, and adventures with those she loves.
November 13 - Sensitivity - Rachel Washington from Hail Marry
Rachel is the co-founder of Hail Marry, and a contributing writer and co-host on FIAT: Faith in All Things. When she got the opportunity to start the blog with her best friend, Kristi, she didn't hesitate to jump in. She loves being married and has spent the past two years of her life with her husband. She strives to honor him everyday with her heart, words, and the way that she represents herself.
November 20 - Generosity - Bethany Swanson from Strengthen My Heart
Bethany is a newlywed, expecting mother and married to her love, William. She's an Oregonian at heart, living in sunny California and learning how to live without much rain. She shares reflections on her blog about living out the faith and hopes to strengthen your heart through beauty and truth.
November 27 - Maternity - Kathy Clubb from The Freedom Project
Kathy is involved in the prolife movement in Victoria, Australia. Based in Melbourne, she is at the center of a legal challenge to her state's bubble-zone laws, after being arrested in 2016 for offering help to a couple outside an abortion facility. Kathy is a mother of 13 and grandmother of 7.
Read along with us!
If you're like me and have been wondering about the Feminine Genius and how to live out your life uniquely as a Catholic woman, then please read along with us during this series! You can join us by using the hashtag #FeminineGenius on social media. If you find that something strikes you in a blog post,
Along with learning about how these four amazing women live out the feminine genius, we'll also be meeting unique Catholic artisans who are sponsoring giveaways. The giveaways will be featured at the end of every post in the following month. I can't wait to introduce you to all of these artisans and authors.
It's my prayer that this series will help us grow in an appreciation of the beauty that God has created in women. In Mulieris Dignitatem, Saint John Paul II wrote, "Holy women are an incarnation of the feminine ideal; they are also a model for all Christians." Let's strive for sanctity together!
Saint Pope John Paul II, Pray for Us!