Exploring the Feminine Genius with Saint Pope John Paul II

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How do you live out the feminine genius in your daily life as a Catholic woman?

This is the question that I ask every woman who comes on my podcast, and I love the diversity of the answers they give. Just like there’s no cookie-cutter “right” way to be a Catholic woman, there’s no one “right” way to live out the feminine genius.

But despite our different vocations and missions, Christi invites us all to use our talents as women to make the world a better place. That’s the feminine genius - an invitation to live a life of freedom.

One incredible champion of the feminine genius was Saint Pope John Paul II. He regularly wrote about the beauty of femininity and empowered women to make a difference in today’s culture. He challenged women to embrace their feminine genius and impact their families, friends, the Church, and the world.

Looking for inspiration and a little bit of instruction on how to live out the feminine genius? Here are ten inspiring quotes from Pope John Paul II about the dignity and vocation of women, and embracing the feminine genius in your daily life as a woman today!

1. “Thank you, every woman, for the simple fact of being a woman! Through the insight which is so much a part of your womanhood you enrich the world's understanding and help to make human relations more honest and authentic.” (Letter to Women)

2. “It can thus be said that women, by looking to Mary, find in her the secret of living their femininity with dignity and of achieving their own true advancement. In the light of Mary, the Church sees in the face of women the reflection of a beauty which mirrors the loftiest sentiments of which the human heart is capable: the self-offering totality of love; the strength that is capable of bearing the greatest sorrows; limitless fidelity and tireless devotion to work; the ability to combine penetrating intuition with words of support and encouragement.” (Redemptoris Mater)

3. “The Church gives thanks for all the manifestations of the feminine ‘genius’ which have appeared in the course of history, in the midst of all peoples and nations; she gives thanks for all the charisms which the Holy Spirit distributes to women in the history of the People of God, for all the victories which she owes to their faith, hope, and charity: she gives thanks for all the fruits of feminine holiness.” (Mulieris Dignitatem)

4. “Women will increasingly play a part in the solution of the serious problems of the future: leisure time, the quality of life, migration, social services, euthanasia, drugs, health care, the ecology, etc. In all these areas a greater presence of women in society will prove most valuable, for it will help to manifest the contradictions present when society is organized solely according to the criteria of efficiency and productivity, and it will force systems to be redesigned in a way which favors the processes of humanization which mark the civilization of love.” (Letter to Women)

5. “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.” (Mulieris Dignitatem)

6. “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.” (Letter to Women)

7. “Women have the right to insist that their dignity be respected. At the same time, they have the duty to work for the promotion of the dignity of all persons, men as well as women.” (XXVIII World Day for Peace)

8. “Necessary emphasis should be placed on the ’genius of women’, not only by considering great and famous women of the past or present, but also those ordinary women who reveal the gift of their womanhood by placing themselves at the service of others in their everyday lives. For in giving themselves to others each day women fulfill their deepest vocation.” (Letter to Women)

9. “From the beginning of Christ’s mission, women show to him and to his mystery a special sensitivity which is characteristic of their femininity. It must also be said that this is especially confirmed in the Paschal Mystery, not only at the Cross but also at the dawn of the Resurrection.” (Mulieris Dignitatem)

10. “A woman is strong because of her awareness of this entrusting, strong because of the fact that God “entrusts the human being to her,” always and in every way, even in the situations of social discrimination in which she may find herself. This awareness and this fundamental vocation speak to women of the dignity which they receive from God himself, and this makes them “strong” and strengthens their vocation.” (Mulieris Dignitatem)