“What Does it mean to Empower Women?”

“The woman’s soul is fashioned as a shelter in which other souls may unfold.”

~ St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Pope John Paul II once described women’s unique capabilities as “feminine genius”.  In his beautiful “Letter to Women” written from the Vatican in 1995 before he addressed the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, he went on to describe women as “having a particular and special sensitivity to the human person”.

Further he said,A woman is strong because of the fact that God has entrusted the human being to her. It is this awareness of this entrusting that makes her strong.

From the Vatican, 29 June 1995, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul.

What a beautifully true sentiment. Women are strong. Women are resilient. Women are capable and always have been. The modern women do not seem to comprehend her own worth. Her own value and capacity for fulfillment and achievement. It is there. And has been.

“I do not wish to give (women) a first place, still less a second one- but the complete freedom to take their true place, whatever it may be.” ~ Elizabeth Blackwell

Pioneers of women’s rights knew it and fought for it. They shine a light to the world about what women could accomplish and should be recognized as. Fully functioning equals. Integral, valuable, resilient and full of promise.

It seems today a lot of what is churned out in the name of feminism is contrived, stony, and intolerant. Independence is pushed at the cost of connection. Self-sufficiency at the cost of nurturing. Toughness is encouraged as a replacement for tenderness. To terminate a child held in the womb is decreed a right.

No! This is a serious distortion on womanhood, and we all suffer as a result.

Again in the words of Blessed John Paul II, “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. — Blessed John Paul II Redemptoris Mater (46)

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