Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

December 31, 2008

What are you doing New Years Eve?

As a single girl, I've never had a problem going to parties by myself, eating out by myself, celebrating the little luxuries of life by myself.  But New Years is an entirely new problem.  

In highschool we celebrated girls only--staying up all night, gabbing, sharing secrets, and drinking way too much sparkling cider.  Then going and greeting the sunrise in the frosty parks of suburbia.

In college, we were all home on break, so we just wanted to see all our friends.  Sometimes the boyfriend (now husband) came along, but it was hugs all around, and usually parents celebrating too (if they could stay up that late...)--there were no romantic connotations.

But the picture is decidedly more frustrating today.  New Years becomes the night you share with a special someone, and the first thing you do to ring in the new year, is...kiss?  When did that become the best tradition around?  And what are we supposed to do about it?  Here are some alternate New Years traditions we might want to consider:

Russians put gold in their champagne.  With the price of gold right now, perhaps finding a sugar daddy is in order.  

In the South, fix up a bowl of black eyed peas.  Or not... 

In Spain, you eat 12 grapes in 12 seconds.  Each grape represents a month of the year, and every sour grape promises of a month of bad luck.  Since grapes aren't in season right now, I think I'd rather let the bad luck surprise me.

Of course, we could just be American, watching Dick Clark on a three hour time delay, banging pots and pans, pretending that we don't care that we don't have someone special to share the moment with.  Yep.  Let's start the year feeling sorry for ourselves.    

I don't think so.  So you don't have a special someone you love?  Celebrate with EVERYONE you love: family and friends, young and old--the people who'll be with you for the rest of your lives.  Don't forget to take a moment for yourself, drinking a cool dry glass of champagne, and promising yourself you'll do this more often.  Drink more champagne?  That's a new year's resolution I KNOW I can keep.

(Print by Alphonse Mucha for Moet Chandon Champagne.) 

December 29, 2008

Sexual Complimentarity

 Michael Novak in First Things writes about the complimentarity of Man and Woman.  He traces the pagan obsession with sexual license (in which women were "merely instruments"), and contrasts that with the complimentarity of man and woman in Jewish/Biblical notions of spousal love.  Here's the money quote, towards the end:
It is worth noting that the fundamental energy of the family, in this vision, is spousal love.  This love is not a sentimental feeling or a passionate desire, but a firm commitment to the good of the other.  Not "her good" as you wish it were, nor even the good as she wishes it were, but her objective good as identified by reason.  Thus. the point of even sex id realistic love.  Not mutual self-indulgense, but the growth in adulthood and virtuous living that raising a family entails.  (There is no point in getting married if you don't want to hear the truth about yourself--especially all those truths you don't really want to hear--from your spouse or your children.)  Those who live closely together come to shed their illusions about each other, and to love in each other the better self that each would like to become.  This is realistic love.

December 28, 2008

CFRs in the New York Times

On Christmas Eve the New York Times profiled the South Bronx community of CFRs who live in radical poverty, and serve the troubled neighborhoods of New York City.
"Early on, definitely it was the decision to live a life of chastity, not to get married, is the big hurdle to making a decision to enter this life," Father Rich said.  "As time goes on there's still a natural struggle that goes one with that, but also in some ways the vow of obedience becomes more difficult.  You try to surrender your plans, your time, where you are going to live...This is a radical investment in the afterlife," he added.
It's a beautiful story, and a wonderful witness.  There's also a video.

December 23, 2008

Teacher Footwear

Speaking of the perfect shoes, I would love to wear these to teach in. I've learned that when you can't win the girls over with Truth, you go for Aesthetics!

P.S. Does anyone ever have luck with ordering from Zappos? I can never really gauge if the size is going to fit!

December 22, 2008


Edith, great post.  I'm mulling over the Carrie Bradshaw thoughts (and thinking about styles of shoes), but I wanted to make sure that I commented on the final quote from Edith Stein, who is always so in tune with human nature.  I think that Elizabeth, cousin of the Blessed Virgin, embodies this desire for perfection in others.  So often we think of Mary at Christmas when we celebrate her "yes" to the Lord (as we rightfully should since all of salvation hangs in the balance!).  But I think that Elizabeth also teaches us what it means to be a woman and a follower of Christ.  She recognizes Mary no longer as a younger relative, but as the mother of her Redeemer.  She knows that she herself will give birth to the one who will announce the Good News.  She has the responsibility of rearing John who will proclaim the Incarnation and the Good News.  Elizabeth is a model of humility, foregoing jealousy, and the practice of domesticity.  We, like Elizabeth, should welcome the Virgin into our hearts as we welcome her Son under our own roof (in the Christmas Eucharist).  We, like Elizabeth, should prepare ourselves and those around us for the continual Incarnation of Christ.  We are daughters of God, adopted daughters of Mary, and sisters to Elizabeth.  Here is a basis of our womanhood, even if it still remains a mystery.  

December 15, 2008

So What Does it Mean to be a Woman?

Following in Julian's thoughts, I think she touches on some key questions that I frequently find myself asking. What am I supposed to be doing with my life? Where am I going? Will I ever get married? Why do I even care about men? The world tells me that I should be able to do it all on my own. I don't need a man-I don't need anyone other than myself, because I am a woman and women can accomplish the greatest of feats. Take some popular examples. I mean, just google Cosmo magazine, and see what comes up. It tells me that as a woman, I should be concerned with a few things. Primarily, myself and sex. I should be sexually satisfied at all times. Then, to achieve this goal, I should surround myself by make-up, beautiful (or scant) clothing, because for maximal sexual satifaction, I unfortunately need the use of another person, preferably male. Basically, I should emulate Carrie Bradshaw, and I will find happiness, right??

Well, I have to ask myself, is Carrie Bradshaw the woman par excellence? I find myself looking at that, asking why I would want to imitate it, and coming to the final question--so what does it mean to be a woman? I don't find any answers to my questions at all! Being a woman is so complicated!! I need to have the perfect job, the perfect man, the perfect shoes (clearly the perfect shoes), the perfect house, the perfect life. But somehow, I just don't find it. So what am I doing wrong?

That really is the purpose of our blog here -- we want to find our way. We want to find out the answers to these questions and we want to tell others about it and hear what others think! Much of our inspiration will come from the tremendous wealth of Christian witness. We know that there must be some way to fufill our vocation as women, and we are trying to figure out what that is. I will sign off with a quote that perhaps captures the spirit a little bit better than what I've written. It comes from Edith Stein (or Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, in her native German, Teresia Benedikta vom Kreuz). She writes, "The deepest feminine yearning is to achieve a loving union which, in its development, validates this maturation and simultaneously stimulates and furthers the desire for perfection in others."

December 9, 2008

Hippocratic, I mean, Hypocritical Oath

Doctors are supposed to be looking out for our health.  Doctors who are female are supposed to intuitively know our bodies, hormones, emotions, and well-being.   They are supposed to take an oath that says they are going to treat us as more than our diseases, more than mere biological matter.  Shouldn't they also treat us with respect? 

I have gone into two doctors' offices now in which I have dumbfounded the attending, as if I had this mind-blowing medical mystery that needed to be solved.  The disease?  Virginity.   "Really? Not yet?  You're in your mid-twenties! You should definitely get the HPV vaccine, because you'll probably start soon."  Or the condescending OBGYN: "Still not sexually active, Julian?"  

Is the concept of choosing one's virginity and safeguarding it so foreign that now one cannot even enter her doctor's office to ask for medical advice without being judged?  Checking "N/A" under the million questions about sexual activity on a medical form really shouldn't make me sweat profusely under the lights in the waiting room.  I should have the luxury of reading a magazine that will tell me how walking ten minutes a day will make me drop 20 lbs (see, it's a lose-lose situation, I guess.  It was easier when there were plastic blocks to play with at the pediatrician's office).  

I should be looked at by doctors as a healthy, well-formed, strong, and happy woman.  If virginity has become the disease, then I think more people should catch it.  

December 2, 2008

The Young and the Restless

Teaching at an all-girls' preparatory school. A place of angst, competition, loneliness, restlessness. 

And hope.

Everyday I ponder what it means to be a modern, Catholic woman, mostly from the viewpoint of an adolescent. I see what my students consider to be important: physical attractiveness (which often means a boyishly flat and thin figure), the pursuit of degrees from prestigious institutions, and some sense of control over their lives. For many, being a successful young woman includes holding their broken families together, exhibiting strength to come to school and equal fortitude  to face things at home or in the world beyond the gates of the campus. Everyday I feel for these young women, who teach me on a daily basis what it means to be a woman in the world (according to what they are told), and they wonder whether or not this picture that they have can hold it's own against the Christian understanding of feminity. So far I have learned that they are skeptical of the presentation of topics like sexual ethics, intimacy, and modesty, for no other reason than that they have been told that these are unattractive ways of living and have been convinced that their natural desires are for all things are the exact opposite of these.

 I no longer count  my successes by how many girls realize that abortion harms the mother as much as the child, or how many girls resign to try open themselves up to try virginity again.  As Agatha has reminded me,  if one girl can say that the Church's teachings on any of these things are appealing, attractive, and possible ways of living the happy life, then God's will has been done.  

Needless to say, some days seem more successful than others.  

The girls know they are seeking something.  And that, though they cannot recognize it, indicates that they are women on their way to God.    I pray that in their seeking they may soon find what they are truly looking for.  Or rather, whom they are looking for.  
Related Posts with Thumbnails