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

June 30, 2010

June 30th

The year is halfway over!!!! Have we done (or begun) what we've resolved to do in 2011?

June 29, 2010

"Lady" Gaga

Even the name is confusing. A lady? Seemingly far from it. Gaga? A reference to baby language or men's ogling eyes? Just what does this 23-year-old think of herself? And is America really paying attention?

In the piece that I shared with the Magdalene sisters, several points have emerged that I think are worth thinking about as modern, Catholic women (and by the way, Edith, the beats at the very least are helpful in cardio workouts, so I think you can cut yourself some slack).

1. In a postlapsarian world, women use sex (or at least their "wiles") to manipulate men to get what it is that they want. This sin is not new, ladies and gentlemen. Gaga has not invented it. Here I disagree with the author:

The genius of Gaga is to make it seem obvious — more so than even Madonna once did — that feminine sexuality is the perfect shucking knife. And Gaga is explicit in her insistence that, since feminine sexuality is a social construct, anyone, even a man who’s willing to buck gender norms, can wield it.

What is rather shocking to me, though, is the explicit, grandiose, and very "in-your-face" manner in which Lady Gaga is using her sexuality (and oftentimes a violent sexuality) to assert power, self-expression, and liberation from any cultural stereotypes of a woman. I think we have arrived at a place where even her actions are not as shocking to us as they should be. We are becoming comatose in the face of such wild sexual escapades. What will happen when our children think these images are normal to see and experience? What will happen if men (even good, Catholic ones) continue to expect rather extreme behavior in the bedroom to be turned on? What will happen when my young, female students think it is normal to hum, "I want your horror/I want your disease/I want your everything as long as it's free" at a younger and younger age?

2. A Catholic feminist must know that Simone de Beauvoir does not offer the answer for the liberation of women from being objectified by men.

The goal of “The Second Sex” is to get women, and men, to crave freedom — social, political and psychological — more than the precarious kind of happiness that an unjust world intermittently begrudges to the people who play by its rules. Beauvoir warned that you can’t just will yourself to be free, that is, to abjure relentlessly the temptations to want only what the world wants you to want. For her the job of the philosopher, at least as much as the fiction writer, is to re-describe how things are in a way that competes with the status quo story and leaves us craving social justice and the truly wide berth for self-expression that only it can provide.

No, Nancy. Men aren't going to objectify women an less if we throw out a "age-old" norms of what it means to be a woman. I think lumping sexual gratification of men into the same category of other "gender norms" is a mistake. De Beauvoir not only "re-defines" femininity, but she says that femininity is not even a reality. However, there are some realities to femininity that can't be dismissed, or redefined, or relegated to social conventions. Instead, they should be celebrated by women. The gifts we have are actually very powerful, and can be used very powerfully for the good. The problem, as I see it, is that Simone de Beauvoir and Lady Gaga both fail to escape becoming objectified by men. Both are on a quest to move beyond stereotypes and to break from from what they find to be oppressing. The problem, though, is that what is oppressing them both is a failure to see their value precisely in their creation as women -- ladies, even. To be a lady is a privilege and a responsibility, and it requires more guts, more confidence, and more self-respect than what is being offered today by pop star or philosopher alike.

June 28, 2010

Today's Feminism: Grappling with Gaga or Going Gaga?

Well, I could never have anticipated the day that the Magdalene sisters would post about Lady Gaga. But Julian brought this interesting NYT piece on Lady Gaga's rather, well, bizarre brand of feminism to our attention. Now, I'll admit (even if I loathe to do so), two of her songs have grown on me. In some bizarre way, I feel that I can relate to her song "Bad Romance" given my past experience, which was not a good one. And I love dancing to her "Telephone" in my Zumba class (which, by the way, I have found extremely therapeutic - Zumba, that is, not Lady Gaga). Yes, be shocked. I, Edith Magdalene, just admitted to liking two Lady Gaga songs and even relating to one of them. Trust me, no one is more shocked about that than yours truly. And at the same time, I am utterly repulsed by her vagrant sexuality, horrific outfits, and slight meglomania. (Oh, wait. Can meglomania be slight? Perhaps nothing ending in 'mania' can ever be slight...)

And yet, Tufts Professor Nancy Bauer and many others (not least of all, Lady Gaga herself) consider her a cultural icon, taking modern feminism to whole new level. Just consider the most recent edition of Rolling Stone magazine. Lady Gaga is scantily clad, with the most prominent piece of clothing she dons being a bra with two, um, assault rifles attached. What kind of message of female empowerment does something like that send? It makes those bra burning feminist of old look peaceful. I've also read that Lady Gaga is working with scientist to acquire corpses to put on state at a show next year. That makes Madonna look quite tame.

In her NYT article, Nancy Bauer uses Gaga's wackiness to describe the feminism of today's young women, who are perhaps suffering from the "Lady Gaga Syndrome". On one hand, today's young women have everything they could ever want. According to Bauer, they excel academically and fill the highest level university classes. On the other hand, after class, these same girls go home, put on the scantiest outfit they can find and go out for a night of sexual exploits (where they are usually the ones who are exploited). As Bauer puts it: "Is this an expression of . . . strength as a woman or an exercise in self-objectification?" Here's what else she has to say:
Lady Gaga idealizes this way of being in the world. But real young women, who, as has been well documented, are pressured to make themselves into boy toys at younger and younger ages, feel torn. They tell themselves a Gaga-esque story about what they’re doing. When they’re on their knees in front of a worked-up guy they just met at a party, they genuinely do feel powerful — sadistic, even. After all, though they don’t stand up and walk away, they in principle could. But the morning after, students routinely tell me, they are vulnerable to what I’ve come to call the “hook-up hangover.” They’ll see the guy in the quad and cringe. Or they’ll find themselves wishing in vain for more — if not for a prince (or a vampire, maybe) to sweep them off their feet, at least for the guy actually to have programmed their number into his cell phone the night before. When the text doesn’t come, it’s off to the next party.

What’s going on here? Women of my generation — I have a Gaga-savvy daughter home for the summer from her first year of college — have been scratching our heads. When we hear our daughters tell us that in between taking A.P. Statistics and fronting your own band you may be expected to perform a few oral sexual feats, we can’t believe it. Some critics of “hook-up culture” have suggested, more or less moralistically, that the problem is that all this casual sex is going to mess with girls’ heads. But whatever you think of casual sex, it’s not new. What’s mind-boggling is how girls are able to understand engaging in it, especially when it’s unidirectional, as a form of power.
I think even Carrie Bradshaw cannot compete with this. And it is really, really, scary. Even Bauer, who's quite liberal, sees that today's young women are consciously choosing exploitation and self-objectification as a form of female empowerment. The Lady Gaga Syndrome is even more destructive than Carrie Bradshaw et al. Thoughts?

June 26, 2010

How About Dessert?

What would a summer party be without dessert? Here are some healthy options that still capture summer's sweetness!

Irene Burkart's Peach Surprise (taken from July 2010 issue of Real Simple magazine)


* 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
* pinch of kosher salt
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon pure almond or vanilla extract
* 2 large peaches, halved and pitted
* 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream


1. Heat oven to 450° F. Place a baking sheet in the freezer for at least 10 minutes.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and salt on medium until foamy. Increase speed to high. Gradually add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat until stiff and glossy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the almond extract.
3. Cut a thin slice from the round side of each peach half (to stabilize it) and place on the chilled baking sheet. Spoon the ice cream into the cavity of each peach half and mound the meringue on top, enclosing the ice cream.
4. Bake until the meringue is golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

What about popsicles? Summer is the best time to break out the fresh fruit and popsicle molds!

Always a classic, and a great alternative to over-sugared ice creams. And for a lady who is giving up sweets for a year (i.e. me), this is a nice, healthy treat. What are your favorite blends? I'm always looking!

Cantaloupe/Apricot Bars
Take ripe cantaloupe and apricots (without skin) and blend in a food processor until smooth. Place into popsicle mold and freeze. Then enjoy.

Mango/Raspberry Bars
Blend sweet manila mangos and raspberries in food processor until smooth. Place into popsicle mold and freeze. Enjoy :-)

June 25, 2010

How About Some Homemade Hummus?

Right now is an off time for me. I’m getting through an emotional mess, looking for job, trying to focus on my school work, and doing LOTS of cooking and working out. So far, those have been great therapy. My mother has a subscription to a great magazine called Clean Eating with all kinds of great recipes, and right now there are especially great ideas for summer fruits and veggies. And since summer time is the perfect time for parties, I am spending my off time honing my culinary skills for the time when I do get to have some dinner parties.

One of my favorite items to serve is hummus. I have been trying diligently to perfect a homemade hummus recipe for a few years now. I think I might just have it! The secret: using fresh, not canned chick peas! I wanted to try fresh because most canned beans are saturated in sodium, which is not good for the heart and makes your body bloat. Once I met a personal trainer who cautioned me to stay away from what he called “sodium bombs,” and trust me, I notice a difference.

Here is what I do – it is a bit time consuming, but that creamy, delicious, nutty hummus is always worth it to me! I take 1 CUP of fresh chick peas – the hard ones in the bag and I soak them over night in 3 CUPS of water. (N.B., for every 1 cup chick peas, use 3 cups water). In the morning, I just take the sauce pan and bring the water to a boil, then simmer on low heat for one hour and make sure your saucepan is covered.

Next, I drain the water and cool the chick peas. Because I have the time, I usually cool mine in the fridge over night, but you don’t have to do that. But do let them cool down. NOW, here’s the kicker.

Next step: Place the chick peas in a bowl and cover with water. There is a tough skin around these little beans that needs to come off in order to get the smooth, creamy consistency. The moisture from the water makes the skin slide right off the chick peas. Peel them. Trust me – it makes all the difference. It will take a while, so if you can, sanction someone to help you.

When you finish peeling them, place your peeled chick peas into your food processor and add two tablespoons TAHINI, the juice of 2 SMALL LEMONS (fresh is a much better flavor), a nice drizzle of EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL, 1 or 2 cloves of GARLIC (two if you like a strong garlic flavor, one if you don’t), a little salt, and a little paprika and pulse on your processor to get the desired consistency.

Once you are finished, taste a bit. If you want more garlic, add more. Too much garlic? Add more lemon juice. More tahini, go ahead! Tahini gives it a rich, nutty flavor. The great thing about hummus is that you can add whatever amount of flavor you like. When I serve it, I like to make a little dip in the middle, drizzle with olive oil, paprika, black olives, and feta cheese. Hummus serves great with cucumbers from your garden or luscious colored bell peppers from the farmers market. And a great salty option for us gluten free Magdalenes is blue corn chips –
or better yet – make your own by slicing up some corn tortillas and throwing them in your oven for a while. Perfect party platter! Enjoy! Store leftovers in the fridge – hummus keeps great.

June 24, 2010

The Nativity of St. John the Baptist

Today is the Feast of the Birth of St. John the Baptist. this is one of the oldest and most popular feasts of the calendar, partially because it falls so close to the solstice, and therefore "baptized" old Pagan solstice festivities. (It is also, the day that is farthest away in the calendar from Christmas Eve--back when the Christian calendar was the calendar that defines our seasons, this clearly had some significance which is now lost.) St. John is the patron of half a billion things, including: baptisms, epilepsy, the Diocese of Charleston South Carolina, and of Portland, Maine, half the towns in Italy, Jordan (obviously), Quebec & all of French Canada, tailors (this cracks me up), and convulsive children.

In French Canada, the feast is a day for drunken revelry. The streets of the finest walled city in North America, Quebec, smell like stale beer for a good week following the all night parades and parties. Like most manifestations of religion in French Canada, the day has become a holiday of nationalism, rather than a feast of a great Saint.

In Barcelona, according to our friend, the Courtier, it is also a day--or rather night--of great festivity--and a lot of fire. One of the common customs of La Nit de Sant Joan is to build a fire in the streets, and throw slips of paper with their sins written on them into the flames.

Well, I shan't be doing that, though I do foresee some sparklers in my near future. Instead, I think I'll head across the street for confession and Mass this afternoon. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

June 23, 2010

The More We Lose, the More We Gain

With God, the more we seem to lose, the more we gain. The more He takes materially, the more he gives spiritually. We love Him partly for His gifts. If they are no longer visible we come to love Him for Himself alone. It is by seeming to deprive us of those gifts that He paves the way for His most precious one of all, because it embraces everything. Souls, once they have totally surrendered themselves to His action, see everything that happens to them in a favorable light.

Jean-Pierre de Caussade, The Sacrament of the Present Moment/Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence

June 22, 2010

St. Thomas More + Meg

Today is the feast of one of my very favorite saints and martyrs: St. Thomas More. I wanted to post today this letter to his daughter Meg, with whom he had a remarkable relationship. Meg's husband, Will Roper, ended up writing the first biography of More. This letter was written while More was in Prison

Although I know well, Margaret, that because of my past wickedness I deserve to be abandoned by God, I cannot but trust in his merciful goodness. His grace has strengthened me until now and made me content to lose goods, land, and life as well, rather than to swear against my conscience. God's grace has given the king a gracious frame of mind toward me, so that as yet he has taken from me nothing but my liberty. In doing this His Majesty has done me such great good with respect to spiritual profit that I trust that among all the great benefits he has heaped so abundantly upon me I count my imprisonment the very greatest. I cannot, therefore, mistrust the grace of God.

By the merits of his bitter passion joined to mine and far surpassing in merit for me all that I can suffer myself, his bounteous goodness shall release me from the pains of purgatory and shall increase my reward in heaven besides.

I will not mistrust him, Meg, though I shall feel myself weakening and on the verge of being overcome with fear. I shall remember how Saint Peter at a blast of wind began to sink because of his lack of faith, and I shall do as he did: call upon Christ and pray to him for help. And then I trust he shall place his holy hand on me and in the stormy seas hold me up from drowning.

And finally, Margaret, I know this well: that without my fault he will not let me be lost. I shall, therefore, with good hope commit myself wholly to him. And if he permits me to perish for my faults, then I shall serve as praise for his justice. But in good faith, Meg, I trust that his tender pity shall keep my poor soul safe and make me commend his mercy.

And, therefore, my own good daughter, do not let you mind be troubled over anything that shall happen to me in this world. Nothing can come but what God wills. And I am very sure that whatever that be, however bad it may seem, it shall indeed be the best.

June 21, 2010

On the Legitimacy of Sex

No, this isn't a Thomistic argument. It's a rant. So, consider yourself forewarned.

Last week I was up on campus picking up something from my classroom when I ran into a middle-aged colleague. We chatted about why we found ourselves inside the gates of the school and realized we were both recipients of grants to write lessons for the summer. After being asked, I divulged that I had been given a grant to write two major units on the Theology of the Body for the sophomore and senior religion classes. The teacher was unfamiliar with what the TOB was, so I took the opportunity to *briefly* explain it as John Paul II's theology of what it means to be an embodied soul and how important the body and all of its actions, including sexual encounters and relationships, are as they have a baring on who we are and who we are becoming.

"So, you're still teaching that sex is only legitimate in marriage?" she said with a demeaning scowl.

I didn't know how to respond other than to get ticked. "Well, yes, I'm not sure why I wouldn't be teaching that at a Catholic school of this caliber. I'm also not sure that 'legitimate' is the best word choice though in explaining what the Church teaches." I wanted to walk away, but I stayed and defended the teaching a bit more, although I was met with even more eye-rolling, raised eyebrows, and a very real judgment in the air of being behind the times. I could just see the steam coming out of her eyes that yet another young person was repressed by the antiquated, oppressive Catholic Church.

Okay, maybe I'm embellishing. But I did feel judged. Legitimate? Do people have legitimate sex? What does that even mean? Are people around the world able to have sex outside of marriage? Why yes, I'm pretty convinced that people all over the globe are able to "legitimately" accomplish the deed. I'm also sure that it's legitimately pleasurable for them. And I'd even go as far to say that I *understand* that she is implying that sex is something good and communicates something between two people who love each other.

I should have responded, "Well, if you actually mean to say when you say "legitimate" is that sex is most sacramental, most an expression of the love between the persons of the Trinity when it's faithful, fruitful, exclusive, and total, then yes, it's only really legitimate in the sacrament of marriage."

Sometimes I think I should be presenting this material to my colleagues in addition to my students. A little seminar on the "legitimacy" of the Church's sexual theology couldn't hurt.

June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

A big THANK YOU to the fathers of Julian, Edith, and Agatha, whom we all love dearly. And thank you to our priestly fathers, our Holy Father, and our Heavenly Father!

Blessings to all!

June 17, 2010

The Streak of Bad First Dates Comes to an End

Well, it's official. You know how warehouses have chalkboards indicating how many days without an injury have gone by and then they need to start over after an accident happens? I have a mental board in my head of how many consecutive awkward first dates I've been on. And I can finally start over!

So first of all, I will never date anyone less than a MAN again. Last night I was shown what it is that I desire: a man who is fun, incredibly intelligent, settled in a career, well-educated, driven, passionate, solid in the faith, had a plan for the night down which was appropriate and well-executed, etc. After last night, anything less in dating would feel unsatisfying but also unnatural. I felt fully alive and treated like a lady the whole time. He made me feel interesting just by looking at me a certain way or asking pertinent follow-up questions to my stories. AND he quoted The Godfather I and II. AND was able to talk about the sports I'm interested in. AND hold challenging, witty debates. We talked for three hours without even glancing at our watches. Did I say he could quote The Godfather? I mean really, it was a good date.

I don't know if there were fireworks on his end, or my end for that matter, but I know that I recognized something which felt good, right, and true. Who knows. Maybe sometime in the future I'll be starting another mental chalkboard in this game of dating. All I know is that I'm happy today.

June 16, 2010

The Archives of Atrocious Celebrity Fashion

Why is Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes at the top of this post? Did you ever think you'd see the day we'd begin posting about those two? Well, here's why.

It's easy to get sucked into celebrity gossip. VERY easy. Luckily, I have willfully blinded myself to the popular celebrity gossip websites. I get my fill of celebrity gossip from the celebrity fashion blog Go Fug Yourself. The subtitle says it all: "Fugly is the new pretty."

Jess and Heather share daily the most horrendous and hilarious celebrity outfits. They are witty, well read, and have a near encyclopedic knowledge of pop-culture, which makes their commentary hilarious, and totally un-vacuous. It's quite a feat for a celebrity blog. Plus, you learn all sorts of awesome things about fashion. Case in point, yesterday's post on Maggie Gyllenhal (below) elicited these wise words:
In many respects, I feel like I could Photoshop a septuagenarian's head onto this and you'd be like, "Yeah, all right, looks feasible." Except that no septuagenarian worth her blue rinse would pair a slacks suit that painfully sensible with a shawl made out of an airplane napkin. Score another point for the older generation.

I laugh out loud daily at their commentary, bad puns, pop-culture references and nostalgia, and amazing ability to find the worst outfits. Get your celeb fix from this lovely duo. You won't be disappointed.

June 15, 2010

Date Night Dilemma


I'm going out on a date tomorrow night, but all I know is the following: I'm being picked up at my house at 7:30.

Does this mean dinner? If so, what is the dress code?

A friend recommended that I consider dressing "smart casual," as the British say. I think that she's right. But what if it's not dinner? I mean, what else could it be though, right? People in their twenties and thirties are usually hungry around that hour...

Also, not to stress too much, but if it is dinner, he doesn't know about my allergy to gluten. What if he's planning something nice that involves gluten? What do I say? Seriously, only me! :)

To Edith

Edith, your post's title only brought up memories of my childhood. Did anyone else's father play Warren Zevon's "Poor, Poor Pitiful Me" unceasingly on the stereo? I swear my childhood is unrepeatable...

It pains me to think of what you've had to endure for the past few months, but I don't think you should be expecting to be healed just yet. This was more than a breakup. Breakups on their own just absolutely stink (insert stronger word here). There is nothing like the ending of a relationship, especially one that you thought was heading in a serious direction (let alone "'til death do us part"). I assume by now the shock has worn off and the reality of moving in a completely new direction is in full effect. I would be scared, lonely, and feeling like I did not have a road map.

However, you do have a compass in this. The crucifix is your way out. Keep your eyes set on Christ on the Cross, even as the world spins madly on around you. If you trust, really really trust in the Lord, I think you will see great things happening in your life. He wants you to leap into His arms on that crucifix in the beginning of this next chapter of your life. You almost have to close your eyes, flinch, and jump. He is up there, waiting for you in your sorrow. Stay close to Him in His, and He will not fail you.

Unending prayers,

June 14, 2010

Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me

That seems to be my mantra these days, and readers, I AM SICK OF MELANCHOLY! I need more help! Ok, so please oblige me, readers. Just let me get it all out. I am home in the Chicago suburbs, which I find dismal, I wanted to be married to someone who turned out to be totally wrong and I still don't understand and I'm still not over it, I don't have any friends here to speak of save my family of course, it's always gray, I cannot find work, and I cannot find any motivation on my dissertation. I look at myself in the mirror and think, "This is not how I saw my life at this time." This morning, I stayed in bed until almost 10 AM simply because I COULD. Ok, so poor, poor, pitiful me. I'll let the world's smallest violin play my sad song.

I don't like to be the girl who always complains and is miserable and it does not do my temperament any justice. I am trying to get to the city to find a good, solid group of young Catholics (they have to exist, right?), but nothing seems to be coming avail. So I am taking dance classes, fitness classes, and I think I am going to take up sewing. And I cook a lot. But I need more. I need to be around people my age in my situation in life. Any suggestions? I promise I'll try not to be so melancholy, but it is still a struggle :-).

June 13, 2010

Pro-Life Women in Politics

Thank you, NYTimes, for your recent op-ed. Worth reading, readers.

June 11, 2010

Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary

I give myself and consecrate to the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ, my person and my life, my actions, pains and sufferings, so that I may be unwilling to make use of any part of my being other than to honor, love and glorify the Sacred Heart. This is my unchanging purpose, namely, to be all His, and to do all things for the love of Him, at the same time renouncing with all my heart whatever is displeasing to Him. I therefore take You, O Sacred heart, to be the only object of my love, the guardian of my life, my assurance of salvation, the remedy of my weakness and inconstancy, the atonement for all the faults of my life and my sure refuge at the hour of death.

Be then, O Heart of goodness, my justification before God the Father, and turn away from me the strokes of his righteous anger. O Heart of love, I put all my confidence in You, for I fear everything from my own wickedness and frailty, but I hope for all things from Your goodness and bounty.

Remove from me all that can displease You or resist Your holy will; let your pure love imprint Your image so deeply upon my heart, that I shall never be able to forget You or to be separated from You.

May I obtain from all Your loving kindness the grace of having my name written in Your Heart, for in You I desire to place all my happiness and glory, living and dying in bondage to You.

Prayer from St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, VHM

June 10, 2010

Thats "The One"

My best friend from college is getting married this fall. She is an incredibly low maintenance bride, and everyone is pitching in to help with this small, family centered wedding. Her future MIL is planning the reception, and I am designing the invitations, and her sister-in-law is giving flowers as a wedding gift, and all the bride has to do is nod "yes" or "no" to the hundreds of little decisions to be made in preparation for the wedding. (She's even letting us bridesmaids wear our own dresses!)

The one thing she cared about and had definite opinions on was finding a dress. She had been out scouting a bit, and had found a few dresses she liked, so she and I and another bridesmaid went shopping this last weekend to buy the dress.

This concept of "the dress" is hard. It is perhaps the most important piece of clothing you'll wear (certainly the most attention grabbing, even if it is simple). For a Christian who lives her life chastely and cares about the Sacrament, it is more than just an empty symbol too--it is white and pure and that means something.

But, on the other hand, it is just a dress.

At the shop, we looked at many gowns, all of which looked amazing on her, and none of which were right. They were mostly strapless, which she didn't want, and she was between sizes, which meant alterations, which brought the dresses out of her price range. Then, after looking at all these gowns, we pulled one off the rack. With a v-neck and empire waist and delicate embroidery, it was simple but graceful. And when she put the dress on, she looked so relieved, because it fit, it was modest, it was lovely, and it was on sale.

As I look at bridal magazines, I find that even in articles that talk about doing weddings on a budget, people are still will to drop several thousand dollars on a wedding dress--because the dress has such an aura around it. It's the one. But for people on a budget, the look of the dress is not everything. THE ONE happens to be one that fits, that is comfortable, and elegant and serves it's purpose (to make the bride look amazing), and is affordable and not stress inducing.

Her dress is not the most beautiful dress I've ever seen. It's not even the most beautiful dress she tried on. But is was "the one". Funny how that works.

June 9, 2010

Remembering Our Guardian Angels

In my present state of melancholy (which does not become me; it is not my normal temperament to be melancholy, but I feel like Eeyore nonetheless), I read an article that reminded me once again of the need to be joyful: I have a Guardian Angel with me always, to whom I can always turn. Just to remind people like me of this fact, Fr. Marcello Stanzione, an Italian priest, started a society to educate the faithful about our celestial guardians.

St. Padre Pio is known for being a great friend to his Guardian Angel, and in a letter to one of his friends, he writes:
Well, know that he is still powerful against Satan and his satellites; his charity has not diminished, nor will he ever fail in defending us. Develop the beautiful habit of always thinking of him; that near us is a celestial spirit, who, from the cradle to the tomb, does not leave us for an instant, guides us, protects us as a friend, a brother; will always be a consolation to us especially in our saddest moments.
God is good indeed, sometimes we just need a little reminder! Our Guardian Angels do just that!

June 8, 2010

Saying Goodbye

This morning I'll head to the commencement exercises at my school. Though last year was difficult to say goodbye to some students, this year strikes me as even more so. In my second year at this school, I was able to really immerse myself in the community, forging relationships with students that run deep. Though I am able to commend them to God out in the world in their future, a selfish part of me wants to keep them close by, not only to watch over them, but for my own sake! I really have learned a lot from their insights, and many of them show me a love that is really beautiful. I know, though, that I have more students to meet, and they have other teachers and professors to encounter. What a privilege to have been even a small part of their lives.

In an exciting note, she is our commencement speaker!

Off to get dressed in my best!

June 7, 2010

What is on Your Summer Bucket List?

Single ladies -- it's that time of year to make a mini-bucket list! And what better time to check things off than the summer months. Here's what is on my bucket list:

- Go to three concerts this summer. I LOVE music. And I love sharing the experience of music with other people. Agatha and I are going to one together. So now I just need to find two more :)

- Read fiction! I'm working on the Secret Life of Bees right now (got it at a booksale for 50 cents), but I also need to re-read Til We Have Faces for a book club. And I'd like to read Anna Karenina since my seniors read it for English. Not exactly beach reading, but I'd like to tie it into my lectures in the fall. Any other suggestions of great fiction?

- Go tubing or white-water rafting. It just seems like a summer thing to do.

- Visit this shrine.

- Perfect at least five new recipes this summer...not only meals but drinks, desserts, and appetizers.

What do YOU have in mind?

June 5, 2010

Babies, the Pill, and Infertility Response

Well, Edith, I think I like your theory. Now, I'm no medical doctor. My training is in theological ethics. But I find it really difficult to believe, even after only an undergraduate course in biology, that prolonged (probably around the time you're suggesting...ten years or so), use of the birth control pill wouldn't mess with one's fertility. Even if one stops taking the pill and so begins again to ovulate, it seems to me that it would take awhile for the body to bounce back to regulating itself. So, if my students at age 15 or 16 begin to use the pill, ten years later would mean that they are my age...

I'm also a little frightened at the "mini-pill" which suppresses ovulation and thickens cervical mucus (like the mainstream pill), but is taken for 12 weeks at a you have about 4 periods a year. Call me old-fashioned, but this seems really weird.

What I find most fascinating is the increased rate of infertility in men, possibly linked the "anti-androgen" elements of the pill that are released into water sources.

The question then is: what are we doing??? We are inhibiting our bodies' natural functions to prevent pregnancy, supplementing our bodies with hormones that we should not really need after we get off the pill to get pregnant, risking the fertility of men...all for what...license to have sex?

The most effective way to get from point A to point B is a straight line. Instead we are running circles in our own lives to figure out where we are going.

Babies, the Pill, and Infertility

I have a theory. A theory about birth control and infertility treatments. I cannot tell you how many women I know who have been on the pill for about 10+ years, recently got married, and have now decided to get off the pill and try for a baby. And they cannot get pregnant. Their brains have simply stopped telling their bodies to ovulate. That is SCARY. So, they go to an infertility doctor and get put on another pill just to get pregnant. I cannot say this is true for everyone, but my anecdotal evidence leads me to suspect that a little more (well ok A LOT more) research needs to be done to assess the effects of prolonged birth control use on womens' fertility. I have a hunch that the results will be devastating. Thoughts?

Photo here

June 4, 2010

Woman Warrior of the Month: St. Philomena

It is uncommon for me to choose a woman warrior from the ancients, but with St. Philomena, I could not resist! I picked up a CD about the life of St. Philomena at a Church in Chicago and it completely set me on FIRE! This young saint was virtually unknown until her remains were discovered in the catacombs in Rome in the 1800's. Immediately upon the discovery of these remains, miracle after miracle has been attributed to this powerful little saint's intercession. In fact, as I've learned, Philomena (meaning 'Daughter of Light) was canonized solely on the basis of the miracles attributed to her intercession.

The story of her life has been revealed through the personal revelation of religious in the early 1800's. According to the revelations, Philomena was the daughter of a Roman nobleman who converted to Christianity before Philomena was born. When the Emperor Diocletian saw how beautiful this young girl was, he immediately asked her father for her hand in exchange for a fantastic job position with a pretty hefty pay. Both of Philomena's parents plead with her to accept. But as we know, Diocletian was no friend to Christians. She refused, telling her parents: “My virginity, which I have vowed to God, comes before everything, before you, before my country. My kingdom is heaven.” This was a thirteen year old - out of the mouths of babes!

Diocletian tried everything - first he promised her all the riches she could want. When she still refused, he resorted to violence - he starved her and threw her in prison, scourged her as Christ was scourged, tried to drown her in the Tiber (an Angel of the Lord untied her chains), shot her with arrows that did not kill her, so he tried flaming arrows, which Angels averted back to the archers and finally beheaded her. If St. Philomena is not a woman warrior par excellence, then I don't who is!

Her intercession has been invoked for physical and spiritual healing and especially for healing in purity, as she was determined to remain pure. She is truly a saint for our times, as we are in dire need for models of purity. God always gives us what we need, and it is through His great Providence that He has made known this little saint to us in modern times. I encourage all of you to check out this site about her and get to know her - I know I am!

June 3, 2010

"The Horror, The Horror"

So reads one review of the Sex and the City 2, according to this NYT article. I admit it, readers. I saw the first movie. I never really did follow the series, but I did catch a few episodes here and there. I think the whole thing is a travesty and that Carrie Bradshaw et al. are emblematic of what is wrong with women today.

I won't see this one, but reading about it makes me want to - well - SCREAM! From a gay marriage scene to dirty one liners that are absolutely unrepeatable to the whiny, bored with Mr. Big Carrie Bradshaw - I cannot imagine anything more tortuous. When I see women running out to see this on opening night, I cannot help but wonder - what is wrong with us ladies???

June 2, 2010

More Comments on Our Brave Women

Yesterday I linked to an enlightening series on women in the military, probably highlighted this week because of Memorial Day. The articles are a bit old at this point, so I'm hoping they publish more soon. I find this topic particularly fascinating, primarily because I dearly love a young woman who is serving in the Army. I don't know anyone who has worked harder mentally, physically, or emotionally to accomplish all that she has in the past few years.

I don't really want this to turn into a conversation about whether or not women should be in the military, but rather a conversation about some of the meaty material that the NYT provides us with. The Magdalene Sisters have already begun to explore the role of women in the workplace, and what this series offers is a glance into an incredibily demanding place of employment and service.

I find the third video here really interesting. I can't imagine what it's like to have to prove oneself physically by having to push oneself to make the male requirements, which are undoubtedly strenuous for males. I also appreciate her insights into dealing with death, consoling a unit, and finding meaningful work after her tours of duty.

One thing that Sergeant Bumgarner speaks to is the constant fear and vulnerability of being a woman on base with men. I can imagine a general sense of fear in another country and I can obviously imagine fear when engaged in combat. But the fact that women fear their own brothers in uniform, and the fact that MOST cases of sexual assault go unreported, AND the fact that women (even the married ones) fear getting pregnant is really grostesque to me and very contrary to the thing which our armed services are asked to protect and fight for -- true human liberty. This seems to be the next big frontier for women in the military...freedom to be protected and as protect others.

June 1, 2010

Women at Arms

This looks like a really interesting series. Busy beginning of the week, but I'll post on it, I promise! Maybe we can read it together, sisters?

Related Posts with Thumbnails