Below is a talk by Father Ripperger on Our Lady of Sorrows. Please listen and share with all.
Start Praying the Rosary daily people! Queen of the most Holy Rosary Pray for Us!
The Rosary Saved a College Girl from a Serial Killer Ted Bundy…
“Realize the power in your hand with the Rosary, for in your hands you hold the power of God. If you do not recognize the Rosary, can you expect to be recognized by My Son? How much can you expect? Why do you hide My Rosary? It was with a Mother’s loving heart that I chose to give you these pearls of Heaven that you reject. “Woe to all dedicated who seek to remove these from the little ones’ hands, for their punishment will be metered in accordance to it! “Why has sophisticated man cast aside these tokens of My love? Those who remain true to My Rosary will not be touched by the fires. Gather these treasures, My children, for the time will come that you will not find them on the counters of your stores.” – Our Lady of the Roses, October 6, 1970
veneremurcernui.wordpress.com reported on March 11, 2014:
This is a powerful but disturbing story regarding the power of the Rosary. It regards notorious Florida serial killer Ted Bundy. Some people are so far lost in sin they become dominated by evil, but Our Lord, through Our Lady, has power over them:
At 3: 00 am on January 15 Bundy entered the Chi Omega sorority house at Florida State University and murdered two girls before heading off to search for more victims. When he entered a third girl’s room with a bat for a weapon, he saw a rosary clutched in her hand, dropped the bat and fled. Later the girl told authorities that before she left for college she had promised her grandmother that she would pray the rosary every night for protection, even if she fell asleep in the process. This is what she had done that night, and she was still holding the rosary when the murderer entered her room. Bundy later confessed to over thirty murders.Father Joseph M. Esper says in his book With Mary to Jesus, “Ironically, when Ted Bundy was on death row, awaiting execution for his crimes, he asked Monsignor Kerr to serve as a spiritual counselor, and the priest took the opportunity to ask about that terrible night. Bundy explained that when he entered the girl’s room, he had fully intended on murdering her; some mysterious power was preventing him.” Father Esper adds, “And not only does it (the rosary) aid our own spiritual growth — it also undermines the kingdom of Satan. The famous Vatican exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth testified, ‘One day a colleague of mine heard the devil say during an exorcism, “Every Hail Mary is like a blow on my head. If Christians knew how powerful the Rosary was, it would be my end.”‘ Pray the rosary daily for protection and to defeat the forces of Satan!
We a re-blogging an article written by Amy Brooks on the importance of wearing the Miraculous Medal. Be sure you have yours on today!
5 Reasons I Wear a Miraculous Medal – And Why You Should Try It Too
The Mirauculous Medal is a special medal design based on mystical visions of St. Catherine Labouré in the 19th century. It’s a popular devotional item and is associated with miracles and conversions.
1) I am being reminded daily to “listen to my Mother”
As a mommy of a three and a half year old boy, I’ve been hearing the word “no” A LOT.
Me: “Xavier, go to the potty” Xavier: No Me: “Don’t say no to me, just do it” Xavier: “No!”.
This happens countless times a day. As you can imagine, this can be extremely frustrating. I wonder if Mary gets frustrated with us.
Almost 200 years ago Our Blessed Mother instructed Saint Catherine Laboure to “have a medal struck upon this model. Those who wear it will receive great graces, especially if they wear it around their neck.” Our Blessed Mother also told Catherine, “Now it must be given to the whole world and to every person.” For almost two hundred years this message has been available to us, yet –until this past Christmas, I still did not wear one around my neck.
I wonder if Mary is frustrated, as any mother is when children do not take her advice or accept her help! I know how I feel after a 30 minute debate with a three year old on why he has to at least try to pee. Two hundred years of, “wear this, it will help” and so many not listening has got to be exhausting!
2) It’s Known as the “Miraculous Medal” for a Reason, and I Love a Miracle!
When the medal first came into being, it was called the Medal of the Immaculate Conception. In less than ten years it became known as the Miraculous Medal because of the many graces and wonders that quickly became associated with wearing it. According to one source, between 1930 and 1950, more than 750,000 favors were granted and registered in just the city of Philadelphia alone.
Our Blessed Mother wants us to ask her for prayers. Our Lord wants us to go to Him and tell him what is on our minds and in our hearts. Having this medal around our necks at all times is a constant reminder to pray. And as Mary promised, those who wear it will receive great graces.
3) Heroic Men and Women Have Worn It and Encouraged Others to Wear It
Two particular individuals come to mind: St. Maximillian Kolbe and Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Before St. Maximillian courageously gave his life for another man, he started a movement and an organization, known in English as the Knights of the Immaculata. He made the Miraculous Medal the insignia of the group and had each member wear the medal. He said it was a “silver bullet” against evil.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta, known for her charitable work throughout the world, called it a “medal of charity” and gave it out by the hand full. She said that the medal is a sign that God loves each and every individual at each and every moment of our lives.
4) It’s a Reminder to Ask for Help
The images on the medal were designed by the Blessed Mother and spoken to St. Catherine Laboure. Our Blessed Mother said that the rays coming from some of her fingers demonstrate the graces God gives through her to those who ask and are open.
There are some fingers where no rays are shown. Mary said that is to demonstrate the graces that are not given because they were not requested of her. Just another reminder of Matthew 7:7; “Ask and it shall be given to you”.
5) It’s a Symbol of What’s Most Important
When I first wrote this article, my Facebook profile picture included an opaque flag of France to show my support and prayers for those who have suffered a great tragedy. There is a U.S. flag hung outside the front door of our home to demonstrate patriotism. We often wear colors to support those affected by different diseases and when we are cheering for our favorite sports team, we wear the appropriate jersey. All of these have some importance in our lives. But what is most important? For me, it is my faith. If signs and symbols are important for the lesser things, why not show my enthusiasm for the greatest blessing of all – faith in Our Lord and the love of our Mother.
For Christmas, I asked for and received a Miraculous Medal. There are so many different styles made by many different companies and organizations. I searched and browsed hundreds, finally finding a simple style necklace that I feel fits my personality. I wear it daily. I find comfort in it. I’m so grateful for the gift of grace and peace it gives.
If you would like a Miraculous Medal, you can get a FREE one from The Central Association of the Miraculous Medal! The Central Association’s primary mission is “to render honor to Mary Immaculate and to encourage the use of her Miraculous Medal with prayers and devotions to her”. The Central Association offers a free Miraculous Medal to anyone living in the United States.
In 1943, twenty-year-old Claude Newman was awaiting execution in a Mississippi prison for shooting Sid Cook, his beloved grandmother’s abusive second husband. One day, Claude noticed a medal hanging around the neck of a fellow prisoner, and asked the young man what it was. The latter responded by casting the medal to the ground with a curse and said, “take it.” Unbeknownst to him, the curious pendant was a Miraculous Medal. Even though he knew nothing about it or who it represented, Claude picked up the trinket and hung it around his neck. He had no idea how that simple action would change his life.
During the night, Claude was awakened by a glowing vision, which he later described as “the most beautiful woman that God ever created.” The vision calmed the frightened man and said, “If you would like me to be your mother, and you my child, send for a priest of the Catholic Church.”
And she disappeared. “A ghost, a ghost!” screamed Claude, clamoring for a priest. The next morning, Fr. Robert O’Leary (who later recorded the story) was summoned. After listening to the extraordinary account and speaking with him, the priest discovered Claude to be a very simple, illiterate soul who knew very little about religion.
The priest proceeded to teach the young man about Catholicism, and soon the catechism lessons grew to include four other inmates who were deeply impressed by Claude’s vision. Several weeks later, Father introduced the Sacrament of Confession, and Claude volunteered,
“Oh, I know about that! The Lady told me that when we go to confession we are kneeling down not before a priest, but before the Cross of Her Son. And that when we are truly sorry for our sins, and we confess our sins, the Blood He shed flows down over us and washes us free from all sins.” The others were stunned at this new revelation. Seeing their surprise, Claude apologized, “Oh, don’t be angry, don’t be angry, I didn’t mean to blurt it out!”
Assuring him that he was far from angry, Fr. O’Leary asked Claude if he had seen the lady again. Taking the priest aside, the young man said, “she told me that if you doubted me or showed hesitancy, I was to remind you that lying in a ditch in Holland in 1940, you made a vow to her which She’s still waiting for you to keep.” This revelation fully convinced him of Claude’s claims. During the war, Fr. O’Leary had promised to erect a church in honor of the Immaculate Conception if he survived. He fulfilled the promise in 1947, and the church still stands in Clarksdale, Mississippi. As Father and Claude returned to the class on Confession, Claude told his friends, “You should not be afraid of Confession. You’re really telling God your sins, not the priest. You know, the Lady said that Confession is something like a telephone. We talk through the priest to God, and God talks back to us through the priest.”
Finally, the catechumens were received into the Church. In the baptismal records of St. Mary’s parish in Vicksburg, MS, Claude’s baptism is registered on January 16, 1944, four days before his scheduled execution. As the day neared, the Sheriff asked Claude if he had a last request.
“Well, all my friends are all shook up. The jailer is all shook up. But you don’t understand. I’m not going to die; only this body is. I’m going to be with her. So, then, I would like to have a party.”
The Sheriff was shocked, but consented, and even allowed Claude’s fellow inmates to attend.
On the morning of execution, Claude was full of joy. As he mentally prepared himself with Fr. O’Leary, the Sheriff rushed in shouting that the Governor had granted a two-week reprieve. To his amazement, the young man broke down in sobs, inconsolable.
“But you don’t understand! If you ever saw her face, and looked into her eyes, you wouldn’t want to live another day! …What have I done wrong these past weeks that God would refuse me my going home? …Why, Father? Why must I still remain here for two weeks?”
Suddenly, Fr. O’Leary had an inspiration. James Hughs, a fellow prisoner on death row, harbored a particular hate for Claude and all things religious despite having been raised a Catholic. Fr. O’Leary suggested that Claude offer his disappointment for Hughs’ conversion, and the final two weeks of the young man’s life were spent praying for the salvation of his fellow inmate.
Claude was finally executed on February 4, 1944. Fr. O’Leary testified: “ I’ve never seen anyone go to his death as joyfully and as happily. Even the official witnesses and the newspaper reporters were amazed. They said they couldn’t understand how anyone could sit in the electric chair beaming with happiness.”
To heaven, but not alone
When the time came for James Hughs to be executed, he violently refused all spiritual assistance, cursing and blaspheming even while seated on the electric chair. Suddenly, looking intently towards a corner of the room, a look of surprise came over his face, quickly followed by one of sheer horror, he shouted, “Get me a priest!” Fr. O’Leary approached and heard the man’s full confession, and ask him to explain his change of mind. The condemned man had seen Claude Newman and the Blessed Virgin standing behind him, her hands on his shoulders. Per Claude’s request, Our Lady showed James a glimpse of Hell, and filled with horror, he immediately demanded a priest.
Once again, the simple wearing of the Miraculous Medal called down our mother’s gaze, and saved not only one, but many souls in that Mississippi Prison.
Three Reasons why the Enemies of the Church hate the Immaculate Conception
By Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
An Anti-Egalitarian Dogma
This dogma teaches that Our Lady was immaculate at her conception, meaning that, at no moment, did she have even the slightest stain of Original Sin. Both she, and naturally Our Lord Jesus Christ, were exempt from that rigid law that subjugates all other descendants of Adam and Eve.
Thus, Our Lady was not subject to the miseries of fallen man. She did not have bad influences, inclinations and tendencies. In her, everything moved harmonically towards truth, goodness and therefore God. In this sense, Our Lady is an example of perfect liberty, meaning that everything her reason, illuminated by Faith, determined as good, her will desired entirely. She had no interior obstacles to impede her practice of virtue.
Being “full of grace” increased these effects. Thus, her will advanced with an unimaginable impetus towards everything that was true and good.
Declaring that a mere human creature had this extraordinary privilege makes this dogma fundamentally anti-egalitarian, because it points out an enormous inequality in the work of God. It demonstrates the total superiority of Our Lady over all other beings. Thus, its proclamation made Revolutionary egalitarian spirits boil with hatred.
The Unsullied Purity of Our Lady
However, there is a more profound reason why the Revolution hates this dogma.
The Revolution loves evil and is in harmony with those who are bad, and thus tries to find evil in everything. On the contrary, those who are irreproachable are a cause of intense hatred. Therefore, the idea that a being could be utterly spotless from the first moment of her existence is abhorrent to Revolutionaries.
For example: Imagine a man who is consumed with impurity. When besieged by impure inclinations, he is ashamed of his consent to them. This leaves him depressed and utterly devastated.
Imagine this man considering Our Lady, who, being the personification of transcendental purity, did not have even the least appetite for lust. He feels hatred and scorn because her virtue smashes his pride.
Furthermore, by declaring Our Lady to be so free from pride, sensuality and the desire for anything Revolutionary, the proclamation of the Immaculate Conception affirmed that she was utterly Counter-Revolutionary. This only inflamed the Revolutionary hatred of the dogma all the more.
Disputing the Doctrine: A Counter-Revolutionary Struggle
For centuries, there were two opposing currents of thought about the Immaculate Conception in the Church. While it would be an exaggeration to suggest that everyone who fought against the doctrine was acting with Revolutionary intentions; it is a fact that all those who were acting with Revolutionary intentions fought against it. On the other hand, all those who favored its proclamation, at least on that point, expressed a Counter-Revolutionary attitude.
Thus, in some way the fight between the Revolution and Counter-Revolution was present in the fight between these two theological currents.
The Exercise of Papal Infallibility
There is still another reason this dogma is hateful to Revolutionaries: it was the first dogma proclaimed through Papal Infallibility.
At that time, the dogma of Papal Infallibility had not yet been defined and there was a current in the Church maintaining that the Pope was only infallible when presiding over a council. Nevertheless, Pius IX invoked Papal Infallibility when he defined the Immaculate Conception after merely consulting some theologians and bishops.
For liberal theologians, this seemed like circular reasoning. If his infallibility had not been defined, how could he use it? On the contrary, by using his infallibility, he affirmed that he had it.
This daring affirmation provoked an explosion of indignation among Revolutionaries, but enormous enthusiasm among Counter-Revolutionaries. In praise of the new dogma, children all over the world were baptized under the name: Conception, Concepcion or Concepta to consecrate them to the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady.
Pius IX: Bringing the Fight to the Enemy
It is not surprising that Pius IX so adamantly affirmed Papal Infallibility. Very different from those who succeeded him, he was ever ready to bring the fight to the enemy. He did this in Geneva, Switzerland, which then was the breeding ground of Calvinism, which is the most radical form of Protestantism.
When Swiss laws changed to allow a Catholic cathedral in Geneva, Pius IX ordered that a statue of the Immaculate Conception be placed in the middle of the city, to proclaim this dogma in the place where Calvinists, Lutherans and other Protestants denied it more than anywhere else. This is an example of Pius IX’s leadership in the fight against the Revolution.
It is therefore entirely proper that all Catholics entertain a special affection for the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which is so detested by the enemies of the Church today.
O Most Holy Virgin, O my Mother, ask thy Son on my behalf for everything my soul and all mankind needs so that thy Reign be established on earth. My most earnest request is that thou mayest triumph in me and in all souls and implant thy Reign on earth. Amen.
The First Apparition
During the night of July 18-19, 1830, the Most Holy Virgin appeared for the first time to Saint Catherine Labouré, who had been awakened and led from the dormitory to the chapel by her guardian angel.
In the sanctuary, Saint Catherine later wrote:
“I heard something like the rustling of a silk dress, coming from the side of the tribune, close to Saint Joseph’s picture. She alighted on the steps of the altar on the Gospel side, in an arm chair like Saint Anne’s… As I looked up at Our Lady I flung myself close to her, falling on my knees on the altar steps, my hands resting in her knees. That was the sweetest moment of my life.”
Let us pray: O Most Holy Virgin, O my Mother, look on my soul with mercy, obtain for me a spirit of prayer that leads me always to have recourse to thee. Obtain for me the graces that I implore of thee and, above all, inspire me to pray for the graces that thou most wants to grant me.
Protection of Mary in times of trial
“The times are very evil, misfortunes are going to befall France, the throne will be overthrown, the whole world will be overwhelmed with misfortunes of every kind.” The Holy Virgin looked very distressed as she said this. “But come to the foot of this altar. Here graces will be bestowed on anyone, great or small, who asks for them with confidence and fervor… A moment will come of such great danger that all will seem lost. But I shall be with you.”
Let us pray: O Most Holy Virgin, O my Mother, amidst the great desolation in the world and the Church, obtain for me the graces I ask of thee and inspire me, above all, to request the graces that thou most wants to grant me.
The Cross will be despised
“The Cross will be despised and hurled to the ground, blood will run in the streets, the Side of Our Lord will be opened again. The archbishop will be stripped of his garments.” Here the Holy Virgin, her face filled with sadness, could no longer speak. “My child, the whole world will be plunged in sorrow,” she said to me.
Let us pray: O Most Holy Virgin, O my Mother, obtain for me the grace to live in union with thee, with thy Divine Son and the Church at this crucial moment in history, as tragic as the Passion, when all humanity is about to choose sides for or against Christ! Obtain for me the graces I implore, especially the grace of requesting that which thou most wants to grant me.
Mary crushes the head of the serpent
At 5:30 on the evening of November 27, 1830, as Saint Catherine was praying in the chapel, the Holy Virgin appeared to her for the second time, standing as high as Saint Joseph’s picture to the right of the main altar.
“Her face was so beautiful that it would be impossible for me to describe it. Her robe was white as the glow of dawn… Her head was covered with a white veil that extended to her feet which rested on a half sphere, with her heel crushing the head of a serpent.”
Let us pray: O Most Holy Virgin, O my Mother, be my protection against the assaults of the infernal enemy. Obtain for me the graces I am asking of thee and, above all, inspire me to request the graces that thou most wants to grant me.
The Virgin of the globe
The Holy Virgin holds a globe in her hands representing the whole world, and each person in particular, and offers it to God, imploring His mercy.
She wears rings on her fingers, bearing precious stones that shed rays, one more beautiful than the next, symbolizing the graces that the Holy Virgin pours out on those who ask for them.
Let us pray: O Most Holy Virgin, O my Mother, obtain for me the graces I am asking of thee and inspire me, above all, to request the graces that thou most wants to grant me.
The invocation on the medal
During the second apparition, Our Blessed Mother explained to Saint Catherine “how pleased she is when people pray to her and how generous she is with them; how she gives special graces to those who ask; and what a great joy she takes in granting them.”
At that point “a frame formed around Our Lady, like an oval, bearing the following words in gold letters: ‘O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.’”
Let us pray: O Most Holy Virgin, O my Mother, obtain for me the graces I am asking of thee and inspire me, above all, to request the graces that thou most wants to grant me.
Revelation of the medal
Then a voice was heard, saying, “Have a medal struck after this model. Those who wear it, blessed, around their neck will receive great graces. The graces will be abundant for those who wear it with confidence.”
Let us pray: O Most Holy Virgin, O my Mother, obtain for me the graces that I ask of thee and inspire me, above all, to pray for the graces that thou most wants to grant me.
The hearts of Jesus and Mary
After contemplating the picture on the medal, Saint Catherine saw it turn to display the back. There she saw an “M,” the monogram of Mary, surmounted by a small cross and, below it, the hearts of Jesus and Mary, the first surrounded with thorns and the latter pierced with a sword.
Twelve stars surrounded the hearts and the monogram.
Let us pray: O Immaculate Heart of Mary, make my heart like unto thine. Obtain for me the graces I am asking of thee and, above all, inspire me to ask of thee the graces thou most wants to grant me.
Mary will be proclaimed
Queen of the Universe Confirming the predictions of Saint Louis Grignion de Montfort, Saint Catherine says that the Most Holy Virgin will be proclaimed Queen of the Universe: “Oh! how beautiful it will be to hear: Mary is the Queen of the Universe. The children and everyone will cry with joy and rapture.
That will be a lasting era of peace and happiness. She will be displayed on standards and paraded all over the world.”
Let us pray: O Most Holy Virgin, O my Mother, obtain for me the graces I am asking of thee and inspire me, above all, to pray for the graces that thou most wants to grant me.
In 1830, during the apparitions in the chapel on Rue du Bac in Paris, the Holy Virgin presented the Miraculous Medal to Saint Catherine Labouré: “Those who wear it, blessed, around their neck will receive great graces. The graces will be abundant for those who wear it with confidence.”
At the time of Saint Catherine Labouré’s death, the distribution of the medal in the world had surpassed the one billion mark. The innumerable conversions, cures and cases of extraordinary protection, quickly lead to its being called the “Miraculous Medal.”
Wearing and disseminating the Miraculous Medal means placing oneself under the protection of the Most Holy Virgin. It means placing oneself under the sign of the Immaculate and taking a stand in face of the troubles and indifference affecting the modern world.
“The whole world will be overwhelmed by misfortunes of all kinds… All will seem lost, but I shall be with you,” the Holy Virgin promised Saint Catherine, who repeated this prophecy till the end of her life. The rays coming from Our Lady’s hands symbolize the graces she obtains for everyone who prays to her with confidence.
Megan Twomey has written a great article below on why the Catholic Church is the safest place for a woman in our culture that is hyperfocused on sex and sexual freedom. She also makes a great point on the fact that woman aren’t meant to be spiritual fathers, by nature, and thus have no business becoming priests. Plus, is there anything more important than being a mother anyways? Men certainly aren’t equipped to do that job!
The bottom line: just stick with the Catholic Church and you won’t go wrong!
The Catholic Church and the Inherit Dignity of Women
American culture, through generations of inherited ignorance, perpetuates many false ideas about the Catholic Church’s teachings about women. You can find the caricatures in almost any television series or movie with so-called Catholic characters: the crotchety ruler-wielding nun, the kilted Catholic high school student who is secretly a “bad girl,” the denim-jumper-clad homeschooling mother of a dozen who lacks personality and purpose, and the forward-thinking “cultural Catholic” who ignores almost all Catholic moral and social teaching. Modern Catholic women, at least those who genuinely believe and follow the teachings of the Church, are portrayed as backward, oppressed, or both. While converting to Catholicism, I was astounded to realize what a grave misconception this is! The Catholic Church’s teachings, rightly understood, uphold the inherent and singular dignity of woman’s place in creation, creating and the re-creative work of salvation history.
Probably the most popularly misunderstood Catholic teaching about women has to do with the Church’s conceptions of human sexuality. There’s a slew of cliched misinterpretations. For instance, a certain brand of feminist claims that without recourse to birth control or abortion, women are victims of sexual repression or countless pregnancies. Another one is that “Catholic guilt” makes it impossible for women to feel attraction, dress attractively, or enjoy a healthy sexual relationship. In reality, it is quite the opposite – it is the woman who buys into the doctrine of “sexual freedom” who is repressed, used, and trapped.
The Catholic Church teaches that every person, regardless of sex, nationality, race, or creed, has dignity because she is made in the image of God. She is created by Him and for Him and, from the moment of her conception, her life has value. A woman has a miraculous and unique role in making and nurturing life. God made sex for this very purpose, procreation, that is, to join with Him in forming a human, body and soul. That is why the marriage bed is the appropriate place for the most intimate union two human beings can share. That unique love is meant to overflow from the two becoming one. Sex is not meant for one human person to use another for physical pleasure, but that is what it becomes when separated from the self-giving and creative love of marriage.
The controversial teachings of the Church on sex, including those on marriage, birth control, and abortion, respect the natural way a woman’s body works and the miracle of life which a woman is capable of carrying within her. They protect women, born and unborn, and work to prevent the sexual objectification that runs rampant when sex is “free” and “without consequence”. Furthermore, the Church teaches that sex within marriage is meant to be for the mutual happiness and enjoyment of both men and women. A woman is not the slave of her husband’s whims; she is meant to be his beloved companion and respected partner in responsibly creating and raising a family. A woman’s sexuality and physical beauty are gifts from God, gifts which she then can choose to give to another in the sacrament of marriage or to consecrate to God.
This brings us to another unique teaching of the Church concerning women: her unique role in the Church through a vocation to motherhood, either physically or spiritually. Perhaps when the outside world thinks of Catholic vocations or callings, they seem a particularly masculine thing. After all, only men can be priests and in many places nuns seem an antiquated, endangered species. But every Catholic, and, for that matter, every human, has a calling from God, a role to play in His Kingdom. All women are especially called and equipped to be mothers, whether they ever carry or give birth to a child or not. Catholic women may not be priests, but that is not because they are unworthy or have a lesser place. They are not created to be spiritual fathers, any more than men are created to be mothers.
The vocation to physical and/or spiritual motherhood is based in woman’s natural tendencies toward tenderness, empathy, nurturing, emotional strength, teaching, and protecting. Whether they are married, living the consecrated religious life, or single, women have a special calling and ability to care for others, to teach them, and to help them to grow. Women help to birth souls into eternal life, grow disciples, and walk with another toward God. This motherhood does not in any way exclude women from other pursuits, passions, or positions of leadership. A woman’s talents do not hinder her ability to mother souls, nor does being a mother prevent her from having a personality or a craft. Devoting her life to the service of God, whether that plays out in the context of a family or a religious order, does not eliminate her identity as a woman, but enhances it by strengthening her character and purifying her soul.
The most obvious challenge to the idea that the Catholic Church does not value women lies in the person and doctrines of the Virgin Mary. Certainly Christ is a man, but when God became man He chose a human mother. Often the world points to the story of the Fall and sees woman disgraced, but misses the story of the Annunciation and woman redeemed. Although the first woman Eve said “no” to God, chose sin, and brought heartbreak to man and womankind alike, Mary, the second Eve, said “yes” to God, chose grace, and continues to participate in God’s plan for the salvation of the human race. The Church over and over again acknowledges Mary’s role in re-creating humanity: she gives her human nature to, carries in her body, and raises to manhood the Son of God. For this, she receives titles unique among the human race: “blessed among women”, “Mother of God”, and “Queen of Heaven”.
The Catholic Church respects Mary above all other created beings and teaches that she is the pinnacle of God’s creation. Through God’s grace, she helps bring salvation to all men, both through her work on Earth and her prayers in heaven. While the head of the Catholic Church on Earth is a man, the Mother of the Church is a woman, eternally carrying mankind to God. The honor and devotion Catholics give to the Blessed Mother is not separate from her womanhood, but entirely wrapped up in it. Only a woman could be the mother and virgin who bore Christ, only a woman could undo the pride of Eden with the humility of Nazareth, and only a woman could become the Mother of all Mankind. She alone, Virgin and Mother, teaches us the dignity of all mankind: to participate with God in the salvation of souls and the restoration of Creation.
In addition to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the holy women whom the Church venerates and holds up as examples for all Catholics are a diverse group of heroines. Among the saints there are scholars and servants, mothers and virgins, warriors and princesses, courageous martyrs and quiet voices of love that echo down the centuries. Like these saints, real women do not fit into an easy mold, but the Catholic Church acknowledges that they are all precious human beings, instilled with dignity, strength, and purpose by their Creator who fiercely loves His daughters.
About the Author: Megan Twomey studied English and History at Hillsdale College. While she was there, she converted to Catholicism and also bumped into a friend’s big brother, who just happened to be her perfect match. She now spends her time as a stay-at-home mama to two mischievous toddlers. You can read about her journey through motherhood on her blog, Becoming Mama Twomey.