Thursday, November 14, 2013

Archbishop Chaput -- The Feminine Genius: A conference that shouldn’t be missed

Archbishop Charles Chaput

Over the past two years, we’ve spent a lot of time dealing with challenges in the life of our local Church.  We’ve made good progress, thanks to the hard work of a great many people.  But fixing problems isn’t an end in itself.  That’s just a beginning.  The point of our work is to clear away obstacles to the joy of knowing Jesus Christ and to a life rooted in the Gospel.  We had a taste of that joy last weekend, November 9, with the wonderful success of the Magnificat Day gathering – a combination of beautiful worship, common prayer and great presentations.  Events like Magnificat Day feed the soul and renew the hope at the heart of Catholic life.

We need a lot more of the same energy.  And happily, more is on the way.  On Saturday, December 7, the archdiocese will host a uniquely important Catholic women’s conference, “The Feminine Genius: Every Woman’s Gift.”  This will be a milestone in the life of our Church and a great way to begin preparing for the World Meeting of Families in 2015.  I hope women around the archdiocese will visit the conference’s website, review the scheduled content and make every effort to take part personally in the friendship, presentations and discussions of the day.

Women leaders are found in every walk of life: education, medicine, religious life, journalism, politics, business, law.  But even more deeply, women as wives and mothers shape the future by forming their children – and often their husbands – in the virtues of Christian faith, mercy, patience, understanding and unselfish love.  Children need a loving father.  Boys and girls alike need the example of good Christian men.   But most of the best men I know got that way by living up to the expectations of the women they love.  Every great priest has a special place in his life for his mother.  Every good husband is the work of two women of character: his mother and his wife.

To put it another way: Women set the standard.  Men might add to the standard or ignore it; but women define with the witness of their lives what words like compassion, justice, fidelity and human decency actually mean.  Women, both lay and consecrated, create new life by nourishing others.  Women are the irreplaceable heart and soul of every family.  So if we want to renew our Church and wider community, the best way to start is by offering women a way to strengthen each other in the faith, and to rediscover the meaning of their God-given feminine identity and gifts.

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