My friend and I chatted over chips and salsa and margaritas. She sighed and confided, “I just wish I had a better understanding of my place in the Church, as a woman, and particularly as a working single woman. I’d like to be affirmed in the value I bring to the mission of the Church.” We talked more about this, and I eventually recommended she read Mulieris Dignitatem. Later that night, she texted me screen shots of particular passages that were touching her and wondered aloud, “Why hasn’t anyone told me about this until now?”
The Role of Women
I’m afraid my friend isn’t alone in her sentiments. Many modern women often feel like they’re in the dark when it comes to their role in the Church. And while Mother Church has been explicit about the dignity and vocation of women throughout the ages, particularly in the last century, sometimes we need to see it in action. We need to see women around us living the beautiful roles to which they’re called. We need to see the truth of the Church lived out in the daily lives of strong, holy women around us.
At a time when our culture is confused about and hostile toward authentic femininity, it can be challenging to remain confident and clear about our mission and purpose as women. God’s creativity is endless, and a marvelous thing about women is that living that mission and purpose will look endlessly different. Our personalities, passions, callings, vocations, and service are varied. But all come from the same source: the Heart of God. So no matter what our particular life’s calling is, all women are called to find and use their voice for His greater glory.
A Woman’s Voice
I was privileged to recently witness breathtaking examples of such strong, holy women using the particular voice God gave them in a film just released by Salt and Light Catholic Media. A Women’s Voice is a documentary highlighting several various Catholic women throughout the world. These women range in ethnicity, race, age, socioeconomic scale, vocation, work, and personality. Each illuminate the Church’s vision of womanhood.
Throughout this documentary, we are introduced to a professor, a religious sister, the mayor of Bethlehem, a mother of quadruplets, missionaries at an apostolate, a CEO, a journalist, and more. We are given a sneak peak into their interior lives, discovering how Catholicism influences and drives their daily tasks. They are each convicted in their calling and are able to bring such passion, focus, and success to their varied work because of their trust in God.
At one point during the documentary, a women declares:
Every Christian has a place in the Church.
A Moment of Enlightenment and Encouragement
If you’ve ever felt like you’re not quite sure what your place is, this documentary is for you. If you are confident in how the Lord works through you, but you could use some encouragement, this documentary is for you.
As I watched these women tell their stories—filled with both tragedy and triumph—I was filled with a sense of awe, respect, and a renewed desire to serve and grow right where the Lord has placed me. The insights these women provide, by virtue of their suffering and their courage, moved me to uncover what God has for me in the every day work He has given me.
Most notably, my husband heard me holler “Yeah!!!” several different times while watching the documentary. I was so inspired by these women and encouraged by their example, I couldn’t help but let out a battle cry (just watch the trailer, you’ll see what I mean).
Additionally, it’s a stunning piece of visual work and the music is masterfully created and curated.
A Woman’s Place
I won’t spoil the ending for you, but the documentary concludes by defining where a woman’s place is in the world and in the Church. It’s incredibly moving, comforting, and inspiring.
You can find the documentary (I highly recommend it!) and an accompanying study guide here. This would make an excellent activity for your small group or for a wine and cheese night in your home.
It’s so important that we continue to nurture the understanding of our great dignity and vocation as women, and it’s fruitful when we do so in community. This film is a magnificent tool in which to better understand our unique and irreplaceable callings as unique and irreplaceable women, what it means to be a woman in the Church and in the world, and how we can best support one another as we all journey toward sainthood.
Olivia Spears lives in Kentucky, where sweet tea and bourbon flow like milk and honey. She is the Blog Manager for Blessed is She. She also works from home as an editor and social media manager while raising her children and laughing with her husband. Although she now spends most of her free time away from the internet, past adventures are still on her blog. You can find out more about her here.