Tag Archives: Endow

St. John Paul II: Thank you, every woman!

On this first-ever feast day of St. John Paul the II, I’ve been reflecting on my gratitude for the example of the late, great pope. (This beautiful post by Fr. Robert Barron is a good short read if you’re looking for a brief tool for your own reflection.) Meanwhile, I also find myself in the 8th month of pregnancy, and my husband and I are eagerly anticipating the arrival of our first son or daughter!

With that in mind, I decided to reread the pope’s Letter to Women this morning, which was written in advance of the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing in 1995. The entire letter is worth a read, but I’m frequently drawn to this portion of the letter where he thanks all women in the world for their “vocation and mission.” Emphasis in italics is from the saint himself:

“This word of thanks to the Lord for his mysterious plan regarding the vocation and mission of women in the world is at the same time a concrete and direct word of thanks to women, to every woman, for all that they represent in the life of humanity.

Thank you, women who are mothers! You have sheltered human beings within yourselves in a unique experience of joy and travail. This experience makes you become God’s own smile upon the newborn child, the one who guides your child’s first steps, who helps it to grow, and who is the anchor as the child makes its way along the journey of life.

Thank you, women who are wives! You irrevocably join your future to that of your husbands, in a relationship of mutual giving, at the service of love and life.

Thank you, women who are daughters and women who are sisters! Into the heart of the family, and then of all society, you bring the richness of your sensitivity, your intuitiveness, your generosity and fidelity.

Thank you, women who work! You are present and active in every area of life-social, economic, cultural, artistic and political. In this way you make an indispensable contribution to the growth of a culture which unites reason and feeling, to a model of life ever open to the sense of “mystery”, to the establishment of economic and political structures ever more worthy of humanity.

Thank you, consecrated women! Following the example of the greatest of women, the Mother of Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word, you open yourselves with obedience and fidelity to the gift of God’s love. You help the Church and all mankind to experience a “spousal” relationship to God, one which magnificently expresses the fellowship which God wishes to establish with his creatures.

Thank you, every woman, for the simple fact of being a woman! Through the insight which is so much a part of your womanhood you enrich the world’s understanding and help to make human relations more honest and authentic.”

I wish so much that women who struggle with understanding their own dignity in ways big and small would hear these words and take them to heart.

St. John Paul II, pray for us.


Related posts you may like re: St. John Paul II and/or women in the Church:


“Tell Jesus not to kiss me.”


By Katie Morroni

As I’ve written here before, I’m making my way through a study on suffering with my Endow group. It’s been a beautiful process.

I like to think I’m starting to understand what it means to be united in Christ’s suffering, especially when I’m sitting back and pondering it from a semi-academic perspective. It’s a very different thing to be in the midst of a problem that seems to have no solution and think, “Thank goodness I’m united to Christ and His suffering!”

Continue reading “Tell Jesus not to kiss me.”

A Carmelite Candidate Needs Your Help

Katie is furtherest left; Leah is next to her in the blue scarf.
Katie is furtherest left; Leah is next to her in the blue scarf.

By Katie Morroni

I wouldn’t normally post an appeal here for money, and trust me, I’m not entirely comfortable doing so. But I’m reaching outside my comfort zone because I don’t believe just $1,700 should stand between my friend and her beautiful vocation.

Leah has answered God’s call, and is seeking to become a Carmelite sister. She’s spent the last year as a candidate in California, praying with the community she hopes to enter. She’s been admitted to begin her Postulancy this fall with one condition: That she pay off her student loans and raise the money needed to cover her health insurance for her three-year novitiate. Over the last year, she has raised more than $20,000 and is now just $1,700 away from her goal! In order to begin the next step of her vocation, she must raise this money by Wednesday. THIS WEDNESDAY.

Will you chip in $10, $25, or $50 to help her meet her goal? Follow this link and then click on the PayPal donate button in the righthand sidebar to send your gift now. Just a handful of us donating relatively small amounts like this will make the difference for her at this point.

Leah became a friend when we met through Endow. We were in the same group together for about two years, and in that time, each encounter with her was full of more compassion, holiness, and fun. And each time we were together, those qualities seemed to grow and grow. She wasn’t yet considering becoming a sister when we met and first became friends, but it was remarkable to watch as she received and responded to the call. And how beautiful that we studied the life of Carmelite sister Edith Stein, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, during this process!

Leah’s story of conversion to the Catholic Church is inspiring, and I recommend that you read it in her own words; I surely couldn’t do it justice. The Coming Home Network recently published her conversion story, and you can also read about it on her blog. Endow also published a feature about her conversion and vocation call in their magazine this year. (Scroll to page 5.)

A gift of just $10 can be really impactful at this point. Please consider helping Leah financially if you are able, and please also keep her in your prayers as she continues to pursue her vocation.


Prayer for Priests

In the spirit of promoting spiritual motherhood, Endow encourages its participants to pray for priests and distributes the prayer below on a small card to many of its members. Our group prays it together each time we gather, and it was on my mind all weekend as Fr. Matt was ordained and celebrated his first Mass. I hope you’ll consider adding it to your prayer repertoire.

O Jesus, we pray for your faithful and fervent priests, your unfaithful and lukewarm priests, your priests laboring at home or abroad in distant mission fields, your tempted priests, your lonely and desolate priests, your young priests, your old priests, and the souls of your priests in purgatory.

Continue reading Prayer for Priests


Setting Out to Find Meaning in Suffering


Thank you, every woman, for the simple fact of being a woman! Through the insight which is so much a part of your womanhood you enrich the world’s understanding and help to make human relations more honest and authentic.

-Blessed Pope John Paul II, Letter to Women

These words of the soon-to-be St. John Paul II, and all of his teachings on the dignity of women, are the foundation of an organization called Endow, Educating on the Nature and Dignity of Women. It’s a a Catholic group that brings women and girls together to study encyclicals, other Church documents, and the lives and writings of saints to help us understand our God-given dignity and respond to our culture’s desperate need for an authentic feminine presence. This primarily takes the form of study groups, which look a bit like book clubs. Groups meet everywhere from church basements, facilitators’ homes, schools, prisons, homeless shelters, and safe houses for abused women and children.

It’s been my joy to participate in this group for about 3 years now, first as a participant and over the last year as a group facilitator. No doubt future blog posts will speak more of this experience, but to quickly take a look back… Together, our group has studied John Paul II’s Letter to Women, Benedict XVI’s encyclical God is Love, the life and legacy of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), and John Paul II’s encyclical Redemptoris Mater. These teachings and saints have become companions of ours along our journeys, educating us, but more importantly, teaching us more about how to love.

Tomorrow we begin our next study, On the Christian Meaning in Suffering, which uses John Paul II’s apostolic letter Salvifici Doloris as its source document. I expect it will be one of the most challenging to undertake.

Continue reading Setting Out to Find Meaning in Suffering