Mulieres Clarae Dei household presented messages to women concerning their intrinsic feminine dignity, turning to Our Lady for inspiration, at Franciscan University’s Women’s Ministry on Feb. 28 at 7:30 p.m.
Titled “The Scope of Femininity: your unique feminine identity, rooted in Mary,” the talk was held in the Fireside Lounge and presented by four members of the women’s household, who spoke regarding feminine dignity and purpose and ultimately how they are found in the example of Mary.
Opening with prayer and worship, senior Mariel Barrozo began the mini-series by reminding women of their identity as daughters of God: “Because he’s our Father, we’re better able to understand our femininity.”
Beatrice “Bea” Ruiz, senior psychology major, addressed how cultures create their own ideals for beauty and women. She referenced Sparta, describing its feminine ideal as brute strength to mother strong warriors. She shared that cultural ideals are only “abstract concepts of various idealistic parts of a person” and not the whole person. Ruiz reminded her audience that ideals are products of their time and true beauty is only realized in Christ, as he made each woman to be: holy.
Senior Ellen Brough, psychology major, spoke next on each woman’s purpose. She focused on the quote, “We won’t be distracted by comparison if we are captivated by purpose,” by Bob Goff, writer and motivational speaker.
Brough emphasized the power of words and reflection before speaking about someone. She encouraged women to embrace their unique gifts and look for individuality in others, saying “Love is reciprocal … so if you want to be known, you need to see and know others.”
Psychology major and senior Alex Oliver reflected upon Our Mother Mary, using her as an example for “the right way to be a woman.” She addressed Mary’s three prominent qualities: friend, daughter and mother.
Oliver wanted her audience to see Mary’s humble, relational nature, as expressed in the Magnificat when Mary visits Elizabeth. Oliver cited the Annunciation to showcase Mary’s authenticity and faith and to her place on Calvary, demonstrating her resolve and radical trust. She shared a quote from J.R.R. Tolkien: “All my own perception of beauty both in majesty and simplicity is founded upon Our Lady.”
Women left the Women’s Ministry event with smiles on their faces. Freshman Kelly Quaste said she comes to the weekly meetings with friends to “embrace each other’s femininity” in a community that encourages authentic womanhood.