The Catholic Woman is a ministry that seeks to illustrate the many faces and vocations of Catholic women. They publish letters group members write to one another every week.
Check out this video they did on Artistry & Motherhood. IT'S SO GOOD.
I love this ministry for many reasons. Their design is beautiful and smart, their content is so vulnerable, their Facebook and Instagram are active and incredibly consistent. These are all hard things to pull off for any ministry and they make The Catholic Woman stand apart, but these reasons aren't why I love what they are doing. It goes much deeper than that.
Why I Love TCW
I can't write this feature from the standpoint that many of you could. I can only write from my own experience as a man growing up in a Church that I felt didn't understand me. It took a long time for me to find my place with Her. I believe gender is one of the most difficult topics for any of us to touch on because our deepest wounds lie in deep recesses of our identity as men and women. Our scars, the lies the evil one speaks over us, tend to tie themselves to our conceptions not of ourselves as people, but ourselves as a man or a woman.
When I was in high school, I thought I wanted to be a priest and applied to be a seminarian for the Diocese of Dallas. I was rejected because I wasn't "pastoral enough," that is to say that I was clearly not going to grow up to be a docile bank manager. I challenged authority, pushed the boundaries of acceptable behavior wherever I was and did not have a diplomatic bone in my body. Throughout my life, I've been diagnosed, medicated, scolded punished for my boyness. In my mind, this diocesan vocations committee brought all of the weight of the Magisterium to bear in its prognosis of my lack of a "pastoral disposition"
When I finally was accepted and sent to St. John Vianney seminary, I found a Church that had an entirely different image of Masculinity that I was compelled to pursue. "The Vianney man," as they say, was clearly German. He was on time, he was disciplined, he read St. Thomas Aquinas, had played football or baseball in high school, and never displayed emotion in public. He was some strange Frankenstein of the ideal red-blooded American male and JPII's theology of the body. He was all of these things, but most of all, he was not me, and I knew it the second I was fraternally corrected for singing too high during mass because we all know that if you sing a high C you are probably just waiting for the right time to come out of the closet.
The point I'm making is that we all have felt at times like we've had to hide who we really are in order to fit some idealized image of what our gender should look like. I love the way God has called me to manhood, but the road that got me here has been long, winding, and riddled with potholes. Often times, what I needed the most on the journey was simply to be told that I belonged.
That's why I'm so grateful for what Corynne is doing with The Catholic Woman. Even if she isn't intending to minister to me, she has simply by offering everyone who comes to her site to freedom to be where they are at. Thank you Corynne, thank you for your beautiful ministry. Keep it up.
by Marcellino D'Ambrosio,
One of those crazy Catholic Creatives