by Jacki Corrigan
As we in the archdiocesan family life office prepared for our annual women’s “Day of Boundless Joy,” my thoughts kept returning to Pope John Paul II’s “Letter to Women.” The power of his words still rest gently in my memory.
Pope John Paul hoped to move and challenge the minds and hearts of all women. There were many areas of a woman’s life that he opened up more fully with his thoughts. It was the resounding emphasis of the God- given dignity that has been bestowed on every woman, every daughter of God, that he tried to most desperately convey.
It would take a series of meetings for us to fully explore the depth of his words and the power of the gifts which God has graciously given us.
I would like to quote a small portion of his “Letter to Women”: “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.”
While we are most richly blessed, we are also called to recognize the dignity that God has given to us and to be a blessing to those who lives we touch.