Welcoming Women in the Church: A Letter from Corynne, Founder of TCW
"Hey there friend,
Corynne here. It’s a Monday morning, my hair is wet and my coffee is hot. Upbeat music is blasting on my computer right now, to try and get the inspiration going. I’m not certain it’s working yet, but fingers crossed. Let’s get to it! Today, I want share with you my story of how The Catholic Woman came to be.
Before I entered the Catholic Church my freshman year of college, I had a very one-dimensional view of Catholic women. If you had asked me what I thought of when I heard “the Catholic woman”, I would have described something along the lines of a scowling a nun, hitting children over the head with rules and rulers. I was ignorant. And until I encountered the truth, I believed that the Catholic Church was a place of legalism and oppression, especially for women. As you can imagine, I was later delighted to learn that I was wrong.
I eventually did encounter the truth of the Church. I realized that the heart of the Catholic Church is Jesus Christ and his self-sacrificing love for all. Everything else the Church professes stems from this truth.
This led me to study philosophy and Catholic theology. During my time at school, I studied under and alongside amazing, bright men and - get this - women! My female professors and colleagues inspired me to be a better student, a better woman and a better person. They genuinely made me excited to be a modern Catholic woman.
However, I still struggled with what it means to be a woman, as a Catholic. In several of the older books I had to read for classes, I encountered the view that women are inferior to men. I would sit in the cafeteria in the early morning, read these texts over eggs and coffee, then frantically run to my professor’s office to figure out what this all means for Catholic women today.
Around this time, I was encouraged to read more of St. John Paul II’s writings, including his Letter to Women. I remember sitting in my dorm room one night, reading his letter and crying. All of my fears about being a Catholic woman were eased.
In his letter, he thanks women of all different callings and vocations. He apologizes for sexism in the Church, and affirms the dignity of women. In a different letter, he even calls Catholic women to bring forth a “new feminism.” This was a huge relief for me. From there on, every time I encountered a writer with a false view of women and I was tempted to despair, I went back to Letter to Women. It affirmed me as an individual and as a woman. And it reminded me that I belonged in the Church.
St. John Paul II’s Letter to Women is one of the reasons why I created The Catholic Woman. Just as St. John Paul’s letter encouraged me, reminded me of my value and that I’m welcome in the Church, I wanted to create something that has a similar effect. A place where there’s an authentic, empowering, and diverse representation of womanhood in the Church. Where the many different faces and vocations of women in the Church are illustrated. Where all women feel welcome. I thought letter-writing may be a fantastic place to start.
Friend, I am so happy you are here. Please know that you are infinitely valued and that the Church needs you. The things that make you “you” were given to you by God as gift (even if it doesn’t feel like it). And please know you are never alone, but a part of an age-old sisterhood of Catholic women and saints. I want to know you! I want to hear your story. Because I have so much to learn from you.
Can’t wait to hear from you.
Your friend in Christ,