Seeking Beauty in the Women Around Me - A Letter from Lo

The third & final letter of our Cultivating Sisterhood short-series


A Note from TCW

In the third and final letter of our Cultivating Sisterhood letter series, writer Lo shares about how a transformative experience she had in one of the most beautiful places on earth lead her to the mission she's on today: to show women their beauty, worth and dignity in Christ

Thank you Lo for reminding us that the more we encounter the One who is Beauty itself, the more we are able to see the beauty in those around us. 

To learn about The Catholic Woman's Sisterhood theme for this quarter's collection of letters, click here.


(Click to enlarge the photos)

Hi friends!

While I was in college, I was blessed with the opportunity to study in Austria where I took a Catholic art history class that strongly impacted my life through the concept of beauty. Through taking this class, I came to see that beauty will save the world. 

At the beginning of the semester, there was a class dedicated to defining beauty; was it subjective or objective? At first I wanted to say objective because there is an unspoken beauty in all things, but at the same time it is subjective because not everyone notices or appreciates beauty in all things. This was my dilemma: I could see both sides of the definition. In relation to art, I think that all things are beautiful, even if I don’t see it right away. 

It is a simple question, but it was one that I reflected on that whole semester. I pursued beauty in everything: art, buildings, churches, nature, literature, music, others, the lives of the saints. I strongly desired to see as much beauty as I could in order to determine what it truly means. 

And I found it. During my holy hour. At 3am. (I know, it was insanely early and rough, but oh-so-prayerful) I was gazing at our Lord in the monstrance and came to the realization that He is Beauty. Gazing into the monstrance, I remember in my half awake state, that all of my desires were fulfilled in Him; He is what I was searching for that semester. That night/morning, I scribbled in my journal about how much He had changed me that semester. My perspective had changed on what beauty was because I had found what beauty means and looks like; beauty is sacrifice, humility, authentic and vulnerable love. And so many more things. It was then that I truly desired to be in an intentional relationship with Beauty Himself. For it was in Him, as His beloved, that I found my identity, and still do today. 

I have truly come to see that beauty is saving, and changing, the world. I have come to see beauty more fully in myself, and let me tell you, this has been a rough road. I have not always seen myself as beautiful; I fell into the lies of what society considered the standards for beauty. In high school, and even in the first few years of college, I truly struggled with this lie. It was not until I studied in Europe for a semester that I came to appreciate beauty for what it truly is.

I am far from perfect, I still struggle today, yet I know the truth: I am beautiful and worthy of love. My identity is in Him, He who is Beauty, and therefore I beautiful (and that includes you too, ladies). 

I see now that my call is to show women their beauty, worth and dignity they have in Christ. This is who I am meant to be as a Catholic woman and it was through looking at Beauty Himself that I came to this realization. Ladies, stay close to Him and visit Him in adoration. Pursue His heart and let Him love you in His mercy and grace. You are His beloved, His beautiful one. Never forget this truth.

Your beauty is saving the world.

In His Heart,

Lo


Get to know Lo

Lo Schunilske Portrait for The Catholic Woman

Lo is a 22-year old from Wisconsin and a new graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville. 

What do the first two hours of your day look like? 

the first two hours of my day are not very consistent. they usually consist of me beginning my day with a little prayer thanking the Lord for waking me up and offering my day for Him to work through. Then after that, I usually eat breakfast, or treat myself to some Dunkin coffee, and then go to class or the library to study. 

What was your favorite part of being a student? 

i love to learn. i have always loved to find new things to talk about about and understand. so as a student, i love this. i might not have always loved it, but i have definitely grown to appreciate it during this past year in college. but i also really love the community here on campus, meeting new people from different majors and seeing how their life experiences have shaped them into who they are now.

When was the first time you experienced a deep sense of belonging in the Church?

The first time I truly felt that I was a part of the church was this summer when I was in Poland. I was a volunteer for world youth day and was working with other young adults from all over the world. The beauty of the universal church amazed me and I saw my part in the faith. I saw that my voice and actions mattered. Through the conversations that I had with my fellow volunteers, I felt such a joy and peace that I had never experienced before then. Not that it is almost a year later, I am still joyful and aware of my role in the Church. This is where I belong and it is such a beautiful and lively community of people.

Tell us about a woman you look up to.

Hands down, I look up to my mom. It might sound cliche, but it is so true. She loves so fully and serves those in need with such joy. Her heart is so full of love and her wisdom never ceases to amaze me. She knows who she is before the Lord and who is in Christ. Her faith inspires me everyday because she lives in such trust. While she doesn’t overly focus on her beauty, she is truly one of the most beautiful women I know because she is confident in who she is and shines with such love form Christ.

Favorite character ever. Go!

Desmond Hume from Lost, BB8 from Rogue One, or Sirius Black from Harry Potter


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