On Being a Mother and an Academic


A Note from TCW

To those of you who have felt you've been called to a seemingly impossible vocation & have experienced loneliness as a result: we hope this letters serves as a reminder that you aren't alone. God is always with you. In the wise words of this week's writer, Katie Jo, "nothing is impossible for Him. Love those who don't understand you. They are grappling with this Truth too." Thank you Katie Jo for reminding us that we must always strive to seek out, empathize with & support each other, as sisters in Christ. 

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


(Click on the photos to enlarge) 

Oh, Sister!

I see your ache. Your loneliness in the world. Not just as a Catholic in the world. But as a Catholic woman. It can seem that no one quite understands you from the outside. You want to be the complex and intricate woman God made you to be, but people in the world are constantly trying to box you in. They don’t know about the feminine genius. They don’t include you in politics, culture, at work, or sometimes even in the pew. And sometimes, as it is in my case, some of our own have excluded you because you don’t seem to fit.

Let me explain.

I am a woman. A wife. A mother of three under six, plus one little soul in heaven. I am also an academic. A scholar and Ph.D candidate in medieval literature. I’ve had each of my babies while in graduate school. These are two difficult vocations to try to jam together. And people in both worlds remind me nearly every day that what I’m trying to do is impossible. That I “can’t have it all.” I have literally heard that phrase from women in my department and also from women in my church pew.

Loneliness stings because God made us for community. But confidence in His will is sometimes borne of solitude. And in my solitude, with a foot in both worlds but sometimes feeling welcome in neither, I’ve had to cling to Jesus.

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In my clinging, I’ve learned that His capacity to love and to dream big dreams for each and every one of us is inexhaustible.

When the Lord moves us to do something? When He gives us the passion and the talent, and the drive toward a mission? Well, we must listen and receive it. That’s our feminine genius: our unique capacity to say, fiat! Or, in St. Gianna’s words: “Whatever God wants!”

The Lord asks us to do hard things. Sometimes lonely things. Sometimes impossible things. But nothing is impossible for Him. Love those who don’t understand you. They are grappling with this Truth too.

Say it with me: “I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me.” Ps. 13

He loves you. Let us love each other.

- Katie Jo


Get to know Katie Jo

Katie Jo Riviere is a 31-year old Ph.D Candidate in Medieval Literature with specializations in Theology and Philosophies of Selfhood, a wife and a mother of 3. 

Katie Jo LaRiviere Photo
Katie Jo LaRiviere