“You enrich the world's understanding and help to make human relations more honest and
authentic.” (Letter of John Paul II to Women)
We often associate the term “femininity” with lace, long hair, soft voices
(Cambridge Dictionary)--but it would be foolish to say this is its epitome.
The feminine heart is better expressed as that which is valiant, captivating, and wildly wondrous
in her mystery. Rather than getting caught up in the loftiness and seemingly
impossible effort to accurately pin down what “defines” feminine—here are a few ways we have
discovered the joy of cultivating our feminine genius.
Our clothing is supposed to move with us and our goals (not us moving and shifting for our clothing).
When we feel restricted, anxious, or over-analyze how we look throughout our day,
considering the why behind what we chose to wear can help ground us. Does it allow me to complete my tasks properly? Does it fit my environment? Do I feel comfortable, confident, beautiful? Do I feel like an impostor in this outfit or does it resonate with my heart?
The feminine genius is also expressed when we choose to be full of life and in awe at beauty (even in the most ordinary things).
A few examples of movements towards this fullness:
Giving ourselves the time to rest and receive in prayer
Choosing to adventure out (on the town, on a hike, on a walk) with a friend
Reading classic literature
Wearing that dress or jacket we have been holding back from wearing because it might be “too much”
The more we choose to take on our daily tasks as gifted opportunities for that moment, the more we open ourselves to be filled with the richness of life (and inevitably overflows to those around us). The feminine genius is often expressed in a creative wellspring of ideas. Creativity is often spurred when we allow ourselves to ponder and be affected by what catches our eye.
Lord, renew my vision--that I may become sensitive to beauty in the ordinary--and through this help me to rest so I have the strength to serve and glorify you.
“But I'm not creative—I'm exhausted and don't have time to think about this.”
This is why it is best to cultivate our feminine genius alongside others. We are not meant to
figure it all out on our own. Look through the lens of those women you admire—ask them where
their inspiration and motivation comes from.
The feminine genius at its finest is a resting place, which entails hospitality (beyond, “here's
how to bake a cake from scratch" and "how to the table properly”). We have the opportunity to be
a presence in a room that offers consolation, safety, and affirmation of others’ goodness.
When someone enters our space, do we react to them from a place of self-centeredness, or do we receive and respond to them knowing there is nothing to prove? Do we choose to see the person or are we halted by what we associate them with? Are we choosing to listen actively and empathically? Do we dress up for people as a way to let them know their presence is special? Choosing to authentically live out and embrace our feminine genius breaks down barriers and turns the labels and boxes to ash. When we encounter a woman who genuinely receives us as we are by listening and being present to us it is entirely freeing and healing.
Lord, give me the grace to become a woman that receives, is strong in her convictions, and
celebrates little victories.
For the record, clothing does not define the feminine genius.
At the same time, it has the capacity to be a vessel that expresses it. The clothing is not changing us— items of clothing do not change my identity. What is the intention behind what I choose to wear? How do I wear this piece and what am I wearing it for—to what purpose?
We have been given a mission to mend relations through honesty and authenticity. We can share the truth of who we are through the way we decorate our homes, style our wardrobes, share truth in difficult phone calls, hold an open posture that allows for dialogue, choose to love when we are tired, affirm the woman next in line at the grocery—the list goes on.
Lord, help us to challenge ourselves to this standard—with gentleness and patience.
“The Church desires to give thanks to the Most Holy Trinity for the 'mystery of woman' and for
every woman-for all that constitutes the eternal measure of her feminine dignity, for the 'great
works of God', which throughout human history have been accomplished in and through women.”
Whatever you choose to wear today, you make it feminine. And we are so grateful for how fully you are yourself.