Johnnette’s UN speech was inspiring for many reasons, but what I loved the most was the way it opened my eyes to a deeper understanding of God’s mission for women and finding it through our authentic femininity. After reflecting on it more, I couldn’t help but question why I had never seen myself, or women in general, as makers and builders of peace. Because of this, her speech taught me how crucial our roles are as women.
Johnnette does this in more profound ways than one, but I want to share what stuck out to me the most, starting with when she reads the Council Fathers’ concluding message in 1965.
“Not so long ago, the Council Fathers at the Second Vatican Council issued an appeal to women, beseeching them to “watch carefully over the future of our race” because “it is for you to save the peace of the world.”
No pressure there! But how can we not simply feel empowered by these words? Even our past Council Fathers have recognized how significant our roles are and how dire the world would be without us. I had never heard more empowering words from men before. In the past, we have correlated masculinity with strength and feminity with weakness. But what if there is a different type of strength we should be growing in, that doesn’t come from masculinity but is entirely our own? Could there be a greater strength to our feminity than we realize? The Church tells us so!
She also ties in the story of Adam and Eve, connecting Eve’s creation to our purpose.
“In short, Eve’s very presence helps define him (Adam) to himself, informs him in some intuitive way about who he is and what his purpose is, and sets for him a direction in which he should go. In a manner of speaking, you might say Eve is Adam’s North Star.”
What a beautiful reminder that women are essential to the world! That it would be lost and corrupt without us! There is nothing like being reassured that we are needed. But how can we take this role seriously, invoke change and maintain peace, if we remain self-seeking? It is so easy to get carried away with things that don’t matter, which is why we need to remind ourselves of our purpose in living our lives for others and bringing peace to this world. The world may try to tell us otherwise, but the only way we can truly be empowered is when we accept and thrive in our roles as peace makers, in growing stronger in humility and compassion.
And who could be a better example of this but the Blessed Virgin Mary, the new Eve? Johnnette reminds us that Mary appeared to her children in their own ethnicity and language, giving a message of peace. And after talking about Mother Mary, Johnnette gave a list of other women who followed her example. The two that spoke to me the most was Mother Teresa and Saint Joan of Arc. Both are great role models, but also represent building and maintaining peace in very different ways. How cool is it that we aren’t limited to what kind of peacemaker we can be? We all have our own unique ways of bringing peace to this world!
I can only imagine what the world would be like if we all took these words to heart. That we had, as Johnnette said, “opportunities to bring the women of the world into a deeper knowledge of their feminine genius, so that the female mind can be renewed, restored and calibrated to the deep and true understanding of who she is and what her glorious potential can be on behalf of all of mankind.” With this message our mission as women becomes clear and through Christ, we can do great things to promote peace through our femininity.
Let this prayer of Saint Francis (often quoted by Mother Teresa), be our own! “Lord, make me a channel of thy peace… that where there is despair, I may bring hope; that where there are shadows, I may bring light.”
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Christine “Christy” Moore is a student at Florida State University who will be graduating this summer with a degree in English Editing Writing and Media with a minor in Education. Currently interning at Women of Grace, she was born and raised in a strong Catholic home with two amazing parents and three siblings and is active in her parish music ministry.