Women sometimes feel like second-class citizens, the “others” living in a man’s world. We may feel neglected, forgotten, and left behind because it is the “man’s job” to provide for the family and go out and work, and a “woman’s work” is at home with the kids. Being a housewife doesn’t pay, and when we do go out into the working world, we seem to be paid less and promoted less often. When we have kids, we are asked how we can balance a family and work, while the man receives no such question or consideration.
Here is what is wonderful news for all women, and something we must take to heart: God’s ways are not man’s ways. And Thank God for that! Here are some times when God has used the faithful and prayerful woman to spread the Catholic faith and make the world better place because of their work.
Mary, Our Queen
Yes, let’s start off with the obvious: Mary, the Mother of God. If it wasn’t for her faithfulness to God, the belief that her purpose was to be the “handmaid of the Lord,” her “yes” and openness to allow God to work through her and bring Jesus Christ into the world, the world would have been a drastically different place. Mary was a faithful servant, prayed to God, became a disciple of her Son, and her heart was pierced as he hung on the Cross. But that’s not the end of her prayers. Still today, she intercedes for us, going to her Son as she did at the Wedding at Cana, and brings millions of people to her Son and into the Catholic Church. Thank God for our prayerful Mother! Mary, Our Queen, pray for us!
Mary is the perfect Biblical example of the “modern” woman who lived in the world and had little faith until her encounter with Jesus. And what an encounter it was! In Luke 8:1-3, Jesus freed her from not one but eight demons. Oh, the torment! After, she became a faithful disciple of Jesus and was one of the women at the foot of the Cross when all others deserted our Lord. She was rewarded for her faithfulness and called the “Apostle to the Apostles,” by being the first person to be visited by the Risen Jesus. He sent her to proclaim to the Apostles that she had seen the Lord. What a blessing to her and for all women who spread the message of the Risen Jesus. St. Mary Magdalene, pray for us!
St. Catherine of Siena
While depicted in “nun-like” garb in pictures, St. Catherine was not a nun but a lay Dominican of the Third Order. Her parents wanted her to marry, but ultimately, she lived a quiet religious life at home. She considered herself to be married to Christ, and she received the stigmata, although it wasn’t visible until her death. During the outbreak of the plague, she ministered to the sick and the dying. She is most famous for the strongly worded letters written to Pope Gregory XI and Pope Urban VI, where she demanded he move the papacy from Avignon back to Rome. This woman of prayer single-handedly saved the Catholic Church and the legitimacy of the papacy. She died the same age as our Lord, at 33. St. Catherine, pray for us!
St. Faustina was a young religious who came from a poor family who struggled during World War I. While in the convent in Poland, she received visions from Jesus, revealing to us His Divine Mercy. He asked her to have his image painted, to be meditated on, and to spread the message of Jesus’ endless mercy and to live life mercifully toward others. Fun Fact: After seeing the first painting (painted by Kazimirowski) of Jesus, she did not like it. Jesus told her it is not the image itself, but the pouring of Blood and Water which is the Mercy which is to be meditated upon. The image was printed on small cards which could easily be hidden by the Nazi’s, and countless miracles have been attributed to this image. St. Faustina, pray for us!
Born in 1923 as Rita Antoinette Rizzo, Rita had a very rough family life. When her father left, she with her mother and four brothers were forced to move in with her grandparents. As a young girl, she was saved by an angel when she ran into the street in front of a car and froze. She took her vows in 1953, taking the name Sister Mary Angelica of the Annunciation. Her body was miraculously healed several times, from pneumonia, tonsillitis, kidney stones, knee and back pain. She prayed to the Lord if she was healed, she would start a new convent and Monastery (Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration and Our Lady of the Angels) and would spread His Word to the world.
The Lord answered her prayers and provided all that she needed to build first a radio station, and ultimately a TV channel. She kept her trust in God (when other doubted), and He worked through her to build EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network) in 1981. Against the odds, but God with her, He provided everything she needed at His perfect time. She suffered a stroke which left her with very limited speech in 2001, and she suffered and prayed for us until her death on Easter in 2016. Mother Angelica, pray for us!
Yes, that’s right, You! The Lord has a special place for all of us in His grand plan, and it will be accomplished through our prayer time and meditation with Him. While this post was focused on the women who played a role in spreading the Good News, all men and women of prayer play an integral role in the saving of souls and the softening of hearts. It is our job now to be Christ for others, and the easiest way to know what we need to do to be successful is to talk directly to our Boss, God, through prayer and meditation.
The new book When Women Pray, by Kathleen Beckman inspired me to write this post about a few of the lowly women who changed the world. It was by their prayer and faith in God they were able to “move mountains.” All of us have this power, and eleven of these prayerful women share their stories in this book of the power of prayer in their lives.
Do not miss a single moment with God, get down on your knees right now and ask him to reveal what his plan is for YOU! And don’t forget to pray for me.