I left Women's Group with the Young Adult Women of my parish tonight just filled to the brim, feeling so full of God's love by seeing Him working in so many women in wonderful ways, and being seeing all of the women being so supportive of each other on their journey of faith.
In a time when women, young and old, are seen cutting each other down in person and on social media, it is beautiful to see the gift of authentic female friendship, and the power and depth those relationships can have.
Women understand each other's experiences and hearts in a unique way, and share in, as Saint Pope John Paul II describe in his Apostolic Letter, Mulieris Dignitatem: On the Dignity and Vocation of Women, the feminine genius and the feminine heart. We don't grow as individuals by criticizing other women, in any aspect, and we have such power when we can witness women being their authentic and true selves, living out the Gospel in their own lives.
Living in our current culture is hard enough to do without other women, even our friends, tearing us down. It can be difficult, too, to be authentically present with others when we are consumed by our own wounds and worries. However, our lives are enriched by being and having a good friend, and God tells us that in the Bible:
"Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter; whoever finds one finds a treasure.
Faithful friends are beyond price, no amount can balance their worth.
Faithful friends are life-saving medicine; those who fear God will find them."
I could try to say more, however there are a lot of really smart, and eloquent women who have spoken about the topic who I've linked below!
I need to thank all the women in my life whose authentic friendship have enriched my life, from my Newman ladies at UNC, to my ACE and CHOP ladies in Philly, and the wonderful women of St. Augustine in Gainesville who I am getting to know: thank you all for being your true selves.
Check out these awesome links on authentic friendship!
- Among the Lilies: Desiring Authentic Sisterhood: https://cameronfradd.com/2016/12/07/in-search-of-authentic-sisterhood/
- Do Something Beautiful: What the Friendship?!: https://leahdarrow.com/podcast/s1-e5-what-the-friendship-with-cohost-sarah-kroger/
- Lifeteen: Authentic Friendship made me a better person: http://lifeteen.com/blog/authentic-friendships-made-me-a-better-person/
- Emily Wilson on Why we can't just be nice to each other:
In fact, woman has a genius all her own, which is vitally essential to both society and the Church. It is certainly not a question of comparing woman to man, since it is obvious that they have fundamental dimensions and values in common. However, in man and in woman these acquire different strengths, interests and emphases and it is this very diversity which becomes a source of enrichment. – Blessed John Paul II