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fem·in·ae   fi·de :: women of faith

What is Feminae Fidae

Our Catholic tradition has a very specific view of the purpose and identity of each person. We are made in the Imago Dei – the Image of God (Gen 1:26) and are each created to become saints. That is the destiny of every person born into this world. And women, with their inherent Feminine Genius, have a special role in creating the families and culture that enable this to happen for others.

Feminae Fidae, a semester long program that meets three times a month, is an outreach of the St. Philomena Retreat and is under the aegis of the John Paul II Resource Center of the Diocese of Phoenix. It is intended for unmarried, Catholic women between the ages of 19-27. There are modules and teachings designed to enable an encounter with Jesus Christ, formation in authentic femininity and the virtues, and approaching a state of life decision with a Catholic understanding.

During that period, the women will become friends and sisters in Christ, willing to support and help each other grow stronger in the virtues. This sisterhood is designed to strengthen each participant as they strive to overcome the pressure of the world to be less than God designed them to be. There will be opportunities for some adventure and fun to foster joy and community.

Why Feminae Fidae

For most of the 20th century, the role of most women in society was well defined. Despite economic or educational status, most women understood that marriage and motherhood were on the horizon.

In just a few short decades, female gender roles have changed. Both men and women are foregoing or postponing marriage at rates exceeding those in the past. The average age of marriage for women has moved from 20 in the 1950s to over 28 today. Many women, while exceling in the classroom or in the working world, are unsure of what comes next in life. Those that have chosen to enter college find, that with few exceptions, the environment is hostile to family values and a Catholic/Christian world-view. No matter the chosen path, women find themselves in a place of searching for relationships among like-minded females and waiting for committed relationships with men if called to the vocation of marriage.

All young women find themselves in a culture that is hostile to the “feminine genius”, a phrase popularized by St. Pope John Paul II, that describes the unique capabilities of womanhood. Since childhood, women are told that their femininity and its inherent traits are less important than achieving and exceling in ways like that of their male counterparts. They are told to take the lead in all matters, to be competitive to break through the “glass ceiling”, and that they can really have it all. Is it any wonder, that even with successes of the world, women are longing for more out of life or that they find themselves in the place of waiting?

We, the founders of Feminae Fidae, do not entertain grandiose ideas of changing the world. We do, however, strive to inspire and support a few young women to embrace their feminine genius and live lives as disciples of Jesus Christ. In doing this, the women of this sisterhood will be a light in the darkness, and the world will begin to change.

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