Kitchen Catechism: Featured Articles


by Lois Donahue

Since our Pope has declared October 2002 - October 2003 as "The Year of the Rosary", I would like to offer you one of the "Five Human Mysteries" (Mary the Woman, the Wife, the Mother, the Neighbor and the Friend) taken from "A Woman's Rosary"

It isn't easy trying to isolate the woman in you, Mary. You are woman in all that you are and all that you do. Nevertheless I need to try, because unless I know you as a woman, I won't really know you at all. Where do I begin? Maybe with the word 'woman' itself. God first called you that, didn't He? He said to the serpent, "I will put enmity between you and the woman" (Genesis 3:15). That doesn't help much. "Woman" is such an impersonal word, like calling an owl 'bird' or a Great Dane 'dog'. If only He had been more explicit.

You were called "Woman" at Cana, too, when your son asked, "Woman, how does your concern affect me?" (John 2:4). Again so nondescriptive, so impersonal, so devoid of any emotional dimensions.

Later, on that first Good Friday, Jesus spoke from his cross, "Woman, behold, your son" (John 19:26). Once again, 'woman'. What is the significance of 'woman'? Why did God's Word refer to you simply as 'woman'?

There may be many reasons. And I'm certain, Mary, I could find a logical explanation from scholars familiar with your culture and its vocabulary, but I don't think logic is what I want. Something tells me to go with feelings, and I think calling you 'woman' may have been God's way of reminding you and me and every other woman that we are identifiable first and foremost as daughters of God…Female.

At that moment in time when I became me,
God breathed into this body a soul:
With purpose and love was my destiny set:
"She is woman; let that be her role."

No role to be played on a limited stage,
Nor rewritten to mimic a man,
But fashioned in fiber to deal with God's world
As only a woman can.

So let me think as a woman, feel as a woman,
Love as a woman, and seek,
With man, the crossed pathways to heaven,
Leaving footprints distinctly unique.


You know, Mary, sometimes it's very confusing being a woman today. Everywhere I turn someone is redefining the word 'woman' according to 'what' we are rather than 'who' we are. Can't people see that whether we are single or married; whether our ethnicity, cultural backgrounds, or religious preferences are the same or different, whether we chose to scrub floors, run companies, or do both, we are 'women'. God wants this common bond of 'woman' to draw us together rather than drive us apart. Please pray for us all because I think each of us is trying so very hard to be the kind of woman that God wants us to be.

(Permission to reprint this portion of the small Redemptorist pamphlet, A WOMAN'S ROSARY, was given us by Liguori Publications, Liguori, MO 63057-9999. No other reproduction of this material is permitted. To order, call 1-800-325-9521.)

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"Nothing should
frighten or grieve you.
Let not your heart be troubled. Am I, your Mother,
not here with you?"

"Nothing should
frighten or grieve you.
Let not your heart be troubled. Am I, your Mother,
not here with you?"

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