After my Ignatian retreat in 2001, I began reading about St. Therese of Lisieux, whose words head the selection for January 27. One of the women on the retreat had recommended her to me and I, although I knew next to nothing about Catholic saints, followed the advice. To my surprise, I became quite enamored of Therese. I ended up reading most of her writings and many biographies about her.
Frankly, much of the writing -- hers and others about her -- seems overblown and sappy to me, yet still the strength and spirit of this young woman come through. Hers is not a flowery faith, it is muscular. It speaks more of steel than of sweetness.
So, that Diane Mariechild has put a Therese writing on a page about sacrifice makes sense to me. She also makes sure to separate the traditional notions of woman's sacrifice from the steely sacrifice that is less traditionally woman's and so harder to see.
"When women are treated as unworthy and internalize this belief they often give away their power. They give to others because they don't feel worthy to receive." (Italics mine)
How many of us can look at our lives and find instances of this sort of giving? Many, I suspect. I certainly can, and I also know that I did not learn about another way of being a loving and giving woman until well into my forties.
Additionally, the sort of giving that arises from feelings of unworthiness and powerlessness is needy, often selfishness dressed up as sacrifice. It comes from a sense of victimhood. The sort of giving that is conscious, that comes from a centered place of knowing oneself and of making clear choices is compassionate, often self-less. It comes from strength.
Diane offers an example of conscious giving. Do you have examples of your own? How can you let this consciousness guide and inform your giving from now on?
I would love to hear from you. Please click on the word "Comment" below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
Carol D. Marsh
- With a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction degree (Goucher College, August 2014), I am looking at a new phase in my life. From 1992 to 2009, I served as Founding Executive Director of Miriam's House, a residence for homeless women living with AIDS. I left this position when Chronic Migraine Disease overtook my ability to do my job. Now I hope that a writing career will both accommodate the migraines and give me a creative, productive outlet. And soon, September 4, I will launch my Inkshares author page in a bid to hit the 1,000 pre-order goal in 90 days. The book I want to publish is "Nowhere Else I Want to Be," a memoir of ten of my years at Miriam's House.