Blog Template Theology of the Body: Real Woman Award III: Women Thinkers and Scholars Everywhere

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Real Woman Award III: Women Thinkers and Scholars Everywhere

This post was inspired by my friend KI. KI inspires me by her perseverence and accomplishments in her (hard) work in philosophy. These thoughts are drawn from a hazy memory of something that I once read and now cannot trace, but I thought it was great at the time. KI, this is for you girl.

This week's award offers props to various of my girl friends who devote their God-given time as unmarried women to the study of the verities. No, we may not be mothers yet in the biological sense; but as several of our venerable fathers have pointed out, there is a place and a need for the feminine genius in the bearing and nurturing of ideas. A Franciscan nun who I once knew once reminded me that women (married, single, or celibate) are made always to receive; this is a law of the universe. The stance of reception that is appropriate to the scholar is especially appropriate to women scholars as we receive the riches of intellectual traditions under the guidance and help of the Holy Spirit, whether we are pouring over our books or reflecting on the words of our instructors with our male colleagues. Yes, women think differently than men. It is a basic human vocation to think, and thereby to return to God that portion of the fallen human intellect for which we are responsible, and women should rejoice in thinking like women.

In my experience, we women think in a maternal kind of way; we hold ideas until they flourish; we intuit subtleties and nuances and bring conclusions to bear in a way that is slightly more emotive and perhaps slightly more beautiful. There is a sense in which women academics are called to encourage and to heal and to be fruitful even in the halls of the academy. And I have frequently thought that the often passionate process of conveying a message on paper or before a classroom is something- something, though in the teeniest degree- like "giving birth" to a new thing that God has willed to be. In as much as women receive with grace and thanksgiving the riches of the mind, their vocation to nurture and to support can unfold in the ivory towers of academia, bringing something of the Father's home and the heart of a mother and a sister to students and teachers alike.