from I, Francis, by Carlo Carretto (1910 - 1988)
There is something new for women, too. Read carefully.
Today, a woman must hear the words of Jesus as a man hears them; and if Jesus says, "Go and make disciples of all nations," it must no longer be that a man hears this in one way and a woman in another.
How you must re-think everything!
And how I would like to say to women of today, "Go!" with all the force of which my spirit is capable, and all my anxiety for the immense needs of a world athirst for the Gospel. This is an urgent invitation.
...Let prayer reign [in your home,] good counsel, and peace. Let your toil, whatever it is, be illuminated by the power of your calling...
Do not copy men. Be authentic. Seek, in your femaleness, the root that distinguishes you from them. It is unmistakable, for it has been willed and created by God himself. Repeat to yourselves every day: a man is not a woman.
Waste no time in approaching men in order somehow to resemble them. Rather, seek to remove yourselves as far as possible from their model. It is not yours, and it is rather marred and muddled, even so.
... And one more thing.
Do not let yourselves be guided by men any longer just because they are men. If you let them lead you do so because they are saints, and do not disdain the help of persons like Clare [referring to Clare, friend of Francis of Assisi] - who, though she is a woman, can tell you things of utility and power.
This reading captures my mind as I often think about woman's ways of knowing, of thinking, of understanding life, theology, God. These are unique. In feminist theology, a foundational sin of woman is her refusal to embrace her calling, fearfully choosing away from her gifts and strengths, and surrendering the responsibility for her own life to someone else.
In many ways it would be is tempting to have a man or men to carry all responsibility. But in healthy life there is an antiphonal aspect to women and men as co-workers and partners in the endeavors of life. I don't ascribe much value to alienation. But to be taught by unwise men, to bend away from women's knowledge for the sake of male thinking, or to concede choices to the whims of another without thoughtful interaction, what good can come of this?
I think I would like a stitching on my wall that simply said, "Prayer, Good Counsel, Peace." What more better could my life and home offer?