The Feminine Genius is Not Just Barefoot and Pregnant

Anabelle Hazard

“I could never stay home barefoot and pregnant with kids all day,” my twenty-four-year-old law student self thought. “I’d be so bored; I’d go crazy! I’ll miss adult conversation. I’ll waste my education. I couldn’t say goodbye to me-time. I won’t be able to afford designer purses and exotic vacations.  I refuse to be a slave to my ovaries and my children. I will lose my identity!”

Through the seasons of life and through discernment with my husband, I worked full time, part-time, stayed at home barefoot and pregnant, and am currently launching a writing career from home.

Fifteen years later, I can laugh at myself as I realize that all those arguments were borne from ignorance.  The stay at home wife and mother doesn’t have time to be bored with all the service to her family. She may go crazy if she courses through  her vocation without relying on God’s grace but if she does, crazy becomes peace. She will use her education, no matter the degree, to teach her most important students, her children, whose souls she is tasked with nurturing. Being freed from her 9-5 office, she will surprisingly discover considerable time to pursue her interests: photography, writing, massage therapy, art, baking, knitting, homeopathy, decorating, music, blogging, craft, or gardening after taking care of home and family. She will shrug off designer purses from Europe a negligible loss to all that she stands to gain. She accepts her femininity, appreciates her fertility, owns her inherent dignity and finds her identity in the Feminine Genius.

St. Pope John Paul II in his Letter to Women wrote: The Church sees in Mary the highest expression of the “feminine genius” and she finds in her a source of constant inspiration. Mary called herself the “handmaid of the Lord” (Lk 1:38). Through obedience to the Word of God she accepted her lofty yet not easy vocation as wife and mother in the family of Nazareth. Putting herself at God’s service, she also put herself at the service of others: a service of love.”

Let me be clear: I don’t imply that only stay at home barefoot and pregnant women are qualified to be feminine geniuses. I owe my spiritual, intellectual and emotional formation to a working mother, who helped put food on our table.  I count the female nurses who ministered to me, the religious nuns who counseled me, the career friends and sisters who spoiled me, the teachers who inspired me, the lawyers who mentored me, as gifts of God.  In short, I believe every woman who continuously discerns and obeys God’s will is working in service to humanity right where she is.

There is a place for each woman in this world.  We are part of the Body of Christ. Many are called to serve exclusively in the heart of the home; others as head of a classroom, some as the healing hands of the hospital or fingers of a manuscript, a few the voice of the innocent, and for one special woman, the womb of the Savior.   If we women are working committedly as “handmaids of the Lord”, we are most certainly part of the feminine genius. The litmus test is beyond what we do and where we work; it’s Who holds our hearts and what we’re willing to give up to follow Christ.

Fifteen years ago St. Pope John Paul II’s definition of “feminine genius” escaped me.  I secured my own wants, needs, ambition, comfort, agenda, and fashion before everyone and all else.  I roared on the pedestal of self, fighting fertility, babies, children, men, tradition, Holy Mother Church, other women, and myself as I fought the path of happiness that God offered me.

Thankfully, studying the life of Mary saved me from misguided philosophies and my ignorant self. It was her role in the Church, her presence in the gospels, from her Fiat at Nazareth’s Annunciation, to Bethlehem’s nativity, to the foot of Calvary’s Cross, via the kitchen of Cana, that helped me understand God has a destiny for me, and for every woman who loves Him, as He did for his Mother.

Christian women can learn tremendously by contemplating Mary’s example.  The Mother of God embraced her virginity and fertility, womanhood and vocation, practiced obedience and humility, in unwavering service to God.  Favored by God (Luke 1:30), full of grace (Luke 1:28), blessed is she among women (Luke 1:42).  Not even Esther, Ruth, Rebecca, Rahab or Hannah hold Mary’s privilege.

St. Pope John Paul II explains a timeless Christian paradox: “precisely through this service, Mary was able to experience in her life a mysterious, but authentic “reign”. It is not by chance that she is invoked as “Queen of heaven and earth”. The entire community of believers thus invokes her; many nations and peoples call upon her as their “Queen”. For her, “to reign” is to serve! Her service is “to reign”!


Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest

5 thoughts on “The Feminine Genius is Not Just Barefoot and Pregnant”

    “God did not create woman from man’s head, that he should command her, nor from his feet, that she should be his slave, but rather from his side, that she should be near his heart”
    It’s amazing how God made man, and so beautiful how he made woman!

    Why did God create Woman from Man’s rib, when He could
    have simply created her from dust, as He did Man? This
    is a story that puts a beautiful touch on the
    “When I created the heavens and the earth, I spoke
    them into being. When I created man, I formed him from
    the dust of the Earth and breathed life into his
    nostrils. But you, woman, I fashioned after I breathed
    the breath of life into man because your nostrils are
    too delicate. I allowed a deep sleep to come over him
    so I could patiently and perfectly fashion you. Man
    was put to sleep so that he could not interfere with
    the creativity. From one bone I fashioned you. I chose
    the bone that protects man’s life. I chose the rib,
    which protects his heart and lungs and supports him,
    as you are meant to do.”
    “Around this one bone I shaped you. I modeled you. I
    created you perfectly and beautifully. Your
    characteristics are as the rib, strong yet delicate
    and fragile. You provide protection for the most
    delicate organ in man, his heart. His heart is the
    center of his being; his lungs hold the breath of
    life. The rib cage will allow itself to be broken
    before it will allow damage to the heart. Support man
    as the rib cage supports the body.”
    “You were not taken from his feet, to be under him,
    nor were you taken from his head, to be above him. You
    were taken from his side, to stand beside him and be
    held close to his side. You are my perfect angel. You
    are my beautiful little girl. You have grown to be a
    splendid woman of excellence, and my eyes fill when I
    see the virtue in your heart. Your eyes: don’t change
    them. Your lips: how lovely when they part in prayer.
    Your nose so perfect in form, your hands so gentle to
    touch. I’ve caressed your face in your deepest sleep;
    I’ve held your heart close to mine. Of all that lives
    and breathes, you are the most like me.”
    “Adam walked with me in the cool of the day and yet he
    was lonely. He could not see me or touch me. He could
    only feel me. So everything I wanted Adam to share and
    experience with me, I fashioned in you: my holiness,
    my strength, my purity, my love, my protection and
    support. You are special because you are the extension
    of me.”
    “Man represents my image, woman – my emotions.
    Together, you represent the totality of God.
    So man:
    treat woman well. Love her, respect her, for she is
    fragile. In hurting her, you hurt Me. What you do to
    her, you do to Me. In crushing her, you only damage
    your own heart, the heart of your Father and the heart
    of her Father.
    Woman, support man. In humility, show
    him the power of emotion I have given you. In gentle
    quietness show your strength. In love, show him that
    you are the rib that protects his inner self.”

  2. Recently at an optometrist office I was asked if I am allergic to anything. I thought and replied, “feminists.”
    I am 73 and adopted my abortion-survivor-15-month old grand daughter. My 63 year old wife with a Masters degree in Counseling seems revived. God’s gift to Adam was in fact a helpmeet – not a female lawyer.

  3. Superb!
    May there be more women like you who comes to realize what it means to be truly feminine and a genius 🙂

  4. Pingback: Patriarch Sako: Iraqi Christians Risk a Real Genocide -

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: