Our present culture does not value and esteem womanhood very much. Catholic writer, speaker, and podcaster Pat Gohn is working to change that. With Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhood (Ave Maria Press, 2013) , Gohn “seeks to celebrate womanhood by exploring a woman’s dignity, gifts, and mission.”
As one might expect from the title, Gohn describes women as blessed, beautiful, and bodacious. “We are blessed that we have simply been called to be.” Baptism serves as a tattoo on our souls. We have been branded by God, “claimed as his own.” We are children of God with a loving Father who “always knows what’s best for his daughters.”
Our beauty is more than skin deep. It is centered on “four dynamic gifts” from God: receptivity, generosity, sensitivity, and maternity. Receptivity is “receiving another person for his own merits.” It is “saying yes to love.” When we make that decision to love, we also live generously. “We may never know who might be ultimately blessed by our generosity. The ripple effects are often shielded from our sight. But God uses our generosity for good, to bear good fruit.” Sensitivity is also part of love. It involves seeing with one’s heart, to be able to help and serve others when and where they need it most. Maternity encompasses more than the physical ability to give birth. “All women are entrusted with the call to care for the people within their sphere of influence.” In this section, Gohn discusses the beauty and responsibilities of both physical and spiritual motherhood.
Bodacious refers to our reason for being on this earth, our individual mission given to us by God. A combination of bold and audacious, this gift invites us to embrace all that God made us to be.
Gohn writes in a very conversational style, sharing stories from her own experience in order to illustrate how God works in a person’s life. She tells of her romance with her husband, the challenges of parenting, the importance of friends, and her experience with cancer while still in her thirties. She shares her fears and joys and how she developed a relationship with Mary, whom she holds up as a model of all that a Christian woman should be.
With a Master’s Degree in Theology and certificates in adult faith formation leadership and the theology of the body, Gohn brings much to the conversation of what it means to be a modern Catholic woman, a daughter of God. Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious is wonderful reading for any woman who wants to embrace the gifts God gave her.