Tag Archives: daughter

My Meeting with a Pro-abortion Feminist

April 25, 2014

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I had the interesting opportunity this past week to have dinner with Kathy Sloan. Kathy is from N.O.W. – yes that is the National Organization for Woman. Kathy is on the board of directors and is the U.N. representative for N.O.W. We normally would be on different sides of the table, but Kathy is here in Minnesota lobbying with the Minnesota Catholic Conference against the bills legitimizing surrogacy. I finally understand that phrase “Politics makes strange bedfellows.” It seems we agree on some things – Surrogacy is bad for women is one, but I found durring my dinner conversation that we agreed on a few other things as well. If you would like to know more about the Surrogacy issue – check out the Article by Katheryn Mollen from the Minnesota Catholic Conference: http://www.mncc.org/catholic-spirit-wombs-rent-industry-now-legal-minnesota/

Katheryn Mollen was the one who arraigned the meeting between Kathy and I. It was at my request because my 21 year old daughter is involved with her feminist club on her college campus. To get this meeting for my daughter made me the “rock star” in her eyes. Yes we are a diverse family with a lot of different ways in which we approach things and I support her in her efforts even if occasionally she gets it wrong, but the jury isn’t out on her yet! She is a strong independent young woman and I am proud of her.

Back to my meeting with Kathy. I have to say, I was a little anxious about meeting, as I wondered what we would talk about or if it would be adversarial. Driving to dinner I reflected on my own journey in life and my thoughts on the feminist movement. I reflected that I have much to be thankful for from the feminist movement. I am a product of the advances made by Gloria Steinem and others who fought to get equal pay for equal work and I greatly benefited from Title IX that allowed me to participate in High School and intercollegiate sports. When I am talking to young women athletes now – they can’t even imagine that less than 35 years ago there were practically no sports programs for women and if there was a program, it was not funded.

As we conversed over dinner I found out that Kathy was a fan of the music of Hildegard of Bingen (Catholic Saint) and has been working with Catholic bioethicists on the issue of donor eggs and surrogacy. Her reasoning that she is against legitimizing commercial surrogacy, (and feminists are split on this) is that it makes “women nothing more than objects … an oven… something to be used.”

Hmmm… It seems I have heard something like that before…

Man is a person, man and woman equally so, since both were created in the image and likeness of the personal God.” Pope John Paul II

This was an opening to express my difficulty with the traditional feminist movement and its stance on reproductive rights. It was… an opening to evangelize. I said, “As long as the feminist movement focuses on reproductive rights, it will keep women, and men, viewed as objects whose purpose is primarily sexual pleasure.”

My daughter Courtney and Kathy Sloan - Feminist from N.O.W.

My daughter Courtney and Kathy Sloan – Feminist from N.O.W.

From there I started speaking of the new feminism and Pope John Paul II’s writings. I can’t say she became a convert or revert right there, but she asked a lot of questions about this new feminism. I gave her a book of writings by Edith Stien and promised to send her a copy of MULIERIS DIGNITATEM.
Yes, it seemed I had more in common with this feminist from N.O.W. than I ever thought I would. I love building bridges and I have always purported that we can’t evangelize if we never meet people who are different than us.
On a side note… my daughter thinks I am a “rock star!”

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Lovers of the written word will love “The Florist’s Daughter”

May 23, 2008

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THE FLORIST’S DAUGHTER,
by Patricia Hampl

Scanning through radio stations while driving, I happened upon Patricia Hampl reading from her latest memoir. The life she brought to the words she read instantly made me stop the scan function, and for the next I don’t know how many minutes I was mesmerized by her storytelling.
I knew I had to get the book.

“The Florist’s Daughter” proved even better as a read.

The woman can flat out write.

Details of her life growing up in St. Paul, Minn. after World War II serve as the structure for Hampl to tell us what she really wants us to know, and that’s who her parents were and what her relationship was with them.

She does that so well that you feel you know her chain-smoking Irish-American mother and her handsome, reserved Czech father — the florist of the title — well enough that you could write their obituaries if asked to. In fact, maybe that’s what Hampl has done — at book length.

So much of the book is about what the author was thinking during the events of those growing-up years, how she reacted to the events of life that her family lived, and especially how she both remained the same and yet grew.

How many adult children might empathize with Hampl when she writes about agreeing out of a sense of duty to travel with her elderly mother to Ireland — to “offer it up,” as she inserts — only to acknowledge afterward that her mother turned out to be the best travel companion ever.

Can’t you just picture a middle-aged woman sneaking a bottle of chardonnay and a pack of Merit 100s into the senior living center so her mother can enjoy those forbidden pleasures?

Later on she tells of visiting her mother on her death bed this way: “She would hang by her fingernails from the ledge of life.”

Hampl makes it ease to picture the flooded streets of St. Paul’s old Italian levee neighborhood by describing them as “suddenly Venetian.” Minnesota itself, she writes, is situated “at the nosebleed north of the country.”

During car trips in the family Ford, she and her brother would be “enacting the turf wars of the backseat.”

Catholics will be teased throughout as memories of religious practice float through the text, and — because she grew up in its shadow, the Cathedral of St. Paul almost takes on the role of a character as Hampl crafts this wonderful story out of, to use her phrase, “the delicate scrim of daily life.”

There is a sense of place that this University of Minnesota professor has preserved for us, first for the very Catholic hometown of her childhood, perhaps best explained with this quote from the book:
“Ours was a pre-freeway St. Paul, a time-place where it was possible to spend an entire lifetime without straying over the Minneapolis line where the Scandinavians went about their Lutheran business.”

But there is another sense of place Hampl brings us to, the place of a daughter, the roles that fall to daughters, and maybe this paragraph sums it up:
“I sit with my mother, as has been destined since time began because a daughter is a daughter all her life. We stay like this, hand in hand. We have all the time in the world — world without end, amen. Words we recite by heart when she asks me to say the Rosary with her, the last phrase of the Gloria, the little prayer at the end that puts to rest all the Hail Marys.”

Thanks, Patricia. — bz

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