Today, a comment on the witness of women:
12. Within these various forms, I would stress too that the “genius of woman” is seen in feminine styles of holiness, which are an essential means of reflecting God’s holiness in this world. Indeed, in times when women tended to be most ignored or overlooked, the Holy Spirit raised up saints whose attractiveness produced new spiritual vigor and important reforms in the Church. We can mention Saint Hildegard of Bingen, Saint Bridget, Saint Catherine of Siena, Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. But I think too of all those unknown or forgotten women who, each in her own way, sustained and transformed families and communities by the power of their witness.
Many men have significant devotions, even friendships with female saints. It is a lamentable thing that women populate less than twenty percent of the Roman Martyrology–a bias in favor of priests, and perhaps priests who promote official sainthood. We need not confine a search for paragons of holiness to recognized saints, thank goodness.
A brief conclusion to this section, “The Lord Calls.”
13. This should excite and encourage us to give our all and to embrace that unique plan that God willed for each of us from eternity: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you” (Jer 1:5).
Reading histories of saints is often overlooked. Many parish libraries provide such works, and even the brief commentaries on many liturgical sites can spark interest in following a holy person. Again, not for imitation, but inspiration.