I think so much about how female sainthood is essentially raising your head, staring the world into its blind eyes and then saying no.
women refusing touch, food, safety to follow a divine call is a fundamental theme in catholic tradition. women couldn’t choose, and so – they refused. the only weapon they had was deciding not to take part in what the world was asking of them (marriage & childbirth & conversion & acceptance), and these women understood they had to turn their faces the other way. cast their eyes firmly on god. and say, no. you will not have me.
we see it happening over and over throughout millennias –
it’s Jeanne, flashing through the battlefield, first among her soldiers. she’s been hit by an arrow but her mind clear: she’s heard the voices of angels & seen saint Caterina calling her, urging her to take the sword. so she’s cut her hair, and refused the dress, and welcomed the fire at the trial’s end.
it’s saint Caterina herself, a century before, who cut her hair and stopped eating to refuse all prospects of an arranged marriage & motherhood, and also to become a nun. (the one power a woman had over her body – refusal to keep it living)
it’s saint Triduana being harassed by a suitor and choosing blindness if it meant loneliness with herself and her work; liberty and choice coming from detaching yourself from societal expectations.
it’s saint Felicity, her child in her arms, standing up against her father and being incarcerated after he attacked her. and still resisting. admitting to being deadly afraid, but not backing down.
it’s saint Thecla refusing marriage and running away from home to travel & teach the faith, thecla who scorned a powerful suitor who assaulted her and was thrown to the beasts as a punishment.
(but the beasts didn’t touch thecla. the women in the arena started screaming in fear for this young woman from a town in turkey, in front of animals twice her size and ten times fiercer. and the beasts didn’t touch thecla. the lioness and the female bear turned on the other animals and saved her. a woman facing abuse and refusing to allow it to touch her inner core is a woman beloved by god.)
women putting a wall between them and others. you cannot touch me if i don’t want to. and even if you manage to, there’s a secret nucleus inside of me, that eludes you reach. there’s a purity in me you cannot touch.
women taking a stance in a time of fear, in a time of violence, meant death – and female martyrs chose death over and over and over, by fire and beheading and torture, for two millennias of men & society trying to grab them by their necks and forcing them to follow their rules.
in a world that demanded a constant bowing down of their dignity and personal agency, a simple refusal is a crime punishable with death. and the only thing these women could do to create & preserve a sense of self was saying no. and then clasping their hearts around that blinding no and remaining decisive, gentle, unmovable in the monstrous face of brutal force, of mutilation, of distorted societal fear of women choosing their own path.
if death is the next step, then i shall take it. (i am not afraid, i was born for this.)
This is catholic mysticism and I’m fucking here for it
turns out that i’ve never been anything but a mystic & I’m glad y’all like it <3