Are you blessed, beautiful and bodacious? You may or may not feel blessed and beautiful, but bodacious? “Bodacious” is not the sort of word that just anyone can slip into conversation. You have to be a certain kind of person—a bodacious one.
For those who aren’t even sure of the exact definition, it means to be audacious (which means boldly willing to take risks) in an attractive kind of way. Like Pat Gohn. It does not surprise me that she titled her new book, Blessed, Beautiful and Bodacious: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhood. It fits.
Pat is a columnist and writer for a number of Catholic websites and podcasts, Among Women, a program for Catholic women that celebrates their faith and life and spotlights the lives of women saints. She has an MA in Theology and Christian Ministry from Franciscan University of Steubenville (2008), a BS in Communications from St. John’s University in New York (1982), and has worked in radio.
Credentials are just the background for this woman. I have met her several times and would describe her as fun, engaging, down-to-earth, friendly, and well, downright bodacious! But she does not want to be bodacious all by herself; she wants to share that calling with other women. Pat encourages all women to delight in the fact that when God made us, he made us good.
“When we accept that, we can recover from any counterfeits we have bought or believed about ourselves,” she writes. Pat points out that following the creation of man and woman, the word “blessing” appears for the first time when God blesses them. “They are the crowing glory of his creation,” Pat writes. “Besides this blessed identity of being made in the image of God, a woman is doubly blessed because she has a destiny—heaven,”
But then, what went wrong along the way? Why have so many suffered? Pat takes us from the first broken relationship due to original sin, to the redemption of humanity, begun by a woman—the new Eve. With the conception of Mary in her mother’s womb, Pat states that a radical new order emerged. “Thanks to Mary, our identity as women is good, indeed, very good. Yes, it’s even blessed,” writes Pat.
This sounds good on paper, but how many women actually feel good? How many of us feel like beloved daughters of God? Pat commiserates with those feeling broken or even abandoned due to wounds from family failings and she seeks to pull them up through Catholic teaching and her own realizations.
“Over time, I found a key that I didn’t know I needed. I had failed to embrace my deepest identity as a baptized person. Whether we know it or not, our Baptism is the deepest grace of our lives. It is the foundation on which all other sacraments are built.” For it is there, she explains, that we meet the fatherhood of God and brought into his family.
Even if we were a prodigal daughter and did not always live up to the dignity God had blessed us with, Pat points out that we can turn our hearts back to the Father and he will receive us with open arms. Our baptism gives us entry into a lifelong conversation with God.
Pat reaches into scripture, Church teaching, and the hearts of women to give clarity to the gifts they have received from God and the call to be gifts to others. It is a story of love–love received and loved given, or in Pat’s words, “our bodacious calling.” She is a mother, a wife, a daughter, and a friend in Christ to other women. Through her book and through her ministry to women, Pat seeks to call us all to higher ground and a deeper understanding of how blessed, beautiful, and bodacious we all are.
Copyright 2013 Patti Maguire Armstrong