Earnestly Seeking Answers
Before converting to Catholicism, Corynne Staresinic believed common misconceptions derived from “cheap caricatures” of Catholicism about women in the Church, particularly, the notion that a faithful Catholic woman’s destiny lays either in stern religious life or focused entirely on serving men and producing children. Staresinic had wondered how any woman would feel truly welcome in this environment.
“Women are given so many different narratives,” Staresinic said. Earnestly seeking answers, she discovered she was in holy company with other women and men who both affirmed women’s actual roles in the Church and inspired her online platform, which spreads the message that every woman has a valued place in the Catholic Church.
Her misgivings were answered through Pope St. John Paul II’s Letter to Women and online Catholic resources.
“I was on Catholic Answers all the time and watching ‘Journey Home’ by EWTN.”
These resources brought clarity to this new Catholic who had myriad questions. “I found stories of people coming to the faith from any and every background and I saw I wasn’t alone.”
Staresinic quickly discovered that each person’s identity was fulfilled, not suppressed, when pursuing holiness. “Christ offers us the true narrative of who we are as women. We’re empowered by Christ,” she said. “The media helped me while I was working through all of this on my own.”
These discoveries and new understandings led her to found The Catholic Woman, an online apostolate launched by Staresinic and her husband to bring the truth of feminine genius to the world. Through stories and letters from Catholic women, free mini- documentaries, and a book published just last year, The Catholic Woman bolsters readers’ faith experiences, conveying that Jesus comes to them in their particular circumstances. Its website, thecatholicwoman.co, underscores the apostolate’s mission to “foster a sense of belonging amongst millennial Catholic women by illustrating the many faces and vocations of women in the Church so that each and every one of them is inspired to intentionally live out their faith.”
“I’ve realized for myself that God wants to meet us personally where we are. He wants me and loves me and has a story for my life. I’ve been moved to better consider that God calls us to unity as Catholic women, not uniformity,” said Staresinic.
In the home, office and beyond, subscribers and followers learn that a woman’s place is in the heart of Christ. Multi-faceted, The Catholic Woman’s foundation is its collection of deeply personal letters from varied Catholic women, relating how each found belonging in the Catholic Church – yielding fruits of freedom and community.
Smiling as she recalls messages from followers about The Catholic Woman’s impact, Staresinic said, “In the testimonies we’ve received from readers about how our mission has impacted their lives, we’ve [heard about women facing] isolation in their faith and [struggling] to find others like them in their communities — whether they are single or working in ministry, or in a secular workplace… they’ve shared that our letters have encouraged and strengthened them in their own faith, [and] they have been moved to keep growing in holiness and keep seeking God,” she said.
Staresinic shared the story of one professional who struggled to find her place in the Church.
“She was taught prior to her conversion that the Church teaches that a woman’s place is exclusively in the home. So, after she converted, she struggled with figuring out how her professional life fit into the life of the Church. But […] the letters on our website from other women like her have shown her that the ‘tenderness and the beauty of being a woman can spread through all aspects of one’s life, and not only family life, but professional life as well.’”
This is just one example of The Catholic Woman’s impact on souls, and online followers are growing both in number and in faith. Commenting on the Internet community’s enthusiastic response to her young ministry, she said, “[It] speaks to the need for this kind of mission — one that explores the theological basis and the practical implications of the Church’s vision on women; one that earnestly addresses common feminist questions about Catholicism; and one that is completely free and accessible online to any Catholic woman who is seeking answers to these kinds of questions.”
The sky’s the limit for Staresinic, her team, and The Catholic Woman. Visit thecatholicwoman.co for their free, new video program, Cultivating Catholic Feminism, and to purchase A Place to Belong: Letters from Catholic Women for yourself or women in your life.
This article appeared in the February 2022 edition of The Catholic Telegraph Magazine. For your complimentary subscription, click here.