In Response to Remembering V-Day
Our readers sound off on the defense of The Vagina Monologues
…Sr. Mary Eve responds…
The reader response to Sr. Mary Eve’s article on The Vagina Monologues has been nothing short of overwhelming. In one 24-hour period, more than 10,000 people read it—an all-time high for a single feature on BustedHalo.com—thanks in a part to the piece being picked up by a number of other web outlets like AndrewSullivan.com, New Oxford Review, spiritdaily and Whispers in the Loggia.
Below is a selection of letters that Sr. Mary Eve responds directly to. On subsequent pages we’ve published some of the emails we’ve received from readers.
Sr. Mary Eve responds
Among the responses generated by my article, the majority of them defended the Virgin Birth. Adam Streitenberger wrote in giving the sources for this dogmatic teaching of the Church:
“I had one correction for your article. It is in fact defined doctrine that Mary’s virginity remains not only before, during, and after the birth of Christ, but that her hymen, in fact, remained intact. Though the opinion of Ray Brown may disagree, Vatican II, nonetheless, defined this in footnote 10 in Paragraph 57 of Chapter 8 of Lumen Gentium. As you know, Lumen Gentium is a dogmatic statement of extraordinary infallibility. The text reads: “57. This union of the Mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ’s virginal conception up to His death it is shown first of all when Mary, arising in haste to go to visit Elizabeth, is greeted by her as blessed because of her belief in the promise of salvation and the precursor leaped with joy in the womb of his mother (cf. Luke 1:41-45). This union is manifest also at the birth of Our Lord, who did not diminish His mother’s virginal integrity but sanctified it,(10*) when the Mother of God joyfully showed her firstborn Son to the shepherds and Magi.” The footnote contains four references that clearly state the physical intactness of Mary’s hymen during and after the birth of Christ. The texts refers to the First Lateran Council’s Canon 3; St. Leo the Great’s Tome to Flavian; the Council of Chalcedon, which refers to the seal of her womb as remaining intact; and St. Ambrose on the Instruction of a Virgin, which explicitly mentions the intactness of the hymen. As a traditional order, I am sure you could read this in the original Latin.”
First of all, for the record, I believe that Mary remained a virgin before, during and after giving birth to Christ. I think it would be well to provide the actual sources spoken of above:
St. Leo’s letter to Flavian says this: “The same eternal, only-begotten of the eternal begetter was born of the holy Spirit and the virgin Mary…. He was conceived from the holy Spirit inside the womb of the virgin mother. Her virginity was as untouched in giving him birth as it was in conceiving him.” Further on, Leo wrote: “It was the holy Spirit that made the virgin pregnant, but the reality of the body derived from body.” And finally, “So without leaving his Father’s glory behind, the Son of God comes down from his heavenly throne and enters the depths of our world, born in an unprecedented order by an unprecedented kind of birth…. By an unprecedented kind of birth, because it was inviolable virginity which supplied the material flesh without experiencing sexual desire. And the fact that the birth was miraculous does not imply that in the lord Jesus Christ, born from the virgin’s womb, the nature is different from ours.”
The only reference that I can find in the Council of Chalcedon in 451 states that: “So, following the saintly fathers, we all with one voice teach the confession of one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ:…begotten before the ages from the Father as regards his divinity, and in the last days the same for us and for our salvation from Mary, the virgin God-bearer, as regards his humanity….” I have searched and searched this document and cannot find one reference to the “seal of her womb as remaining intact”, or anything that comes close to this phrase. Several Catholic websites have posted a defense of the Virgin Birth (whose authorship is, oddly enough, withheld). This defense says that this Council of Chalcedon stated that “‘as was fitting for God, He sealed her womb.’ The Greek has ‘sphragisanta.’ In context, it refers to after birth. Yet that would seem to imply a belief in physical integrity ‘in partu.’” I don’t know if seeming implications would constitute the actual meaning intended by the council Fathers since dogmatic statements are generally quite explicitly set forth so that what is to be believed is unequivocally understood as we have seen above.
The Lateran Council in 649 stated, “If anyone does not in accord with the Holy Fathers acknowledge the holy and ever virgin and immaculate Mary as really and truly the Mother of God, inasmuch as she, in the fullness of time, and without seed, conceived by the Holy Spirit, God the Word Himself, who before all time was born of God the Father, and without loss of integrity brought Him forth, and after His birth preserved her virginity inviolate, let him be condemned.”
The text from St. Ambrose reads: “‘This door will be closed and it will not be opened.’ This good door is Mary, who was closed and not opened. Christ passed through her but did not open her…. There is a door of the womb, although it is not always closed; indeed only one was able to remain closed, she through whom the virgin’s Offspring came forth without loss of genital intactness…” The quote on which Ambrose is offering commentary is from the book of Isaiah, chapter 22, verse 22: “I will place the key of the House of David on his shoulder; when he opens, no one shall shut, when he shuts, no one shall open.” In this case, Ambrose is using this quotation in reference to the door of Mary’s womb as the door Christ chose not to open. However, the Scripture text also references a door that Christ opens that no one else can close….
And as noted above, Lumen Gentium stated that “the birth of our Lord…did not diminish his mother’s virginal integrity but sanctified it.”
We can see that the word “integrity” is used when describing Mary’s virginal state during the birth of Jesus. This word is defined as: an undivided or unbroken completeness or totality with nothing wanting; from Latin integritatem (nom. integritas) “soundness, wholeness;” the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished. None of the Conciliar texts conclusively states how Mary remained a virgin during the birth of Jesus. This, then, opens up a variety of possibilities, just as the dogma regarding Mary’s Assumption leaves open both the possibility that she did or did not die. These unknown details are not essential to our eternal salvation, are not central to our Faith as Catholics, and allow the mystery to unfold within the context of a deeply personal relationship with Christ. This room for interpretation is beautiful and empowering to women on their journey toward physical, intellectual, psychological, emotional, sexual and spiritual integration, which is what The Vagina Monologues is trying to accomplish, albeit in a much more imperfect way.
Dale A. Becker defended the birth based on Marian apparitions:
“Then accordingly ‘St Mary Eve’ must not believe in any of the Marian Apparitions, because if she did she would understand the Virgin Birth. Her writings on the birth of Christ only help to further undermine Catholicism. Her writings on having a healthy attitude about her womanhood should be expressed, but the two are separate issues.”
I would like to reply to this comment with number 67 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Throughout the ages, there have been so-called ‘private’ revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ’s definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history.” I highly recommend Fr. Benedict Groeschel’s book A Still Small Voice for anyone who would like to read further about this. Having read about several Marian apparitions, I recall Mary calling herself the Immaculate Conception after this dogma was proclaimed. However, I have not read of any apparitions that deal with the actual birth of Our Lord. Secondly, I cannot disagree more about the suggestion that healthy issues about womanhood are separate from what we believe about Jesus—in any aspect of his life—because as St. Paul so eloquently repeated—our life is Christ, and our vocation as Catholic Christians is to be transformed into Him. Therefore, every issue about myself as a woman is intrinsically connected to the mystery of Christ.
Good Girls and Pap Smears
TOMDZZX (no name given) wrote the following regarding the need for sisters to have pap smears:
“Please tell ‘young’ Maria Monk that old nuns don’t need Pap tests since they test for a virus communicated by intercourse (an STD). Consequently, if the old nuns have been good girls they should have no fear of cervical cancer. In fact, one of the reasons that this cancer was found to be an STD was its almost total absence in nuns….”
I hope that this reader and all readers are aware of the fact that a pap smear not only detects cervical cancer, but yeast infections, and other infections, as well as the sexually transmitted herpes virus. Secondly, the herpes virus is not the only cause for cervical cancer, although it is often the cause. Therefore, my friend, it is highly recommended that even “good girls” have pap smears.
Annette Cwik comments:
“you must think everyone but you is stupid, the v logs include a rape scene by a lesbo of a thirteen year old girl among other things. the things mentioned in your article are not the items that keep this vulgar dispiriting play out of catholic colleges. it is the things you do not mention. also—no one i repeat no one knows how Jesus’ birth went because Mary didn’t tell anyone who recorded it.”
Ms. Cwik and several other people used the term “rape” when describing this scene of a sixteen-year-old girl (not thirteen as you stated) who is initiated into the world of lesbian sex by a twenty-four-year-old woman. If we equated this scene to a heterosexual couple, yes, it may be called “statutory rape.” However, what I find amazing is that all of you who brought this scene up failed to mention that this same sixteen-year-old girl was raped by her father’s best friend when she was ten years old. This particular monologue was the experience of one woman at various ages—in other words, there is a context to the lesbian sex scene which is necessary in understanding this woman’s experience.
If we only use a moral lens by which to judge this scene, then all we can see is sin. I am reminded of Jesus with the adulterous woman. Let those of us who have no sin cast a stone at this woman. If we cast stones with our words and with our judgment, we will not provide an atmosphere in which such women can hear about the love, healing and restoration that we as a Christian community are called to hold out to them so that they may be able to go and sin no more.
May I remind you that what you call a “lesbo” is a human being who is infinitely loved and cherished by God, who has been tremendously abused and hurt by those around her and who, unfortunately, found sexual acceptance for the first time in the arms of a twenty-four-year-old woman.
I want to make it clear that I do not condone such an initiation as healthy. However, this actual story is probably more the norm, than the exception. This is why so many women, including women on Catholic campuses, resonate with this and other stories contained in The Vagina Monologues. Art is a reflection of reality, not moral orthodoxy, and thus provides a safe place within which to process our own experiences.
Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues has successfully created such an environment because, like it or not, it reflects the real-life experiences of many, many women. Art is intended to reach a specific audience. In the case of The Vagina Monologues, the audience needs to have reached a certain maturity in order to process the content. Therefore, the Monologues would be inappropriate viewing or reading material for children who have not yet reached the age of majority or have not matured sufficiently so as to engage the material in a healthy manner.
Model of Purity and Chastity
I partly agree with what Sue Trevino had to share:
“I think if women are to be model purity and chastity in modeling ourselves after the ultimate woman Mary the Mother of God, than there is no real need for the Vagina monologues. I feel that sexual abuse rape etc would not happen if all women modeled themselves after Mary. There would not be pornography or illicit houses of prostitution or even dirty shows on internet or tv or cable. Maybe just maybe there would really be respect for women.”
Yes, if more of us women opened ourselves completely to God, as Mary did, then we would be completely integrated human beings and there would be no need for The Vagina Monologues. However, unless we are joined in this pursuit with the other half of the human race, that is, unless men do the same, then we will be just as prone to all of the evils you have mentioned above. Therefore, until this ideal becomes a reality, sadly to say, the monologues will remain with us in one form or another.
We do not live in an ideal world any more than Jesus did not live in an ideal world. But like Jesus, we are called to interact with the real people who live in the real world, which is more often than not messy. At some level, the very exposing of this messy reality is redemptive. Clearly, many women feel this way given their response to the Monologues. The choice to ignore this reality, or worse yet, to silence it, is neither healthy nor redemptive.
The title “A Young Nun Defends the Vagina Monologues” is misleading. Sr. Mary Eve very effectively describes the need to promote women’s issues, but fails to describe why the Vagina Monologues would be a good means to do so. She makes one ad hominem attack against the Monologues’ opponents, but neglects any of their valid arguments.
STUPID!!! does she not see that the name alone is vulgar?
You have to be kidding yourself if you think that many Catholics will be fooled by this obvious fabrication. It’s not hard to believe that there are rogue nuns out there, we know there are, what is ridiculous is that you portray “Sr. Eve” as being of a traditional order, nuns of these orders are well educated in the moral theology of the Catholic Church and would not make the absurd statements that this nun has made about the teachings of the Church regarding sexuality.
Perhaps presenting your viewpoints in an honest fashion might be a more appropriate way of presenting your position?
Thank you, thank you, thank you for Sr. Mary Eve’s “Remembering V-Day”! In 2005, I was the primary organizer of the presentation of The Vagina Monologues at my Catholic college. Sr. Mary Eve articulated so much that I have been unable to in regards to how I feel about this play and the experience of performing it. The prevalent silence around women’s bodies and sexuality, I believe, contributes to the violence and shame women experience, whether through rape, battery, or the “virgin/whore” dichotomy that Sr. Mary Eve writes about.
I also appreciated Sr. Mary Eve’s emphasis on dialogue. In fact, it was the hope of other organizers around the country and myself to create use the monologues as a first step into creating more dialogue and awareness in our communities.
Thank you again, Sr. Mary Eve. In my personal experience, women religious from a variety of orders have been instrumental supporters in bringing the monologues to Catholic colleges. After our performance, many sisters participated in the “talk back,” describing their own experiences with silence and shame around their bodies. I ask that Sr. Mary Eve (and everyone who reads this) keeps the Catholic “Vagina Warriors” around the country in their prayers this months.
To the editor:
The piece by “Sr. Mary Eve” isn’t persuasive. It’s too smooth and generic to seem real. Everything’s unequivocal and perfect, right down to the reported identity of the writer. It reads like something written by a longtime feminist to whom feminist talking points have become second nature. Her “reminiscences” strike me as the sort of thing a writer for a woman’s magazine might add in accordance with the magazine’s style sheet.
From the standpoint the author presents no one who disagrees with her can conceivably be intelligent and in good faith. There’s only one way to look at these issues, one that no man can legitimately differ with because after all it’s all a matter of women’s special experience. There’s no consciousness whatever that a response to her points might be possible, for example that masturbation and lesbian sex might be a “problem” for Christian believers and tradition in general and not just the “institutional Church,” or that the painless birth of Jesus might have to do with the Genesis account of bringing forth children in sorrow (along with the necessity of hard physical labor) as a consequence of sin.
I would hope that a nun would do more to cultivate the virtues of understanding and justice.
Message: This is honestly, the biggest bunch of crap I have ever read. Unbelievable! This person, who supposedly is a religious, is not in agreement with some of the Church’s teachings, and has his/her own agenda. It’s sad to see, hear and read how the devil can manipulate people’s thinking so easily, and that people do not use a discernment of spirits, to know what thoughts and opinions are “in tune” with the Spirit of God, and what are not. I can only hope for true light and understanding that comes from the Lord and through His Catholic Church as a whole.
Her age says it all.
Raymond L. Mylott Jr.
Then accordingly “St Mary Eve” must not believe in any of the Marian Apparitions, because if she did she would understand the Virgin Birth. Her writings on the birth of Christ only help to further undermine Catholicism. Her writings on having a healthy attitude about her womanhood should be expressed, but the two are separate issues.
Dale A. Becker
Sr. Mary Eve asks why the Catholic Church is opposed to the Vagina
Monologues? If the monologues support or celebrate masturbation or
lesbianism, as she mentioned, The Church must oppose. I have never read the Vagina Monologues. Perhaps all of it is not bad. I highly doubt the church has a problem with a woman discussing her menstrual cycle. However, if the VM contains stories that are contrary to Church teachings, it must be opposed. As a Roman Catholic, I am proud that the Catholic Church alone has the courage to stand up for what is right.
The Sr. Mary Eve who reflects on the Vagina Monologues is clearly a fraud. By hiding behind a pseudonym this writer loses credibility.
Domenic D. Nicassio
Please tell “young” Maria Monk that old nuns don’t need Pap tests since they test for a virus communicated by intercourse (an STD). Consequently, if the old nuns have been good girls they should have no fear of cervical cancer. In fact, one of the reasons that this cancer was found to be an STD was its almost total absence in nuns. “Young” Maria should do more praying about what God wants for her and less meditating on her private parts. God bless her, she needs it, whoever you are.
To answer Sr. Mary Eve, who recently wrote an article defending the monologues on BustedHalo.com, as to “Why has The Vagina Monologues been protested by a vocal minority of Catholics when it has been offered on Catholic campuses?” Simply put we don’t want women lowering themselves to the level of men – specifically, sophomoric, high school, boys.
Still, the whole purpose of The Vagina Monologues seemed to be aimed at that end: women wanting to become the poorest example of men. I can’t say much about “V-day,” but my personal experiences have been very negative with down right male bashing. As if beating down men will make women greater and amend for the many years of injustice towards women. As if charging men fifty cents more for a candy bar because of the mere fact that they have penises and other people of the same gender have abused women will provide reparation for the sins against women. I doubt fifty cents will heal a soul. Hold on here! Isn’t that what Eve and other feminist organizations have been saying that men have been doing to women for centuries? Why must they feel the need to step down off the porch and wallow in the mud with the men like pigs? Men have been throwing enough feces at one another. Must women now partake also in the flinging of feces? According to Eve and the other organizations that support “V-day” it is a firm “yes.”
Also, any person with a beating heart knows that the only way to overcome and defeat the evils and injustices in the world is to respond with an even greater act of love. And so I ask Eve Ensler, “Where is the love in your book?” “Where is the love in your vagina?” “How has your book responded in love to evil?” I saw little love in the book. In fact, it was just the opposite of love I saw: it was use of the human person on a number of levels. All she produces in her book is use that is love unknown, a lazy nature of an inordinate lapsed kind, a misappropriation of urge and desire, a bent vector, a crooked word, love misspelled.
Finally, I can’t say I didn’t take away anything positive from the text. Eve is a talented writer, which makes it impossible not to take away anything. I think the real issue is not “Why have so many women been abused?” but more importantly “Why have men allowed such injustices to occur?” “Why has the world been producing such poor specimens of men who allow such abuse to happen?” “Aren’t men, traditionally, to be the protectors of women?” If the amount of women that have been abused is as great as Eve Ensler leads her reader to believe then men: We have failed our women.
If sister mary eve exists, she has way too much time on her hands.
you must think everyone but you is stupid. the v logs include a rape scene by a lesbo of a thirteen year old girl among other things. the things mentioned in your article are not the items that keep this vulgar disperiting (sic) play out of catholic colleges. it is the things you do not mention. also—no one i repeat no one knows how Jesus’ birth went because Mary didn’t tell anyone who recorded it.
Sr. Mary Eve brings her mental yeast infection to bear on Church teaching which she obviously does not understand. She’s all for vaginas coming out but apparently does not have the courage of her convictions to stand out within her own community. If she doesn’t believe in the organization she belongs to and has to be covert, at least have the honesty and integrity to leave. Maybe those research projects, though, are a little too cushy. Allows her to be the enemy within.
Brother Jesu Adam Sr. Mary Eve’s piece is fantastic. While I have not read the Vagina Monologues, I think her defense of a woman’s intrinsic value should be broadcast more widely. Confidence inspiring messages such as this one are vital to the positive development in women at any age. Thanks for publishing this piece…if only the circumstances were such that Sr. Mary Eve didn’t feel the need to write under a pseudonym. I take pride in her message and hope that more people in the Church can become more comfortable with women’s issues.
Marlene N. Carvajal
I will make this a short reply on the article that appeared on your website.
First of all, it is extremely disturbing that a “nun” would defend The Vagina Monologues. However , I am not surpised. I’m not sure whether I really believe a nun would actually contribute to your site. Perhaps this is your way of attacking Catholicism. We have grown used to the constant attacks by confused souls who are the easy prey of the devil.
However, if I give you the benefit of the doubt, and acknowledge that Sr Mary Eve (pseudonym—your claim)is truly a professed religious sister, it is not surprising since true Catholics know that there is an ongoing rebellion within the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. We have read “the signs of the times” and the “apostasy” from within is well under way.
I just hope that for her salvation, Sr Mary Eve will recognize the tremendous evil that she is a part of and repents of her actions before it is too late. She is causing scandal within the Church and against the faithful much like the homosexual priests who’ve infiltrated the Church’s ranks.
We are at a point now in salvation history whereby each person must choose whom he or she will serve, God or Satan. There is no middle ground or sitting on the fence. Sr. Mary Eve, appears to be on the wrong side, even though she carries the appearance of being holy.
So, in answer to her question: Why have The Vagina Monologues been protested by a vocal minority of Catholics when it has been offered on Catholic campuses? That’s an easy one. The vocal minority is part of the remnant Roman Catholic Church who refuse to compromise with evil in all its forms, especially the hosting of “blasphemous” plays on Catholic colleges. I use the word Catholic because they call themselves that but in reality, they left authentic Catholicism years ago.
It is sad and tragic fact that many Catholics have abandoned the true faith since Vatican II and are on their way to perdition along with the rest of society. They’ve stopped believing that Jesus Christ established One Church in 33 AD, called the Roman Catholic Church. They’ve stopped believing in the dogma’s of the faith that have been handed down by the apostles and martyrs of the Church—many who shed their blood in imitation of their Master, Jesus, so that future generations would pass on this true faith until the end of time. They’ve stopped believing in the true faith that never changes. They’ve stopped believing that Jesus Christ, became incarnate as the Son of God, and who came to earth to die for the sins of the world and reopen the gates of Heaven for all who would become his disciples if they persevered with faith in Him. They’ve stopped believing in sin as an offense against God and they justify all manner of evil as good. They’ve also lost the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom. And sadly, they have the bad example of homosexual priests who are ruining the faith of millions of people. And scandalous nuns like Sr Mary Eve are leading the way. Jesus and Mary, save souls!
I think if women are to be model purity and chastity in modeling ourselves after the ultimate woman Mary the Mother of God, than there is no real need for the Vagina monologues.
I feel that sexual abuse rape etc would not happen if all women modeled themselves after Mary. There would not be pornography or illicit houses of prostitution or even dirty shows on internet or tv or cable. Maybe just maybe there would really be respect for women.
So the Holy Spirit overshadows Our Blessed Mother (God didn’t use a man’s reproductive organ and God wasn’t showing any disrespect to any man by that) but there wasn’t a Virgin birth (because that would have shown disrespect to Our Blessed Mother’s birth canal by not using it)?
How about Jesus saying it wasn’t that Our Blessed Mother breast fed Him, but that all who do God’s Will are His Family? He wasn’t putting down that part of Our Blessed Mother’s body, either.
Sr. Mary Eve may or may not exist. I am sorry about her, if she exists, getting the book she talks about, instead of Theology of the Body For Beginners. Lord have mercy.
re: your article by Sr. Mary Eve—It reminded me of another “rebellious” nun of the 17th century—Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (1648-1695)—the first feminist, who was also a nun and who was silenced by the Catholic Church for speaking out in defense of women’s rights. She lived in Mexico and wrote extensively. Look her up in her website, just in case you have never heard of her. My Intro. to Latin American Lit. course students just love her.
Professor of Spanish and Spanish Literature
As a devout 35 year old Catholic former feminist, I honestly don’t believe that Sister Mary Eve exists. I believe that you used a concept in order to bolster up your own opinion. No one who is truly trying to hide their opinions would allow themselves to be partially photographed. I find your attempts to belittle the few clergy, who are actually men enough to stand up to the gaggle of feminazis who constantly berate the church, banal. Only in authentic Catholic teaching have I ever experience the tranquility of feminity. And you can not steal those opinions from those of us who actually understand the church.
I will pray for your souls.
Instead of reading this garbage, this nun should be reading the Scriptures, the Catechism and the life of the Saints. Duh!
That’s why the religious orders are dying. There are very few women religious out there that inspire one to follow.
This makes it quite clear that a habit (the outer garment) does not necessarily testify to the purity of the inner person.
It’s hard to believe that you are a nun living in a religious community. You should read Scott Hahn’s book, Supper of the Lamb; Eve is not to be blamed for Adams’ sin. You have lost the virtue of purity and the sacred. If you need to read about the beauty of our bodies , you should read “the Theology of the Body” by John Paul II. Vulgarity and lesbian issues and talking vaginas are silly, and nonsensical. Please give women their dignity with beauty and honor. I am a teacher in high school; I have three children . I highly value the birth of my children, and the way they were conceived. There is a holiness in the way we were created. Violence to women is a terrible thing, but the play also does mental violence to our bodies created by God. Pray to the Holy Spirit and ask to be enlightened. You sound very confused and seem to have lost your sense of good thinking. Seek the truth; God is holy and that play does not reflect any holiness. God would not want his creatures portrayed so vulgar and unholy. Leave the past to God’s mercy.
Leave the future to God’s providence.
Live the present moment as God’s gift… and that’s why it’s called the present.
I had one correction for your article. It is in fact defined doctrine that
Mary’s virginity remains not only before, during, and after the birth of
Christ, but that her hymen, in fact, remained intact. Though the opinion of
Ray Brown may disagree, Vatican II, nonetheless, defined this in footnote 10 in Paragraph 57 of Chapter 8 of Lumen Gentium. As you know, Lumen Gentium is a dogmatic statement of extraordinary infallibility.
The text reads: “57. This union of the Mother with the Son in the work of
salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ’s virginal conception up
to His death it is shown first of all when Mary, arising in haste to go to
visit Elizabeth, is greeted by her as blessed because of her belief in the
promise of salvation and the precursor leaped with joy in the womb of his
mother.(288) This union is manifest also at the birth of Our Lord, who did
not diminish His mother’s virginal integrity but sanctified it,(10*) when
the Mother of God joyfully showed her firstborn Son to the shepherds and
The footnote contains four references that clearly state the physical
intactness of Mary’s hymen during and after the birth of Christ. The texts
refers to the First Lateran Council’s Canon 3; St. Leo the Great’s Tome to
Flavian; the Council of Chalcedon, which refers to the seal of her womb as
remaining intact; and St. Ambrose on the Instruction of a Virgin, which
explicitly mentions the intactness of the hymen. As a traditional order, I
am sure you could read this in the original Latin.
So, you see Sister, it is defined. Now, your anonymity hides your true
origins and motives. But, I really question your claims. First of all,
“traditional” orders did not begin to pick up numbers until the 1990′s.
Your mid 80′s entrance would put you out of the range of that category.
Also, you say that you are 36 years old and that you have been in the order for 20 years, then you were 16 when you entered. No, female order since Vatican II, if not earlier, have accepted candidates that young. Second, your language hints at either ignorance or infidelity. Your order must not engage in the “traditional” requirements of giving the sisters proper theological education or else you would have known about Vatican II’s definition.
You may actually be a member of some order of women
religious. But, I really believe that you, and especially the sponsors of
this web page, have misrepresented yourself. I also believe this whole
article is a ruse to ferment dissent among young Catholics. It is rather
dishonest of the Paulist Fathers, scandalous to young Catholic, and
uncharitable to the women religious who are sincerely embracing their
vocation. Orders, like the Paulists, will shrivel up and die like grapes on
the vine because they no longer embrace the teachings of Vatican II (like
the virginity of Mary in partu) and of the Church. But let me inform you,
as a young Catholic, that we are not interested in the opinions of the world
or in dissent or in misrepresentations.
So, my dear sister, accept the Church’s teaching and mend you ways.
Yours in Christ and through the perpetual Virgin,
I have not read all of the monologues, but the one I did read, couldn’t have been more upsetting to me, as a Catholic and mother. Rape is a HUGE sin, and cannot be looked at as anything else!
About the virgin birth, if Jesus was miraculously placed into the Blessed Mothers womb, we believe that Jesus left the same way. Birth pains were the by-product of sin, of which Mary was never a participant. She was born without original sin, and so was not like the rest of women, who bring children into this world with a lot of pain.
I doubt that Jesus or His Mother would approve of the monologues. I am sorry that a Catholic nun is defending them.
Please pass this along to Sister Mary Eve.
Thank you so much for your article. It’s so refreshing to hear a discussion of this play by someone who actually understands what it’s about. I’m so tired of hearing male clerics defining my very being for me.
Subject: yeah sure a real nun
Only someone with half a brain would believe a nun in a “traditional” community would write this garbage. If it is, I hope you’re ready for the second coming. It’s a little closer than you think if this comes from a “traditional” community.
Diana de Santos
A “Stereotype Killer”
The letter from the Catholic nun was simply stunning. I printed it out – it’s a keeper. She spoke so beautifully, so openly, of the female experience. Your printing it humanized her to a secular type like me who has probably always assumed that Catholic nuns think very differently than I do. I have to laugh at myself – I can only wish I had her bold eloquence and when speaking of women’s sexuality and her experience of it.
I’m much too shy with that stuff thanks to the internalized shame she writes about. I’m rather ashamed to say the letter was a stereotype killer for me.
The email above was posted on AndrewSullivan.com in response to a reprint of our article.
Subject: Traditional nun, my foot!
Sister Mary Eve is about as traditional a nun as the nuns who belong to Call to Action. Who do you think you’re fooling? She’s a radical feminist nut. End of story.
Subject: twisted sister
How typical of you liberals to write “anonymously”. If the “sister” believes so strongly in the VM crap being forced onto Catholic campuses and its “message”, then what is she afraid of? Maybe she doesn’t trust God enough. The Blessed MOther must be so proud of this one!……..NOT!
I will pray for your conversion.
Nancy Neumann I just read Sr. Mary’s Eve’s column and I am to say the least very
disappointed. There is a fine line between dealing with a subject
with care and delicacy or being crass. I view the Vagina Dialogue as
the later. Among my friends, I have talked about the monthly
visitor, the awkwardness of pap smears and all the other topics that
are related to being a woman and only woman. Would I share that
information with the whole world? No. Do I need to? No. Would my
husband want to hear it?? No. Just as I don’t relate to his private
organs. Having said that, I still do not see how this play, if you
want to call it that, stops violence against women. In my opinion,
it does more harm to the female psyche than helps it. We are as they
are always telling us, the victims.
On another note, Mary, our Blessed Mother, did know the full
experience of motherhood, whether Christ was born vaginally or not.
Ask any woman who has adopted a child because she could not conceive
one of her own. Does this make her less of a mother because she did
not experience the vaginal birth? Let’s be totally honest with
ourselves, our vagina makes us unique, I’ll give you that but it is not what makes us whole. Sister, please go back to reading the
Bible. You will find that the woman in the Bible experienced life in
the fullest without having to cheapen it to the level of
psychological babble or to just one sexual organ. God made us all
whole and beautiful. With Him with us… no one is a victim.
The Catholic Life Newsletter
she ought to be kicked out of the community! The vagina monologues is an obsene piece of work. This nut needs to ask herself what if she is in a more traqditional type of connunity, she is doing even looking at this stuff!
I just wanted to drop you a line to thank you for Sister “Mary Eve:” ‘s article. I first heard about the Vagina Monologues two years ago, and was amazed at the protest directed towards it in Catholic circles. Unfortunately, I have to admit that occurrences such as that have weakened my faith in bishops who sit in their carved walnut chairs and say plays and movies are anathema without actually seeing it themselves, or if they do, without trying to understand the intentionality behind it.
I believe that there is a need for something radical like the “Monologues” because of the sexism which so many women, like myself, experience in the Church. It is so frustrating to be a well educated woman who wants to improve the lot of the community and then to be told things like my place in the parish is to cook and serve food! Perhaps experiences like that in the Church, and in society as a whole, has prompted the need for some women to launch out into the creative sector in such a way that their actions scream, “I am a WOMAN not a man, a slave, a thing to be used, not an undesirable to be discarded, a baby-factor, a milk machine, or any other hideous and demeaning name which has been assigned to me from my birth. Menstruation is not corrupting, no more so than the nightly emissions of men is, and the gifts of my sacred womanhood were sanctified in the life of Mary, virgin and mother in every way!”
We have men in the Church, and the women who know no better than to follow them, who speak of women’s place, women’s vocation, but who fundamentally deny full womanhood. It happens which more traditional Catholic speak of females saints who were so holy that they ceased menstruating! Oh the shame which we are daily fed! Yet, in the same vein they remind us that God’s most honored creation is Mary, but a very robotic sort of Mary, who is more man/machine without passion than woman.
Overall I find that being a woman in the Church is very discouraging, I do not want a women’s priesthood, I do not want to be a Eucharistic minister (although I find it wholly ironic that men scream and yell about female Eucharistic ministers when, excuse me, that flesh you consume is of a woman!). What I want is to be able to participate in parish life and not be judged my sex, to not be told that the fall of man was Eve’s fault (the men sure do love a good cop out), to not be told that my proper vocation is child-bearing or nunhood and that anything like the single life leads to suspicions about my “purity”. I do not know why there is such a taboo about healthy sexual discussion! I feel like I might as well don a burqa because the word of a woman, in the Church, seems to mean only have as much as that of a man! Lord save me from the genitals I was born with!
At any rate, thank you for the article, It was a heartening read!
SISTER PSEUDONYM IS OBVIOUSLY AS VULGAR.
How sad and tragic that a professed nun and religious of 20 years can be so misguided by the culture.
Clearly we have our answer today…as taught by JPII…..the Theology of the Body. We do not need a discourse on the V-word…we need to understand and embrace what our late Holy Father was teaching us for many years.
If this sister(and many,many others) of the catholic faith would read and pray about the Theology of the Body…then we would have much greater love and understanding of our rich Catholic faith.
I will pray for her and all who are so misguided.
Subject: So sad
So sad that a woman of the cloth could allow herself to fall for this nonsense and not see it for what it truly is, which is pure vulgarity. I wonder………………What does the God given conscience whisper to the dear sister in her moments of solitude and prayer.
Sister, don’t allow yourself to be deceived and please, please listen.
She, this nun, should consider leaving the convent and joining her pro-feminist professor…It is ludicrous to think of her dissertation of this book (play) whatever as anything but a return to the feminist ideology…It is a sad day in society when women (feminists) hang on to the hate dictum of all men are bad…We are not all bad or rapists or women abusers…
Tell her it is time to emulate the Blessed Mother and pray the rosary for guidance instead of using this collection of trash under the title of upholding women’s dignity…
I am totally disgusted that a Catholic Religious sister would find anything of value in the Vagina Monologues.
I’m a 54 year old Catholic woman. A couple of years ago while attending college, my feminist history professor offered us extra credit to see the play. I went. It was absolutely horrible. It reduced women to mere sexual objects, of their own making ! One skit even celebrated the rape of a young girl by a lesbian predator. The nun is question, if she is in fact a nun, is a coward. She needs to step forward and out of the safety of the convent. I am so sick of people who pretend to be Catholic religious and are not, they need to find jobs, they were not called to be a religious…get out of our convents before you take more souls with you.
she should do soom research on sin and get to confession fast
I just finished reading an article on the Vagina Monologues written by a “nun”. I was appalled! She needs prayer and some quiet time to reflect on her vocation.
She should be willing to come out from behind her anonymity and tell all who she is and take all the consequences. When she became a member of her order more than likely she took a vow of obedience. She needs to stand up and be counted. How can she in a good informed conscience write such material to be read by gullible young people. She needs prayer to know the TRUTH and be set free. When the Church has spoken we have no more rights to our silly opinions. As a nun she has a responsibility to know and to teach the TRUTH and not the freedom to tell untruths as opinion.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells of Mary’s virginity in articles499-507 and 510-511. Number 499 states “The deepening of faith in the virginal motherhood led the Church to confess Mary’s real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made man. In fact , Christ’s birth ‘did not diminish his mother’s virginal integrity but sanctified it,’ And so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as Aeiparthenos, the “ever-virgin.’” There are three footnotes for this short paragraph.
I agree that abuse is horrendous. We do not, however, have to view trash in order to learn more about our bodies. We do not have to use gutter talk to be put more at ease. This doesn’t really ease us but has us participate more in incorrect behavior ourselves. Why not pray and work more to eliminate locker room talk from both the men’s and the women’s locker rooms instead of bringing more of it into our locker rooms or on to our computers. In Titus older women are encouraged to help younger woman with these issues in a private way. Why not set up a network of older, wiser ,devout woman to mentor the younger people you are trying to reach? Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body would be a really good place to start.
I thank the Spiritdaily web site for having this article available so that I could respond and that other devout Catholics might pray for all of those who are in error on the teachings of our Church which is so dear to my heart.
May Jesus Christ inspire you to learn more about His true teachings and may your articles be an inspiration to others in bringing them into a closer relationship with the Most Holy Trinity.
In His Love,
Sr. Mary Eve has some serious problems with her faith and her feminine psychology. We need to pray for her.
Disgusting, and offensive. Enough said.
Subject: sister b***h
plain as day….another heretic b***h who worships her tw**.