MADISON BOLESTA: FRANCISCAN UNIVERSITY GRADUATE
Madison Bolesta is one of my sister’s best friends at Franciscan University and after staying with her for a week I totally understand why. The first day I met this girl I fell in love with her laughter, her genuineness, and her pure joy. At Franciscan University she was in the household Handmaids of the Lord dedicated to personal prayer, evangelization, and sacrifice by imitating Mary’s compassion, humility, simplicity, and gentleness. Let me tell you, it’s like this household was made perfectly just for her.
“Mary’s every breath echoed her first fiat when she said ‘be it done unto me according to Thy word,’ so I try to imitate that every day too.”
In living like Mary, Madison strives to imitate her Fiat in everything. “Recently my yes has been one of blind trust. Especially after recently graduating, it can be tempting to question the Lord’s timing and his Providence. It’s kind of silly in a way, since He has literally never let me down before, and yet every day I feel as though I have to practice my little Fiat again and again in the simplest ways. Yes, I trust that You have a plan. Yes, I trust that it is good. Yes, I trust that You love me and that You are taking care of me. It’s actually quite a beautiful position to be in because it makes me feel like a child imitating her mother Mary.” Mary is the perfect guide for Madison, and all of us, when we have no clue as to what God’s plan is, “When I don’t know how to say yes or what that would even look like day to day, I simply look to Mom and try to imitate her every action and her obedient love. Her every breath echoed her first fiat when she said ‘be it done unto me according to Thy word,’ so I try to imitate that every day too.”
Madison Bolesta is what women’s ministry today needs to be like. She knows the feminine heart so well and has dedicated her life to ensuring that every woman she encounters feels loved. Even if she isn’t directly talking about Jesus or the gospels, she evangelizes through her love and by authentically living out her femininity. “I think a key component of femininity is receptivity. As women we have the unique capacity to welcome new life into our very bodies, and I find that the same is true with our souls. Edith Stein said, “a woman’s soul is fashioned as a shelter in which other souls can unfold.” A truly feminine heart is one where people feel safe to come and to just be. Every part of the person- the good, the bad, the doubting, the tired, the broken, the beautiful- all of them is welcomed and accepted, yet also encouraged to grow. I try to live this out by opening my heart, my life, and my home to all around me. I’m definitely not perfect at this, but it is one of the greatest joys of my life!” Living in this receptivity has open Madison’s eyes to the reality that all is a gift from the Lord and she spreads that awareness with everyone she encounters.”
“A truly feminine heart is one where people feel safe to come and to just be. Every part of the person- the good, the bad, the doubting, the tired, the broken, the beautiful- all of them is welcomed and accepted, yet also encouraged to grow.”
Madison shatters what it means to be the stereotypical woman and she owes that to the community she has surrounded herself with, “So many people get stuck in a box and tend to think that in order to be authentically feminine they have to love pink and pearls and skirts and all things stereotypically ‘girly.’ Others believe the opposite, that in order to be a real or strong woman they have to put aside those ‘girly’ inclinations. It has been such a gift to see those ideas shattered as I witness real women leading authentic, holy, and virtuous lives. These women have shown me that femininity is not about those exterior factors, or even about personality traits, but it is about seeking to be receptive, generous, maternal, and loving in all of your actions throughout your day.” Madison isn’t about fitting into boxes, or not fitting into boxes… she is about being authentically herself and loving what God the Father designed her to be and I can definitely take that lesson from her.
In being authentically herself, this girl has created a fantastic style and I looked forward to seeing what she would put together every day. It’s quirky and cute and girly and cozy all at the same time; it’s magic. How does she do this while remaining modest? “I try to live modestly by simply living in the truth. When I dress while remaining conscious of who I am as a beloved daughter of God, I naturally gravitate towards clothing that will reveal my dignity more than my individual body parts. I want what I wear to reveal the truth about me, and the truth is that I love and respect myself, my Lord, and my brothers in Christ.” I know I recommend Old Navy all the time, and that is because it really is the best and Madison actually just discovered something amazing about the store, “One tip for all of my tall girlies out there: I understand the struggle! I personally love to shop at Old Navy, and it’s super hard sometimes to find dresses at an appropriate length. If you find an adorable dress that’s just a little too short for comfort, you can order it online in a ‘tall’ and it is absolute perfection.” It truly is a momentous discovery.
“Seek virtue, and leave all of your insecurities at the foot of the cross. And when you are tempted to pick them back up again, look up to Him who’s gaze is constantly captured by your beauty and be at peace. You are loved.”
Madison lives in the knowledge that she is enough in and through Christ alone and when I talked about it with her I could actually see how much it hurt her that every woman doesn’t live in this same knowledge, “YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL AND YOU ARE ENOUGH. I wish I could tell this to every woman individually to make it stick. There is no part of your body or your personality that you need to change. Seek virtue, and leave all of your insecurities at the foot of the cross. And when you are tempted to pick them back up again, look up to Him who’s gaze is constantly captured by your beauty and be at peace. You are loved.”