This weekend was one of my favorite weekends of college so far – why? Because I got to spend it with 80 other women from CUA who love Jesus and desire to grow in relationship with each other… on the picturesque shore of Maryland.
I’ve really felt a lack of feminine fellowship on my campus recently and in an effort to grow in relationship with other women and to help reprioritize my faith I decided (pretty last minute) to go on CUA’s annual women’s retreat, and I am so happy that I did. There is something about women, and the receptivity of our hearts, that allows us to become more than family in less than three days and it was the most beautiful thing to witness. I went into that weekend thinking I knew everyone to know and that I knew what kind of girls I would get along with. WOW, was I proven wrong. I met so many phenomenal women and of those I already knew, I learned so much about their hearts and their lives that I had never taken the time to learn before.
In the loneliness of this year, I’ve found myself searching for holy and good friendships, and while I have plenty of female friendships I recognized this weekend that my current friend group is becoming more and more guy heavy. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, except for the fact that I also didn’t realize until this weekend how much I’ve missed close relationship with the feminine heart. There is something about the receptivity of the feminine heart that has the gift of making you feel so welcomed and loved. There is something about the closeness that you can achieve with women and the emotional intimacy that you can achieve with women that you can’t with men.
I am a large proponent of emotional chastity, and so are my guy friends, which means as my friend group became more guy heavy I found myself unable to share intimate details about my faith and the struggles of my faith with those I love. I’ve had to hold so much in for so long and this weekend I experienced the freedom of true and beautiful and holy feminine friendships.This weekend God showed me that I need to reset and reprioritize my life – and that starts with prioritizing the women in my life. We need holy friendships with women for our faith to survive! Maybe we could do it alone, but it will get lonely and very difficult fast. I’ve lived so much of my life surrounded by women who love me and support me and are calling me to holiness and coming to college I can’t forget how essential that has been to who I am today.
So, why am I talking to you all about this today? We as women need to prioritize fostering holy and feminine friendships and, I as I start to do just, that I challenge you to do the same. Reach out to that girl you’ve had a friend-crush on who goes to daily or Sunday mass the same time you do. Go to your student Catholic Center if you are in college and attend any women events that they have. Start a women’s bible study. Ask women on coffee dates to get to know them. Be intentional with the women in your life. Affirm them, prioritize them, and don’t be afraid to be bold.St. Clare, and her holy boldness was the main source of inspiration this weekend at our retreat. Her friendship with St. Francis of Assisi, her dedication to the women in her order, and her love of the poor is truly something to aspire to. She has this one quote we reflected upon a lot this weekend, “We become who we love and who we love shapes what we become.” Of course, she stated this with the intention of loving and becoming more Christ-like but I see this so clearly in my friendships. I’m the kind of person who easily picks up on the details and mannerisms of my friends. One of my best friends sings a lot of her thoughts and I’ve found myself doing it every single day. One of my friends has really long A’s when she speaks and I’ve seen my intonation change the more time I spend with her. My best friend, and roommate has a very specific, and weird humor, but the longer I spend with her the more I laugh at the things that she does. We truly do become like the people we love and it is so so important for those people to also reflect Christ.If your best friends reflect Christ in your life, then by becoming more like them you are becoming more Christ-like. Prioritize finding at least one holy and good friend this year and it will dramatically change your life.