Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I was reading Angelqueen today and came across a conversation on whether young Catholic women should go to college. Most folks thought not. Apparently education turns Catholic girls into sluts/feminists and/or Protestants. It also apparently drives them from motherhood. What silliness. Now not everybody needs to go to college. I don't have a BA and I've done okay. I'm not sure I want one either but suppose I had the right mind to be a lawyer or a doctor and had been thrawted? That woud've been a tragedy. I have a Great Aunt who is a genius. She never got to go to college because she was a poor girl and because it was the segregation era. There is so much she could've done and never got the chance. St. Teresa of Avila was no dummy. St. Getrude, the Great was an educated woman. St. Gianna was a doctor. If you think these ladies were less than good Catholics you need to take that argument up with God and see how far you get.

Every forum has it's share of cranks but I was really shocked at the Angelqueen folks this time. They came off more like fundamentalist Muslims than American Catholics. I'm genuinely disgusted.


Kit Brookside said...

Amen, D. My brother-in-law's wife (N. Va. militant self-proclaimed "medieval" Catholic homeschooler) is of that ilk.

She met her husband during her first year of college and dropped out to marry - that's fine. My own sister did the same thing. But she will not allow her daughters to go to college, and one REALLY wants to get out of the compound and study art. If she does, she will be cast out of the family fold. Not surprisingly, the s-i-l has always been quite nasty about my choice to fit my 2 accelerated years of law school in between my first two kids. (Something about me being vain and/or a potential lesbian because I wanted to be in a "man's" profession).

She has often said over the years that she doesn't need a degree to prove that she's smarter than most people who DO have degrees (including yours truly). She gets awfully defensive about it, however, even though no one is attacking her. She is a very narrow-minded, judgmental, and un-Christian person (albeit a textbook traditional Catholic) whose beautiful face is marred by the angry, resentful look she often wears in the presence of people who are outside her small circle of like-minded people. (I say nothing here that I have not said to her in person, btw).

I don't think going to college is necessary, and it sure doesn't provide an absolute measure of anyone's intelligence. My grandmother, who was incredibly bright - would've made a great lawyer - did not go to college (unlike my great-grandmother who DID) because she came of age during the Depression, when her formerly wealthy family lost everything, including its 300 year-old homestead on Martha's Vineyard. She was of a generation that did not look down on a high school diploma, but I think she always felt held back by her circumstances.

So back to the point - if a woman seeks to complete her education, finds a vocation in being not only a mother, but also a healer, an advocate, a manager, a teacher, etc., I think it is far worse that she quell those desires and spend her life regretting it, feeling unfulfilled or disappointed. Those feelings will inevitably leak out into other aspects of her life.

Plenty of my female law school classmates either never practiced, or only did for a few years before marrying and having families. Even if they never end up using their bar cards, I doubt they will ever complain that they did not accomplish all they set out to do in life. Me, I practice part time, I teach here and there, and I alternate my schedule with the Beloved's so our kids always have one or both of us at home. Life is good - not necesarily lucrative - but very good.

Oh yeah, it's been 10 years, and I can confidently tell you that I am not a lesbian.


a thorn in the pew said...

College ruined me. Not permantly but for about 8 years total. If a child does not have the right basis for education and faith formation, college will ruin them. It is only by the grace of God that my faith is present today. I would not make such a sweeping statement that all college is bad, but it is definately not good(but I would say for men or women). I went to some liberal party schools too.

Kit Brookside said...

Another point that occurs to me is that - heaven forbid - your daughter's wonderful traditional orthdox husband falters and leaves his wife and multitude of offspring behind (let alone becomes ill, disabled, or dies) it then becomes incumbent upon the woman to support the family, I think it is prudent and wise for her to have the requisite training to do so. Teaching, nursing, social work...these are noble callings. It is a matter of preparing your daughters to meet the challenges of a secular world and immoral campus culture head on, and to have the strength to reject all the temptations that will come her way.

(Wish me luck!!!)

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

My own persnal opinion that college is overrated, and you don't need dedgree to prove your "inellegence"

Most of my knowledge on Church issues comes from my own self study. No formal classroom training on how to be a heretic here ;). Of course if there's something that I don't get I'll ask my solid orthodox Catholic priest friends.

Anyways to the point of the entry, my patron St. Thérèse had no formal eduation either...but to say that one option is better than another is wrong.

Although granted with Catholic "education" here in Los Angelese, i'd avoid it, but anyways, i digress.

R J said...

Yes, college is overrated, at least in our society; but I can't understand what is allegedly wrong - and what Angelqueen's resident eccentrics imagine to be wrong - with a genuinely devout college for either sex.

Then again Angelqueen operates in the belief that G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc were crypto-communists: a bizarre view, whether or not one enjoys reading either writer. Bizarre views are what Angelqueen is good at. Fortunately it has no official standing in the Catholic world, and exists merely as a kind of unending primal-scream session for sedevacantists, misogynists, and the most vulgar sort of Jew-hating bully.

It's curious that the whole chip-on-the-shoulder, "women are feminist sluts if they dare go to college", attitude seems to be confined to certain elements in the English-speaking nations. I've never encountered such sentiments among Catholics who originally come from Europe, South America, or the Pacific Islands. Those Catholics don't seem to be afraid of educated, saintly women like Saint Gianna Molla, in the way that the Angelqueen mob obviously is!

DigiHairshirt said...


Each one of us, male and female, have the moral responsibility to use the talents that God has given us. If that means a woman shoul study hard to become a doctor and healer, then she should.

That is one of the attractions for me regarding Opus Dei - that work, when done for the glory of God, is sanctified, whether it is an attorney presenting argument or a taxicab driver chauffeuring his or her fare.

People may not go to college for a number of reasons. I am raising my children to be (a) Catholic, (b) ethical, (c) happy, and (d) self-supporting. Right now, for my daughter that means she wants to be a professional chef and my son wants to be a priest. That will likely change, but the goal, as you can see, does not require college.

Kit raises a good point and it is one that I use with my own female clients. Things happen. Too often my clients say that they are counting on the child support/spousal support, and I remind them that the only person on whom they can rely is themselves. Hey, I practice law in Southern California and I remind them that their ex-husband may be the most diligent at paying his support, but he is on the freeways alongside the rest of us so if that drunk driver happens to hit him, that support may not be forthcoming and you have to be prepared.

Sad, but I think of wives who lost their husbands during my childhood and somehow, someway, they made do - I am not so sure that nowadays the same could be done, as people seem to be thinking first of "Who will take care of me?" than "What do I need to do?"

And, for the record, like my esteemed legal sister, I have been a working, professional woman for over 20 years now, am married for 12 with two kids, and I am not a lesbian. But I do prefer sensible shoes, only because I wear a size 11.

DigiHairshirt said...

Oh, and Dymphna, if you WANTED a BA, the beauty of our society is that you can go and get one, regardless of your age. I graduated law school at 41. If you are thinking of doing it, I say, go for it!

Benedicamus said...

Yeah, the AngelQueen people have gotten a lot of flack for that position. And I really do disagree with them: PROVIDED that the young person really does feel called to continue on to higher education, and PROVIDED that the young person will be in an environment where their faith and genuine academic inquiry are fostered, then by all means, go to college!
One more note is that I made some good male friends at my Catholic college, but didn't find my husband there. It wasn't until I got the degree, moved to CA, and started teaching that I met Mr. P.
You can't bank on when you will meet Mr. Right- so in the meantime, discern what God wants you to do with your talents and do it.

La gallina said...

College did actually turn me into a feminist slut who hated motherhood:) No joke. I have finally recovered, but I still can't seem to find a job with this danged liberal arts degree. Oh well, I'm having too much fun raising my 5 kids.

Everyone should just wait to go to college until they're about 30. And once you're there, at least get a degree in something worthwhile like nursing or engineering. Philosophy and English Lit. majors usually find jobs in restaurants...

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

" I have a Great Aunt who is a genius. She never got to go to college because she was a poor girl and because it was the segregation era. There is so much she could've done and never got the chance. St. Teresa of Avila was no dummy. St. Getrude, the Great was an educated woman. St. Gianna was a doctor."

St Gianna went "to college", the rest of these didn't.