Role of single, childless women in the Church

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LadyJane

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I’m new to the forums, so I apologize in advance for opening this can of worms. I couldn’t get through to the Catholic Answers Live radio program so I thought I’d post here and see if I could get some advice.

Lately, I’ve been having serious doubts about my place in the Church as a single, childless woman. The women’s club at my new parish is for married or soon-to-be-married women only. According to the parish office, I am the only non-engaged/married woman my age (20’s) in the parish; everyone else is either married/engaged or a teen.

From what I heard on the radio program and from growing up Catholic, the supreme vocation and chief purpose for a woman is to be a mother. An accident in childhood left me unable to bear any children of my own, if I were ever to marry.

Though it may be taken as false masculinity, I am an Army officer and trauma surgeon. I feel that God gave the gifted hands to become a respected, compassionate surgeon - it wasn’t my original goal in life but one I seemed to be nudged toward.

It seems that women are only expected to wait around to be married so they can start reproducing. As I near the age of 30, I have yet to be “asked out” or go on a date with a man, so I am not holding my breath for marriage. I feel that I can better serve the Lord by using my gifts to help save lives. If I were capable of bearing children, I would. Because I can’t, I don’t think any Catholic man would willingly marry me.

Do unmarried, infertile women have any place in the Catholic Church?
 
I think you have the same place as any woman in church.
Maybe you can talk to your priest about this and request
there should be a womens group not just for married or soon to be married. I really think that is unfair. I believe we women are
equal and should be treated that way.

You do have a wonderful job and I am certain you do
a lot of good there, you use the talents that you were given.

Maybe even one day a good Catholic man will see you as the wonderful woman I think you are and not just for having his
children.

God bless you for all you do.

Emmy
 
My heart goes out to you.:love: Do not think any less of yourself because of your inability to have a child. God has a plan for you which will be revealed in time. And yes, there are Catholic men out there who would marry a woman who either can’t and/or won’t give them a child(ren). My husband and I both were previously married and had a total of 3 children from our first marriages. I’m more open to having more children, but it is a closed subject with him for many many many good reasons.
 
:rolleyes: Oh boy, you need a good spiritual director….If I had to list all the single, dedicated women of ALL AGES not married, no kids, open to marriage, who have truly answered God’s calling, I’d bring down the server. Think of all the Virgin Martyr Saints! Think of Maria Goretti for that matter!

Lets look and see what the Catechism says about women:
  • created in God’s image, reflecting the Creator’s wisdom and grace –ccc 369
  • traditionally used as an image of the Church -ccc 1368
  • Vocation of ‘subduing’ the earth, entrusted with the responsibility of the world –ccc 373
  • Marriage is God’s plan as man and woman were created for each other –ccc 1605
  • “Christ is the center of all Christian life. The bond with Him takes precedence over all other bonds, familial or social. From the very beginning of the Church, there have been (women) who have renounced the great good of marriage to follow the Lamb wherever he goes to be intent on the things of the Lord….” ccc 1618
:angel1: Here’s some great advice from a woman, “Do What He Tells You”. Just keep praying to do His will, whatever that entails.

Besides, Fertility in marriage is the openness to procreation, not the ability to procreate. Think how long St Elizabeth and Sarah (Old T) prayed for a child. Is your Granparents marriage no longer sacramental because they’re past childbearing years? Heck no!

:mad: It’s judgmental of you to think that all Catholic men are going to reject you for your physical capabilities. Some men think adoption is a calling- don’t be so quick to knock a guy down (Lord knows the Media does that enough already!).

You’re only 30. Many people get married late in life. I got married at 34. I’ve met a serious Catholic couple who married much later than that. It’s Gods plan, not yours on the timing.

Maybe you need to explore some “Young Adult” groups, get with a community of like minded Catholics and make some friends. Usually, the Diocese/ Army Chaplin can suggest some to you.

:blessyou:
 
LadyJane,

I would like to introduce myself as one of the VERY few single, never-married, childless women of my Parish. And if truth be told, it looks like I will remain single until God has other plans for me.

Being the age that I am,40+, it’s unlikely I will be able to bear children. With God’s help, and the help of several married childless kindhearted women of my Parish, I have finally resolved that within myself.

Rest assured, God does have a plan for you as a single, childless woman. Even if that doesn’t include the religous vocations.

Be open to God’s prompting. And rest assured, there is a place for the single unmarried.

Peace my Sister.
 
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LadyJane:
I’m new to the forums, so I apologize in advance for opening this can of worms. I couldn’t get through to the Catholic Answers Live radio program so I thought I’d post here and see if I could get some advice.

Lately, I’ve been having serious doubts about my place in the Church as a single, childless woman. The women’s club at my new parish is for married or soon-to-be-married women only. According to the parish office, I am the only non-engaged/married woman my age (20’s) in the parish; everyone else is either married/engaged or a teen.

From what I heard on the radio program and from growing up Catholic, the supreme vocation and chief purpose for a woman is to be a mother. An accident in childhood left me unable to bear any children of my own, if I were ever to marry.

Though it may be taken as false masculinity, I am an Army officer and trauma surgeon. I feel that God gave the gifted hands to become a respected, compassionate surgeon - it wasn’t my original goal in life but one I seemed to be nudged toward.

It seems that women are only expected to wait around to be married so they can start reproducing. As I near the age of 30, I have yet to be “asked out” or go on a date with a man, so I am not holding my breath for marriage. I feel that I can better serve the Lord by using my gifts to help save lives. If I were capable of bearing children, I would. Because I can’t, I don’t think any Catholic man would willingly marry me.

Do unmarried, infertile women have any place in the Catholic Church?
I completely understand, welcome, and thank you for posting!

I’m 29, soon to be 30, unmarried, and also feeling useless in my large marriage and children-oriented church. I’ve felt this way for a long time, and as I also have no prospects on the horizon, I have to admit I’m a little depressed.

The difference between you and I is (other than career, etc) :-D, is that I likely CAN have children; I just don’t want them. I realize that finding the right man could change me in a moment, but I’m not holding my breath.

Anyway, I may have a solution for you. I recently purchased a townhome, and on the other side of the wall are 2 women in their 20’s also who are working hard to start a “Frassati” group in our parish. This is for young adults, defined by the ages of 19 through 39, both single and married. The purpose is not only fellowship, but volunteer work, parish and community involvement…and the benefit of knowing that we ARE important!

It’s not for singles alone as that trends more towards a dating club…and we all know how that goes.

There is a Frassati Festival in Colorado the week prior to July 4 and the weekend of…it’s a retreat for young adults. The impression I get is that the majority ARE likely single adults who are looking for a home just as we are!

As we get our group going, if you’re interested I’d be happy to provide you and everyone here with an update and any info I learn as we try to get our own branch up and running.

I don’t know if I really answered your question at all, but if I gave you any hope that you are indeed valuable, needed, and blessed…then I guess this post has not been in vain.

I’m going to finish reading everyone else’s suggestions now! 😃
 
You certainly do have a place in your parish and in the Catholic church.

As a married infertile woman, I can understand some of your neglect. It is hard when our faith is now actively trying to embrace and create a Culture of Life and we are left out.

I used to tell my gynecologist that my birth control was by God. I have switched to a new gyno who won’t ask me what I do for birth control.

As infertile woman you have a role that allows you more freedom. There are many masses and prayer times that I now miss since I adopted. Try to look for the positive things in your life. Also, just stad up and ask your parish for a group to join where you won’t feel rejected by default.

Even as a woman who has adopted, my infertility is not cured or removed. I deal with women getting pregnant – most won’t tell me for fear that I may suddenly become an ax murderer or something.
I can hadle it most times, even when I would like ask God “Why?!”:banghead: When there are children being abused and neglected, is it in Your plan that I can’t concieve and ber children?

Then I take a reality check: stretch marks, hemarhoids (sp?) and such would not make me love my child more or make me a better person necessarily.

So, to support the culture of life, I smile at pregnant women and all babies. If I am in the check out line at the grocery store, I try to help cheer up unhappy babies. I try to take the freedom I have and help those who are tied down with family.

I also pray and fast for women in labor. I don’t have to do it, so I can try to offer a little penace for the ones who do have to give birth.

We each have our place and we each have our cross. Jesus embraced his and I pray that someday, I might embrace mine, too.

Pax et bonum,
mamamull
 
I know what you mean. I am single and childless and 40+ so I really don’t see having children in my future - though one never really knows.

Anyway, I think I know what you mean. I moved 5 years ago so I am in a new parish. Since I believe that we are a family as a parish, I have been looking for a niche to fit into in my new parish. I have volunteered for many committees, CCD, RCIA , etc.(and I have the education to do these things) and - well, nothing.

Most committees are happily filled and I am yet to find anyone with whom to identify with in any way. I went to the pastor and he felt that I was incorrect - he feels there are plenty of single women in the parish. Well, uh…yes - many older widowed women.

Now I am not a spring chicken but these wonderful women are not really what I meant when discussing it with him. I joined the Bible Study recently begun but so far everyone seems to break into the family or senior groups and I almost always walk out on my own and feeling no more connected to the parish than I had originally.

At one point this depressed me. New to the area, I was hoping to find some connection to the parish. I won’t give up and perhaps one day I will find a way to “fit in”. In the meantime, I figure there is a reason I am here and I am enjoying the wonderful Masses and liturgies offered.

Someone mentioned earlier that perhaps a spiritual director would be a good idea. I agree and sought one within the parish but have had not luck… Any other sources for spiritual director anyone? I would like to know how to reach our and find one.

Thanks.
 
This weekend I attended a party for Single catholics at the home of a parishoner. I’d called her last week to get more info on the group, and really hesitated to go as I am looking more for general fellowship, as opposed to dating. Sure, I want to meet someone…but not have the expectation of doing so. Do you all know what I mean?

Anyway, knowing no one, I really was terrified and prayed that I wouldn’t be so shy as to not attend. So I walked in, met the hostess and immediately several other people. She had past singles’ group members there, whom had gotten married, family members, etc…Apparently the Singles’ group is so small that it really isnt’ a signles’ group…it’s just a “door” to meet the larger parish!

I had a great time, met some wonderful people…and I’m so glad I went. I would encourage you all to look into your specific parish singles groups, if any, or any local ones and see what happens…even if you don’t meet “the one” you may still meet some people to connect with.

I feel very blessed right now to have found my new friends. But boy! Was I scared to walk in that door! It was the first time I ever went to a party when I didn’t know a single person there!

And if you’re in my local area…we have a thing on July 4, and a wine and cheese party in August…send me a note and I’ll give you the hostess’ number! 🙂
 
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LadyJane:
I’m new to the forums, so I apologize in advance for opening this can of worms. I couldn’t get through to the Catholic Answers Live radio program so I thought I’d post here and see if I could get some advice.

Lately, I’ve been having serious doubts about my place in the Church as a single, childless woman. The women’s club at my new parish is for married or soon-to-be-married women only. According to the parish office, I am the only non-engaged/married woman my age (20’s) in the parish; everyone else is either married/engaged or a teen…

Do unmarried, infertile women have any place in the Catholic Church?
God bless you in you work. By the nature of your work, you have an opportunity to bring Christ to others in very unique ways. Pray about this. Let God reveal to you His plan for your life. Do not judge your value in the Church by your fertility or any other physical quality for which you have no control. Heaven is full of saints who never had kids!

We all are members of the Body of Christ and His Church. All are important to this body. It is for us to pray and listen to our calling.

My prayers are with you.
 
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LadyJane:
I’m new to the forums, so I apologize in advance for opening this can of worms. I couldn’t get through to the Catholic Answers Live radio program so I thought I’d post here and see if I could get some advice.

Lately, I’ve been having serious doubts about my place in the Church as a single, childless woman. The women’s club at my new parish is for married or soon-to-be-married women only. According to the parish office, I am the only non-engaged/married woman my age (20’s) in the parish; everyone else is either married/engaged or a teen.

From what I heard on the radio program and from growing up Catholic, the supreme vocation and chief purpose for a woman is to be a mother. An accident in childhood left me unable to bear any children of my own, if I were ever to marry.

Though it may be taken as false masculinity, I am an Army officer and trauma surgeon. I feel that God gave the gifted hands to become a respected, compassionate surgeon - it wasn’t my original goal in life but one I seemed to be nudged toward.

It seems that women are only expected to wait around to be married so they can start reproducing. As I near the age of 30, I have yet to be “asked out” or go on a date with a man, so I am not holding my breath for marriage. I feel that I can better serve the Lord by using my gifts to help save lives. If I were capable of bearing children, I would. Because I can’t, I don’t think any Catholic man would willingly marry me.

Do unmarried, infertile women have any place in the Catholic Church?
There are numerous things one could do…you could go the religious route…and become a Carmelite…

or…

Join the Catholic Daughters of the Americas and work closely with the Church.

Be a teacher at CCD and Vacation Bible School.

Join the choir.

Become an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.

Those are just a few…it’s early where I am.
 
Your role is the same of that of any other person-man, woman, or child-in the church. To worship God, avail yourself of the sacaraments, and share the gospel with others. The fact that your parish only has a young marrieds group is not an indication of any lacking in the church as a whole. Check with your diocese, I’ll bet you’ll find a young adult group that doesn’t care whether you are married, engaged, or not. As for your own marriage prospects or ability to have children–that also isn’t any barrier to you coming to Christ through his church. Many people do not marry until later (I was not married until I was 30). And many people find they cannot have children accidents in their youth or not. If you discern that you do not want to be married, the Catholic church can offer you the wonderful vocation of a consecrated virgin. They are not members of any religious order, but simply women who feel that the state of wife and mother are not where God has called them. I will pray that you find the comfort you are longing for.
 
I’m newAccording to the parish office, I am the only non-engaged/married woman my age (20’s) in the parish; everyone else is either married/engaged or a teen.

?
this is simply ridiculous unless you have only 5 women in your parish and the other 4 meet this description. there are dozens to hundreds of single women of all ages, you just have not met them. the classic advice for any layperson who wants to start a parish group is to get permission, go ahead and start it and lead it.

the role for a single person in the Church is the same as that for every other lay person: participate in Mass and the sacraments, stewardship and service, evangelization to others you meet in your walk of life, do penance, give charity, and pray.
 
My immediate thought on reading your post was how much women want another female dr. (I used to work for one-an internist-and the female patient load grew exponentially) and, with your knowledge and skills how perfect it would be for you to be an NFP dr.👍 Now, this may not be what you’re interested in at all, it was just my immediate thought. :rolleyes:
 
I’m new to the forums, so I apologize in advance for opening this can of worms. I couldn’t get through to the Catholic Answers Live radio program so I thought I’d post here and see if I could get some advice.

Lately, I’ve been having serious doubts about my place in the Church as a single, childless woman. The women’s club at my new parish is for married or soon-to-be-married women only. According to the parish office, I am the only non-engaged/married woman my age (20’s) in the parish; everyone else is either married/engaged or a teen.

From what I heard on the radio program and from growing up Catholic, the supreme vocation and chief purpose for a woman is to be a mother. An accident in childhood left me unable to bear any children of my own, if I were ever to marry.

Though it may be taken as false masculinity, I am an Army officer and trauma surgeon. I feel that God gave the gifted hands to become a respected, compassionate surgeon - it wasn’t my original goal in life but one I seemed to be nudged toward.

It seems that women are only expected to wait around to be married so they can start reproducing. As I near the age of 30, I have yet to be “asked out” or go on a date with a man, so I am not holding my breath for marriage. I feel that I can better serve the Lord by using my gifts to help save lives. If I were capable of bearing children, I would. Because I can’t, I don’t think any Catholic man would willingly marry me.

Do unmarried, infertile women have any place in the Catholic Church?
Hello,

I have been wondering about my vocation for some time as well. I am also an unmarried woman in my 20’s and it seems most of my friends got married right after college or deeply desire to have a family. I went to a talk this Sunday on singleness as a vocation and the talk was given by a lay consecrated man who is in the group “Youth Apostles.” What he said really struck a chord with me and I have been pondering it since. He talked about his married siblings and his brother who is a priest, but he didn’t feel called to either of those states of life. Through grace, he was led to the Youth Apostles and he has taken a vow of celibacy as well as promises of obedience and poverty. I had a question about how singleness can be a vocation when you must give yourself away in a covenant of love to be fulfilled like priests give themselves to God and spouses give themselves to each other. I had heard that a priest dismissed the single life as a true vocation because it was a more “selfish” way of life. However, I believe I am called to be single and be a light in the world. Yesterday, I came across a group called Caritas Christi: ccinfo.org/
Caritas Christi members are ordinary Catholic lay women who are committed to the Church and her teachings. They have a deep, abiding desire to incorporate the Gospel Way into their own lives in order to share the Good News of God’s love with
everyone they meet. There is a whole set of secular institutes approved by the pope in 1947 especially for lay people who want to live for Christ. I found this group through this website: arlingtondiocese.org/offices/vocations/secularinst.html
The single life is a vocation and there are secular institutes available that assist you in making a formal dedication of your life. God bless!
 
Those who are not physical mothers can and are Spiritual Mothers. I knew a beautiful young woman named Kelly who wanted a child very badly, but was having trouble conceiving, she was very active with the youth of the parish, she was a spiritual mother, sadly, she along with her mother in law was killed in a car accident, I know another young woman named Nikki, she is single and has no children, but she is a wonderful Godmother, who sees to the spirituality of her godchildren, in fact when I see her for Mother’s Day I always tell her Happy Mother’s Day because she is an awesome spiritual mother, when our Priest does the blessing on Mother’s Day he always includes Godmothers and Spiritual Mothers. So, yes you do have a place in the church, we need you and you are wanted, and just because you are not a mother, you can still mother. God BLess.
 
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