By Patricia Ranft (auth.)
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Extra info for A Woman’s Way: The Forgotten History of Women Spiritual Directors
Moreover, there was difference in the bodies of male and female; there was equality in their souls. ”72 In his eulogy at his sister Gorgonia’s death, Gregory described the marriage in even more detail. ”73 Gorgonia saw all this and duplicated their balanced relationship in her own marriage. ”74 Gregory believed her particular gift was the ability to reconcile “the two divisions of life,” the physical, worldly need for pleasure and the inner, spiritual need for meaning. ”75 Rarely do we associate such a balanced approach to life with the spirituality of the period, and we cannot help but wonder whether this failure to do so is due to our concentration on male spirituality.
In those days no highborn lady at Rome had made profession of the monastic life, or had ventured—so strange and ignominious and degrading did it then seem— publicly to call herself a nun,” Jerome recorded. “Nor was she ashamed to profess a life which she had thus learned to be pleasing to Christ. Many years after, her example was followed first by Sophronia and then by others. . My revered friend Paula was blessed with Marcella’s friendship, and it was in Marcella’s cell that Eustochium, that paragon of virgins, was gradually trained.
Because witness and direction are primarily acts of communication, the articulator must make sure his or her message is spoken in a language that can be comprehended by the audience. Whether it be actions or words, the audience must be able to decipher the meaning if the message is to be received. Because the message must be in the language of the society, every time the language changes, the witness and direction must change also. Witness and direction, therefore, if they be effective must adapt to the audience.