Studying As A Woman


[…] Today, after many hours in pontifical universities, the reaction of the surprised collar shirt is no longer a mystery to me. Dealing with women is not familiar to everyone for a long time. And the fact that I don’t walk around veiled like the other few women here, almost all of them nuns, doesn’t make the situation any easier for my fellow students. […]

We were allowed to learn that we (women) cannot understand everything because our brains function differently. That our bodies are made solely for motherhood and that we should therefore not neglect this as much as possible. That our career goal – possibly – contradicts the will of Jesus Christ and that we should reconsider whether we would not be better off becoming priest’s wives. Our fellow Catholic students were allowed to learn that we can indeed become female pastors (news that a fellow student commented on with a loud “Davvero?!” and subsequent merry laughter). That fighting for women’s rights needs not be a threat to men. And finally, that not every woman who greets you with a smile is a threat to celibacy.

Last but not least, however, I have to protect my fellow students from my own judgement. Living alone among men, the role of women in some home countries and, of course, some of the content in courses (Whether women have sexual needs themselves, one of my professors did not want to commit himself. He couldn’t rule it out completely, but didn’t think it was relevant) naturally interfere with light-hearted interaction. Nevertheless, the majority of the encounters were positive and even fellow students who were rather anxious at the beginning gradually got involved with us and our presence in their world of men. It should also be noted that the sometimes very extreme ethical attitudes described here are viewed critically even within the Catholic Church. (One of the universities visited is run by Opus Die.) At many other universities, one certainly stood out as a woman without religious habit, but after this initial shock for the gentlemen in the collar shirt, one could devote oneself to serious theology together.


(Confessio Romana p.38)