Local authors remind young women they’re ‘Daughters of the King’ in new book

Therese Bussen

With so many voices competing for the attention of young people, living in the world as a Catholic millennial can be a confusing journey, especially when it comes to learning what it means to be truly masculine or feminine.

Thankfully, there are plenty of resources; but most resources for young adults and teens are produced by their parents’ generation.

This is where Colorado residents and fellow college-age women (now recently graduated) Kaylin Koslosky and Megan Finegan decided to get creative.

Their book, “Daughter of the King: Wait, Where’s My Crown?” ($12.95, paperback) is written for the modern-day young woman, from her perspective — and the result is refreshing.

Koslosky and Finegan approach a wide variety of topics with an authentic, relatable and easy to understand manner. Themes include how to have a healthy body image and love oneself; what modesty means and how to practically live it; navigating relationships and chastity; what it means to live a life of faith and encounter Jesus; their personal testimonies; and addressing what they call “buzz topics,” like relativism, the college party scene, contraception and more.

All of these topics have been approached by other writers, speakers and leaders before, but the voice of these young women, which encourages readers in everyday struggles with invigorating honesty, is a welcome take on living as an authentic and truly feminine woman.

Each of the women takes her turn sharing her experiences with the various topics. Since their personal journeys have been very different, just about any woman can find something in the book to relate to, no sugar-coating added.

The intended readers are high school and college-age women, so some women a bit farther along in these areas or who are older than the intended audience might not find it to be challenging enough; still, it’s a quick and easy read for any woman – and is full of practical advice, reflective questions and exercises to grow in virtue and in relationship with God.

The most intriguing thing about the book is that rather than it being written by an authoritative voice, it’s the peer voice speaking to other peers. These women have lived through these challenges, have come out on the other side and are still growing. It’s as if an older sister who’s “been there, done that” wrote down her experiences and passed it down to her younger sister just a few steps behind her.

And the most important message they’re passing on is the worth of the woman.

Koslosky and Finegan told Catholic News Agency, “No matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been, or what your past is or isn’t, you’re beautiful, you’re loved and you’re a daughter of the King.”

More resources for women on all of the topics covered in their book are available on their website, restoreyourcrown.com.

COMING UP: Nothing about us without us

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The slogan “Nothing about us without us” was used by Solidarity in the 1980s in Poland, borrowing a royal motto from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the mid-second millennium. Then, it was expressed in Latin: Nihil de nobis sine nobis. Later, it appeared in Polish on the banners of 19th-century Poles fighting their country’s partition by Russia, Prussia, and Austria: Nic o Nas bez Nas. Today, it’s often used by disability activists asserting their claim to be fully participant in society.

“Nothing about us without us” also applies to the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region, which will meet in Rome in October.

That Synod will involve seven bishops’ conferences from nine Latin American countries who will consider their pastoral situation under the theme, “Amazonia: new paths for the Church and for an integral ecology.” As is usually the case in these meetings, the bishops at the Synod will work with materials drafted in Rome. Early indicators from the Synod’s preparatory document suggest that the Amazonian Synod will be longer on environmentalism than on theology. International media attention will doubtless focus on the Synod’s discussion of climate change and its relationship to Amazonian deforestation.

Recent synodal history suggests, however, that more will be afoot at the Amazonian Synod than what its announced theme suggests.

The 2014 and 2015 Synods were called to consider the crisis of marriage and the family throughout the world. Yet they became the occasion for powerful churchmen to try to deconstruct Catholic moral theology and sacramental discipline, according to the tried-and-failed theologies and pastoral practices of the 1970s. The 2018 Synod, summoned to discuss youth ministry and vocational discernment, began with an effort by the Synod general secretariat to enshrine the world’s language of sexual plasticity (and the lame understandings of happiness that underwrite that language) into an official Church document. When that failed, Synod-2018 became the occasion for the Synod general secretariat to promote an ill-defined notion of “synodality” that struck more than a few bishops present as a prescription for local-option, choose-your-own-doctrine Catholicism on the model of the (imploding) Anglican Communion.

This pattern seems likely to continue at the Amazonian Synod. There, the deeper agenda will be the ordination of mature married men — viri probati — to the priesthood. Proponents will argue that this dramatic change in the Church’s longstanding tradition of a celibate priesthood (which, contrary to much misinformation, antedates the early Middle Ages by hundreds of years) is necessary because Amazonia is a Catholic area deprived of the Eucharist by a lack of priests. One hopes that the counterclaims — that Amazonia is mission territory requiring wholesale evangelization, and that Amazonia’s lack of priests reflects racial and class divisions in Latin American Catholicism that discourage priests of European pedigree from working with indigenous peoples — get a serious hearing.

Proponents of ordaining viri probati in Amazonia, including retired Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes, OFM, have insisted that any such concession there would have no implications for the universal Church. That cannot be, however. Should the Amazonian Synod request the Pope to grant a dispensation from the discipline of celibacy for that region, and should he grant it, it will be just a matter of time before bishops conferences elsewhere — Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, and Austria come immediately to mind — make similar requests, citing pressing pastoral needs. On what ground would those requests be denied?

In a year-end interview with Vatican News, the Synod’s general secretary, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, insisted that the Amazonian Synod would not discuss environmental issues only, but would also confront “ecclesial themes” — and would do so in a way that Amazonia could be “a model for the whole world.”

We can be grateful to the cardinal for his candor in, however unintentionally, letting the celibacy cat out of the synodal bag. Any decision to ordain viri probati in Amazonia would inevitably have major consequences for the entire Church. A decision of this magnitude cannot be taken by an unrepresentative segment of the Church and then turned into a “model” for everyone else.

That is why the principle of “Nothing about us without us” must apply here. Whatever else “synodality” may mean, it surely must mean that decisions bearing on everyone should involve as broad a consultation and as global a reflection as possible. Bishops who agree should make their concerns known now, not after the Amazonian synod meets.

Featured image by Vatican Media | CNA