We need ideals. In fact, according to the wonderful Dr. Miriam Horvat, we are sub-consciously creating them for ourselves all of the time. We look at the older mom in Mass, her children perfectly in order, her dress neat and ironed, and we think I would love to be like her someday. We need ideals—perfections to tend towards—so that we can see how the virtues are lived out in our world, and we can have a concrete goal for which to strive.
Of course, saintly women and above all the Blessed Mother are the epitomes of ideal Catholic women. But I want to talk a little bit today about what the ideal Catholic woman looks like in these times: What would Our Lady and the saints look like? What should we be striving for? If we lack a firm picture of our goal in our head, it's all too easy to wander aimlessly and without purpose. So, I present to you my idea of the ideal Catholic woman: not what I am (I probably don't have to tell you that), but what I would like to tend towards.
A Catholic woman's empathy makes her feel sorrow deeply, but she remains the joy of the home.
A Catholic woman "neither rests nor grows tired" (St. John of the Cross).
A Catholic woman has a deep devotion for the Blessed Sacrament, while understanding she must "leave God at the altar and find Him in her housekeeping" (St. Frances of Rome).
A Catholic woman despises vanity, but loves to make her appearance pleasing to her husband.
A Catholic woman will add a hem or skirt layer under a dress that is too short just as readily as she will add a belt around the waist of a dress that looks masculine and frumpy.
A Catholic woman might have the view of a pig pen from her window, but she keeps her house as clean as if it were a palace.
A Catholic woman's strength lies in her obedience, meekness, and simplicity.
A Catholic woman is "gentle to all and stern with [her]self" (St. Teresa of Avila).
A Catholic woman is joyful, but serious—imparting to her children and those around her the serious nature of life and thus its importance.
A Catholic woman welcomes as many children as God will send her, and just as eagerly gives each one back to Him.
A Catholic woman is a woman marked by prayer and penance.
A Catholic woman loves to seek perfection in the details, for she knows "to be faithful in a little thing is a great thing" (St. Augustine).
A Catholic woman only speaks when necessary and always speaks when necessary.
A Catholic woman has perfect fidelity to the inspirations of grace, whether they lead her to wealth or poverty, a convent or a kitchen.
A Catholic woman plans things carefully while accepting changes gracefully.
A Catholic woman does not do anything that she cannot offer to God (St. John Vianney).
A Catholic woman only fears sin.
A Catholic woman "accepts nothing as love that lacks truth" (St. Edith Stein).
A Catholic woman is cheerful, prayerful, and modest, even when alone—recognizing she is always in the presence of angels.
To a Catholic woman, "everything is a reminder of the Cross" (St. John Vianney).
A Catholic woman is completely devoted to Our Lady, striving daily to act how she would act, speak how she would speak, think how she would think, and dress how she would dress.
A Catholic woman runs from idleness and even the smallest occasions of sin.
A Catholic woman instills a love for mental prayer in her children, both by words and example.
A Catholic woman, when she encounters difficulty, prays, hopes, and doesn't worry (St. Pio).
A Catholic woman loves humble work, knowing "there is nothing small in the service of God" (St. Francis de Sales).
A Catholic woman is not perturbed by temporal poverty—she knows that "whoever has God lacks nothing" (St. Teresa of Avila)—rather, she counts it a blessing to live as the Holy Family did.
A Catholic woman would rather see her child dead on her doorstep than commit a mortal sin.
A Catholic woman learns to enjoy those hobbies that directly benefit her family.
A Catholic woman works to subdue her natural squeamishness and sensitivity when it comes to herself, without losing a gentle empathy for others.
A Catholic women's appearance is simple to avoid vanity, tidy to affirm her dignity, and formal out of respect for her company.
A Catholic woman is "attached to nothing and surprised by nothing" (St. Louis de Montfort).
A Catholic woman is the first to rise and the last to rest her head.
A Catholic woman prepares for Mass with daily meditation, for Holy Communion with how she eats each meal, for raising children with cleaning house, for obeying her husband with obeying her father, for modesty at Church with modesty at home, for a quiet heart with a quiet mouth, for recognizing Jesus at her judgement by recognizing Him in babies and beggars, for loving her friends by loving her enemies, for a martyrdom of blood with a martyrdom of will.
What do you think? What would you add? Reply in the comments!