Holy Child Mothers' Prayer Group Chapel Talk Reflection
Each day, our daughters must navigate between two world views: the material world and the world envisioned by Holy Child’s foundress, Cornelia Connelly— a world that celebrates their God-given dignity and the joyous expression of that dignity.
This is what Father Carter Griffin, Vice Rector, Dean of Men at the St. Paul II Seminary, discussed at the most recent Holy Child Chapel Talk, hosted by Holy Child’s Mother’s Prayer Group.
The talk touched upon a Christian view of the human body compared to a material view that is often filled with gender confusion, over-sexualized messaging, and the pursuit of unrealistic perfection. The discussion extended beyond talk of the physical body to include one’s whole sense of self.
Father Griffin peeled back the layers of his comparison by discussing how in the material world, one’s dignity can get shrouded in what we do for a living, societal definitions of productivity, and - in the language of social media - how many likes we get, the perfect selfie, etc. Reflect even on the usage of photo filters — we filter out what is real — and replace it with something that is altered, and as Father Griffin posited, ultimately, empty.
The Christian view reveals that a person’s dignity isn’t based on how productive they are, what they do for living, what sports they play, what GPA they earn, or even what special gifts or talents they possess —all of which can change on a dime — but rather, one’s dignity is gifted to them by God and is unchangeable, unmalleable. The material world encourages us to filter out the imperfections, to filter out what doesn’t feel good or look “right.” But the Christian view challenges us as individuals to shut out the material world and to be true stewards of our dignity, our worth and ultimately our divinely-inspired holiness.
As parents, the Christian view calls us to guide our girls on a path to see, to know, and to embrace their “unfiltered” beauty and unchangeable God-given dignity as a means, for them and for us, to realize true happiness.
It was a deep talk for sure, one that left me with more questions than answers if I’m honest, but it also left me with a great sense of gratitude for the tenets that inform the education that takes place at Holy Child. For example, “Believe.” Believe is not the end game. Rather, in light of Father Griffin’s talk, it’s a foundation, a beginning, a commencement which our girls can hold firm at their core as they launch into life beyond our campus. Believe is a journey, Believe is something to fall back on when they stray, and something to turn to when they doubt. And Believe is most significantly a gift that we, as parents, give our kids by modeling our own value of true human dignity, by being authentic in our daily lives, at work, in marriage, in friendship, in how we treat people, and in how we prioritize what’s important in our own lives.
It is a daunting task, helping our girls toggle between these two worlds and ultimately choose wisely where to position themselves, even with the tremendous spiritual reinforcement we have at Holy Child. Lest we forget that the power of prayer, which Father Griffin encouraged, should remain ever in our hearts — and not just prayers of petitions, but prayers of gratitude.
My takeaways: model for my daughters what an authentic life looks like. Order my own priorities to model what is and what is not ultimately important. And imperfections, failures, embarrassments, etc., are no match for the constancy and potency of my dignity.
I hope when the birdies leave the nest that these are their takeaways too.
Written by: Colleen Morton (P '21)