Book review of Blessed, Beautiful and Bodacious by Pat Gohn.
BY Sarah Reinhard
May 5-18, 2013 Issue | Posted 5/4/13 at 6:45 AM
Blessed, Beautiful and Bodacious
Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhood
By Pat Gohn
Ave Maria Press, 2013
192 pages, $14.95
To order: avemariapress.com
"Blessed evokes something of the sacred and the higher things. A woman needs to know that she is blessed, that she is a treasure — and the reasons why. This blessing is derived from the sources of a woman’s dignity.
"Beautiful … I’ve yet to meet a woman not seeking to be beautiful in some sense of the word. When it comes to the gifts of femininity, every woman has them. No woman was left out when God handed out these beauties. […]
"Bodacious is a bit bolder than the first two words, depending on your point of view. For me, bodacious is a compliment meaning remarkable or most excellent. It sounds one part attractive and one part audacious, both descriptors of many women, too."
Author Pat Gohn continues, in the preface of her newly released Blessed, Beautiful and Bodacious: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhood, to outline what she will do within the book.
Her goals include "exploring a woman’s dignity, gifts and mission," sharing what she’s "learned about womanhood from God, the Bible and the teachings of the Church, and from people who’ve loved [her] along the way" — and she leaves a lasting impact.
It’s a big goal, one that comes under the umbrella of an unusual — and arguably big — title. The book is divided into three sections, tackling the topics of dignity, gifts and mission. Within each section, each topic is addressed within the context of the companion adjective: blessed, beautiful and bodacious.
To be honest, I thought it might all be a bit much. Though I’m a fan of Gohn’s work — from her online writing to her Among Women podcast — I felt like maybe there was just a bit too much "cutesy" in this package for my taste. But within the pages of Blessed, Beautiful and Bodacious, I found a treatise on womanhood that’s a far cry from "cutesy" and a long way from "too much."
Gohn grasps both the modern mentality and Church teaching in a voice that’s down-to-earth. She manages to be conversational without downplaying what’s important; if anything, her ability to address the tough issues head-on makes her more believable.
At the end of each chapter, Gohn taps into her own devotion to the Blessed Virgin. Take this excerpt, from early in the book:
"In God’s economy, humility does not belittle Mary’s personhood or ours. God only affirms our dignity. Humility is a kind of emptiness that lets receptivity make sense. Humility says to God, ‘I trust you are good. I am yours. I’m open to your working in me.’
"Mary received God. She lets him into her heart, her womb and her whole life. She becomes the womanly embodiment of receptivity in all its forms: biological (womb), emotional (heart) and spiritual (soul). Her receptive nature reveals an active responsiveness to God and others. Mary holds nothing back from God, and God holds nothing back from Mary. She is neither passive nor weak. Her active Yes allows God to do ‘great things’ in her."
It’s the kind of book you’ll want to share with your favorite girlfriends once you’re done reading it.
Sarah Reinhard writes at
Listen to a Register Radio interview with author Pat Gohn about her book here.
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