St. Teresa and the Single Ladies

Women in my family have given up homes, friends, careers, the pursuit of advanced degrees within months of completion to become housewives, stay-at-home moms, or to work in jobs they never would have chosen to pay their male partner’s way.

I understand that this was my female relatives’ choice. Yet I also know how infrequently you truly make the choice to sacrifice something you love; it’s more like a slow erosion. You give up one small thing, which makes it easier then to give up another, then another.

A fascinating read from Jessica Crispin in the New York Times on the choice of being single.


  • Kraft

    Too many people don’t understand being single as a vocation. Within the churchy world, vocation is used to describe your long-term state of life, so to speak. Traditionally, it was used in a pretty ecclesiastically—”he/she found their vocation” usually meant a woman entered a convert or a man a seminary. In the last 60 or so years, it has almost universally expanded to include marriage. In many places, though, being single isn’t discussed the same way yet. (One of my most influential theology mentors is a 50-60ish year-old single woman who isn’t a nun).

    That said, though, even when opting for a married life, the nuts and bolts of how that is lived out must be intentional. The piece’s author mentioned how it happens far far too often, which is sad to me. Vanessa stays at home with our kids, but that was an intentional choice—that one of us stays at home when they’re littlest. It was me for a couple of years. The decision wasn’t only that one of us stays at home with the kid, but who wants to be at home and what overall combination made the most sense. We’re outliers within our social circle though—most are two-income households.

    Anyhow, Teresa’s stuff is pretty great. My birthday was on her feast day and namesake for one of our kiddos. Great to read about her from a different perspective.

    • Erica

      That said, though, even when opting for a married life, the nuts and bolts of how that is lived out must be intentional.

      Well said! I completely agree – if we could encourage people do to what works best for them, single or married, and so on, I think we’d all be better off for it.

  • Cesar Abeid

    Thanks for this reminder, Erica.

    I heard from a priest friend of mine years ago when I was discerning my own vocation: “when you’re living it, you’ll find a peace… a peace that lasts.”

    I think that’s a good measure for realizing you’re on a right path 🙂

  • lettergrade

    Thanks so much for sharing that article, I loved it. I often find myself questioned, either by friends or strangers, about why I would want to travel or live alone. There is no social consciousness that there’s a ‘right’ way to do that, it’s immediately assumed to be the first line in a story about something else that’s missing, or yet to happen.

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