God has given each human being a threefold destiny:
- to grow into the likeness of God through the development of his faculties,
- to procreate descendants, and
- to hold dominion over the earth.
In addition, it is promised that a life of faith and personal union with the Redeemer will be rewarded by eternal contemplation of God. These destinies, natural and supernatural, are identical for both man and woman. But in the realm of duties, differences determined by sex exist.
With the woman there are capabilities of caring, protecting, and promoting that which is becoming and growing.Tweet
Lordship over the earth is the primary occupation of man: for this, the woman is placed at his side as helpmate.
The primary calling of woman is the procreation and raising of children; for this, the man is given to her as protector.
Thus it is suitable that the same gifts occur in both, but in different proportions and relation. In the case of the man, gifts for struggle, conquest, and dominion are especially necessary: bodily force for taking possession of that exterior to him, intellect for a cognitive type of penetration of the world, the powers of will and action for works of creative nature.
An equipment equal to the man’s is included in the adaptive ability, as well as the possibility of performing the same work as he does, either in common with him or in his place.Tweet
With the woman there are capabilities of caring, protecting, and promoting that which is becoming and growing. She has the gift thereby to live in an intimately bound physical compass and to collect her forces in silence; on the other hand, she is created to endure pain, to adapt and abnegate herself.
She is psychically directed to the concrete, the individual, and the personal: she has the ability to grasp the concrete in its individuality and to adapt herself to it, and she has the longing to help this peculiarity to its development.
An equipment equal to the man’s is included in the adaptive ability, as well as the possibility of performing the same work as he does, either in common with him or in his place.
Saint Edith Stein
Essays on Woman
Spirituality of the Christian Woman
Zurich, January 1932
Stein, E 1996, Essays on Woman, 2nd edition, translated from the German by Oben, F, ICS Publications, Washington D.C.