To the Ladies of Franciscan University,
YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. You are. And I know you know that, but do you believe it?
That is the reason we wanted to have this Fashion Show. At the beginning of the school year the Women’s Ministry Core Team was on retreat and we got into a really deep conversation about the fact that we sometimes struggle to see our own beauty because we get trapped in webs of lies, negativity, and comparison. Fighting those lies and negativity has been the theme of our mission this year, and we wanted that to culminate in this final event. Our goal with this Fashion Show is to empower you, in a fun and engaging way, with the truth, knowledge, and understanding needed to embrace your body and fight the lies of comparison and negative self-image. By providing some practical tips about how to best fit and flatter your unique and beautiful body, we hope to help you begin to feel fabulous in your own skin.
I know that some might be skeptical of our choice to have a Fashion Show because they might think it is either too superficial an approach or too patronizing to judge some clothing as being better than others. Allow me to briefly address both of these concerns, because I believe them to be valid ones, and explain why we still chose to have this event.
It is true that our clothing is NOT US. We cannot be superficial and think that it is. Yet why does it hurt so much when someone criticizes our choice of clothing? Why do we take that personally? If there was no connection between our personhood and our clothing, then this would not be the case. But it is. The reason why is that our clothing does say something about us, even if our clothing is not us.
It is because we recognize this truth that we believe a Fashion Show is a worthwhile endeavor. We want to give women the tools to say with their clothing the truth about who they are, and that truth is that they are BEAUTIFUL. This desire to express in a visible and material way a deep and profound truth is an extremely CATHOLIC notion. One might even call it sacramental. It is why babies are given white garments when they are baptized or why religious sisters wear veils.
St. Gianna Molla says that, “We must be living witnesses of the beauty and grandeur of Christianity,” and yes, we witness to others in a profound way with the clothing we wear. But we also witness to ourselves. We know that we are beautiful but we can forget this, just as we can “forget” that Christ is present in the Eucharist. That is why the Church helps to remind us, with outward signs like kneeling, of the reality before us. Just as the habit of kneeling reminds us that the Body of Christ before us deserves our reverence, so can the habit of dressing ourselves in beautiful clothing remind us that the body before us in the mirror deserves our reverence too.
It is my greatest hope and prayer that you would come to know and believe that you are beautiful, and if anything that is done or said in this Fashion Show helps you to realize that, I praise God for it.
In the Fire of Christ’s Love,
Student Head of Women’s Ministry, 2016-2017
Please join us for our Fashion Show Wednesday April 5 at 8pm in the Gentile Gallery! Snacks and alcoholic beverages will be provided (with ID).