GREENVILLE, SC, October 19, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Two Catholic sisters fed-up with the mainstream expectation that women must “expose themselves” to be culturally relevant have teamed together to start a magazine that celebrates what they call the beauty of a “Christ-centered femininity.”
Dignitas Magazine — polar opposite to the how-to sex and fashion manual Seventeen — does not present women as orgasm-seeking sex dolls, but as God’s masterpieces of beauty endowed with great dignity.
Catherine and Abby Pelicano, both in their early 20s, told LifeSiteNews in an interview that they wanted to start a magazine that spoke to women about “owning their God-given value.” They wanted to present a counter-cultural, Christian perspective on the value and dignity of women.
“We were reading about the value of the human person in the eyes of God,” Abby said. “But looking around at the culture, we did not see that played out. We didn’t see people, especially women, owning their God-given value.”
Catherine said that she became interested in “human dignity” during her high school years. Her interest exploded into a passion after she attended a Theology of the Body youth conference and heard about “God’s plan” for how men and women are to live as men and women.
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The two sisters started reading and dialoguing with each other on the concepts of dignity, value, true beauty, femininity, and what it means to be a woman created in the image and likeness of God. They asked one another what these concepts meant for women.
“Our discussions were so powerful,” said Abby. “It was life changing for us to take-on these thoughts and questions about the dignity of womanhood, what it would mean to be a Christ-centered woman.”
The longer the sisters read and talked, the more they wanted to share what they discovered with other women.
“We wanted to shout out: ‘Hey ladies, we have dignity that comes from God.’”
The sisters decided that the best way to share their ideas was to start a new kind of magazine. Catherine possessed writing and editing skills. Abby was a graphic designer and photographer by trade. The sisters teamed up, pooled their resources, and produced the 68-page premier issue of Dignitas Magazine’ last April with a trail-blazing statement on the inside flap:
A stroll through the mall or a glance at the magazines in the check-out line will give you a clear idea of what our culture promotes as the ideal image of womanhood. The plunging necklines and disappearing hemlines of clothing in store windows tell you that to be a woman you must expose yourself to the world. Mainstream women’s magazines encourage this message by upholding edgy and provocative women celebrities as images to aspire to. These messages combine with hundreds of others to portray an ideal of womanhood that when tested proves unfulfilling, unattractive, and ultimately untrue.
“Our Catholic faith presents a nobler image of womanhood.
“The truth about our dignity from God gives us a powerful incentive to say ‘no’ to fashion trends that expose our bodies, and the beauty of Christ’s call to holiness motivates us to abandon the ugly provocativeness of our culture’s ideal womanhood. In their place, we discover the joyful challenge of dressing attractively yet modestly so as to affirm the worth of our bodies, as well as the fulfilling pursuit of an authentic life of virtue, especially the virtue of chastity.
The sisters stated that the the purpose of Dignitas Magazine is to “seek the truth about womanhood as God intended it to be, to encourage Catholic women to authentically live this truth, and to promote it in the world.
The sisters strive in their magazine to cultivate what they call a “very holistic approach” to the dignity of women, showcasing the beauty of authentic femininity, both inward and outward. Flipping through Dignitas, the casual reader will find articles on pro-life matters, a section on fashion, articles on the beauty of fertility, stories from the saints, and stories of real woman living out a Christ-centered femininity.
“If we have dignity that comes from God,” said Abby, “then that should impact how we dress, how we talk, how we present ourselves to the world.”
The pages of the first two issues of the online magazine have been viewed over 40 thousand times by people from every continent.
“It’s been so amazing to see how universal the theme of dignity is and how women from very different walks of life have been able to latch onto it and identify with it,” said Abby.
“A fifty year old woman told us that she ‘just loves’ that our magazine is out there and that she wants to share it with her daughters and nieces.”
The sisters hope one day to bring Dignitas to print if they can raise the money. They say that if enough people showed interest in supporting the magazine, they would have it printed “in a heartbeat”.
Nneka Bosland, a big fan of the magazine, told LifeSiteNews.com that God-fearing women “who are under so much pressure to be ‘sexy,’ immodest, immoral, and promiscuous” need a magazine like Dignitas to encourage them to “try to live a virtuous life and ‘enter through the narrow gate.’”
“Dignitas showcases the beautiful life of purity, chastity and modesty that Christ has to offer,” she said.