I’ve written countless times about my deep love for John Paul II. He was the wise father of my childhood, the only pope I really remembered being pope. Then, he was the guiding presence of my newlywed years, my pregnant years, nearly all my childbearing years. I was 39 the year he died, right on the brink of turning 40 and embracing all the changes that come with midlife. It was as if he’d taken me that far, and then there was a changing of the guard. I had walked the path of early adulthood, knowing that the Holy Father had a vision for what I could be. I heard his voice throughout my growing years, and I knew his expectations of me as a young woman.
The reality is that I had two more babies in my 40s, so the demarcation between childbearing and midlife wasn’t sharp and crisp. And the reality is that, contrary to what many people seem to think, John Paul II wasn’t just a pope for women who were mothers with children at home. He saw the grace and the beauty and the genuine, sweeping gift to humanity that motherhood was, but that was not the full extent of his appreciation for the feminine genius. Please read the rest here.