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Australian initiative helps women find their God-given life purpose

Karen Doyle: “And the key point is it’s not for our own self-advancement, actually it’s all coming out of this heart of service, and in doing that, we actually become the most fully alive version of who He created us to be.”

KAREN Doyle is a great believer in Pope St John Paul II’s assertion that women are the answer to all major problems in the future.

Mrs Doyle said the former pope spoke often about the need for society to acknowledge the transformative effect women could have.

“Throughout John Paul II’s work he said to women, ‘You are an answer’, that women actually hold this key to transforming culture into a culture of life and love,” she said.

This was clearly articulated in the former pope’s letter to women, which thanked women for their contribution to society while also noting that there were still “obstacles which in so many parts of the world still keep women from being fully integrated into social, political and economic life”.

“Women will increasingly play a part in the solution of the serious problems of the future: leisure time, the quality of life, migration, social services, euthanasia, drugs, health care, the ecology, etc,” the pope wrote.

But while Mrs Doyle has spent the better part of 16 years trying to convince women of the truth of John Paul II’s letter, the reality is many women just don’t believe it.

“I think this is something that women often struggle with, and I think it’s because we learn at a young age that we need to be certain things for certain people, and so in a way we lose a sense of who we are, what we desire and what God is calling us to,” she said.

“I think so many women don’t realise that they actually have a unique mission and purpose, and God has given them unique gifts to fulfil that mission.”

READ MORE ABOUT KAREN DOYLE’S WORK: Groundbreaking resource for all Catholic women launched

Mentoring women throughout the country confirmed that women struggled deeply with living a purposeful life.

“It came out of my experience going along to some (mentoring) sessions with women who were airing some grievances and talking, and their whole focus was on what they lack, what they can’t have,” Mrs Doyle said.

“I was sitting there thinking, goodness me, when we focus so much on lack we forget the abundance of what we actually possess, and what we actually do have.”

Mrs Doyle was planning on launching her answer to this problem, The Genius Project, in March.

The Genius Project offers women an opportunity to take up online courses, mentoring and networking, and next year will launch a live-streamed, interactive summit.

It was unexpectedly launched virtually in March.

“Everything was ready to go to be launched at the Sisterhood conference in March, and then four days before the conference it was cancelled because of COVID,” Mrs Doyle said.

She said although there were many other programs and courses available for women to discover their purpose, The Genius Project worked differently because it did not promote “self-advancement”.

“What this is is getting to know who we are as daughters of God, understanding our identity, understanding our gifts, and then understanding where we’re called to use and serve with those gifts,” Mrs Doyle said.

“And the key point is it’s not for our own self-advancement, actually it’s all coming out of this heart of service, and in doing that, we actually become the most fully alive version of who He created us to be.”

Noting that many women who became mothers felt torn between their family and doing mission, Mrs Doyle added that for some women, motherhood could be their entire mission.

“It’s no good us pursuing our gifts and our mission and all this sort of stuff if our marriage and our children aren’t our highest priority,” she said.

“It has to be in that vocational order – relationship with God first, relationship with husband, then relationship with children, and then where am I being called to serve?

“There are some women who are purely called, and their real heart and their mission, is for motherhood.

“I had three kids in three years, and I remember filming a resource on the feminine genius.

“My pregnancies were horrific, I was throwing up for nine months, and I had to shelve it for four years because I had three babies under three.

“That season was not a time for me to be working and to be doing all this stuff.”

Mrs Doyle said women should discern prayerfully where they might be called to serve as a gift to God, not for their own fulfilment.

“There’s a great quote, ‘The glory of God is man or woman fully alive’,” Mrs Doyle said.

“My experience has been myself and then walking with so many other women, this is where women actually experience joy, they feel that they’re contributing and they feel fulfilled.

“God is calling us to do that.”

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