One doesn’t have to look long or hard to see that the dignity and character of women are under assault in our culture. Advertisement agencies consistently resort to using provocative images of women as marketing ploys, while the entertainment industry promote edgy female celebrities as icons of “real womanhood.” Given this cultural climate, is it really any surprise that many young women today battle low self-esteem, or that standards of modesty and chastity are being steadily eroded? Despite the best efforts of even well-formed Catholic women, this cultural onslaught can leave us doubt-ridden and confused about who we are called to be as women of God.
It was in response to this struggle that sisters Abby and Catherine Pelicano launched their pilot issue of Dignitas Magazine, a free online publication, in April of this year. After years of wishing there was a relevant, quality magazine that could encourage Catholic women to live their faith and femininity with dignity, the Pelicano sisters decided to merge their talents and create their own. Over the course of nearly three years, the two sisters planned and concepted Dignitas (the Latin word for “dignity”) before they actually began to produce their first issue. Abby (25), a professional graphic designer, serves as Dignitas’s Creative Director, while Catherine (23) uses her interests in writing and editing in her role as Managing Editor. In support of their efforts are several other women who contribute as writers, photographers, and assistant editors.
These women share the Pelicano’s vision for Dignitas, which is to promote the dignity and beauty of Christ-centered womanhood. Readers will find the overall message of Dignitas to be positive and its content relevant to women of all ages. The topics covered range from discussions about the basis of human dignity to fun fashion ideas; from inspiring stories about the saints to news items of interest.
This broad range of topics means that mothers and daughters finally have a publication they can read with equal interest. This was no accident. The women behind Dignitas firmly believe that mothers are the most powerful pattern of womanhood for their daughters. It is the hope of the Dignitas team that their magazine will spark fruitful dialogue between mothers and daughters about issues and topics relevant to them both.
Since its Easter release, the first issue of Dignitas has received an enormously positive response from around the country and even internationally. The Dignitas team has heard directly from mothers and fathers, high school and college age girls, as well as many parishes and Catholic organizations who recognize the importance of the magazine’s message and are eager to see future issues. They won’t have to wait much longer with the summer issue set to release in mid-July. The Pelicanos plan to continue producing their publication quarterly with each issue free for viewing on their website, Dignitasmagazine.com. No formal subscription is required to read Dignitas; however one can sign-up to receive updates about the publication by sending an email to Dignitasmagazine@gmail.com.
While living out our femininity with dignity according to God’s plan is a constant and arduous battle in our current culture, the women behind Dignitas Magazine are convinced that success is possible. They hope their publication will both encourage and challenge other Catholic women to fight to the good fight for Christ-centered womanhood.
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