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Laboring for Purity

Posted by on Mar 3, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Last night, on my campus, South Dakota State University, a women’s study program invited in an anti-purity speaker, Jessica Valenti. Ms. Valenti’s main point is that notions of purity and virginity are means of male oppression. Very original. Her book is called: “The Purity Myth.” For a soul to write that, I truly pity her worldview. Our students have a three-fold response.

  1. We organized 20-25 women who went to the talk, their report is below.
  2. We organized 20 men who remained in the chapel interceding for all women during the talk.
  3. We organized 200 roses to be given away in the student union today: telling the women that they are worth the wait and quoting John 12.

Here is the account of Jamie, mother of 3 and wife to one of our FOCUS missionaries:

Wanted to briefly share with you what happened last night as 20-25 of us women went to Jessica Valenti’s talk. She spoke for about a 1/2 hour and to my surprise had questions afterward. I did agree with her some of the time about how we need to do something with the exploitation of women, unjustified rape cases, slogans on t-shirts that degrade women, etc. There was a commonality between us. She did fail to give REAL statistics, facts, that have been done. She generalized everything especially this stat of hers, “90% of Americas are sexually active and do you see 90% of us suicidal, depressed, high school drop outs?” Out of that 90%, do you know how many are married? AND, women who’ve had an abortion typically don’t come right out and said, “hey, I’ve had an abortion and I’m hurting.” They usually wait years and some don’t even know why they’re hurting. I’ve seen this first hand working with Rachel’s Vineyard.
After leaving her talk, I was so proud. 5 people (1 i didn’t know) from our group got up to ask questions! It was wonderful! We turned out to be the majority! The first question was about the modern feminist, Lila Rose ( – need to check it out!!!) and how she is going under cover in Planned Parenthood Clinics to expose the lies that they have been feeding young women including covering up rape which by law they need to report – and it’s ALL on video. My friend Kathryn asked if she, Jessica, would comment on Lila’s work because the majority of her stories during this talk were about unjustified rape cases. Jessica said, “no, i won’t comment.” So Kathryn returned to the microphone and clarified herself so Jessica had to AGAIN dodge the question by saying, “First of all, planned parenthood has done more good for women…!” The crowd started to erupt in applause. I thought it was pretty unprofessional that Jessica first declined to answer a very legit point.
My sister, Katie very boldly and courageously got up and said…I’m paraphrasing…”I’m a 24 year old conservative Catholic virgin. I find that not having to worry about contracting some disease or the fear of getting pregnant propells me in my studies and keeps my sights on my career. So what’s the harm in remaining pure and being a virgin?” Jessica pulled the relativism card with Katie. She then said that by saying you’re “pure” puts others down who’s had pre-marital sex. ????
This was followed by another student, Emily, from the Newman Center who asked Jessica to clarify what she means in her purity myth book and it was amazing to see Emily keep Jessica to task on the question.. By this time, you could obviously hear annoyance in Jessica’s voice.
The director of the education program at the local parish, Rachel, got up and told Jessica that she found that they have a lot in common and she agrees with some of what she had to say. She explained what kind of programs (theology of the body) they have going at the church for the girls AND the boys as well as those in high school. She asked her what her goal was – again, a great question! Rachel was booed by the crowd when she mentioned that aweful “a” word, “Abortion” which meant she really hit a nerve. It was great. 🙂
I was incredibly proud to stand among all those beautiful women last night in defense of Truth. Please pray for those who will be manning a both in the student union today. Their sign says, “Ask me about the gift of purity.” As John Paul II stated via my friend Angela, “Purity is the quickness to affirm the value of another in every situation.”
I went to her website ( and posted a comment about Lila Rose. We’ll see if it’s taken off the website after it’s “moderated”.
Thank you for all your prayers and especially to those who attended last night. Praise be Jesus Christ!!!

Pray for all women and for men to respect them.

St. Catherine of Sienna, pray for us.

h/t to Gustaf’s Greenery for helping us get the roses. Thanks Pat!


  1. Hi Fr. Andrew! Praise God what a great witness! Kudos to you and to these courageous women who stood up for the truth.

    Continue praying for me and my discernment. I am in 1st Theology now. The Lord is good!

    Comment by Gashwin — March 4, 2010 @ 4:11 pm

  2. Thanks Gashwin, I hope formation life goes well for you. Know of my prayers and my students' prayers for all those in formation. Drop an email if I can ever pray for anything specific.

    Pax et Bene.

    Comment by Fr. Andrew — March 4, 2010 @ 5:07 pm

  3. Love this story, but gaak! Red on black is so not readable! Please do your readers a favor and choose another color scheme.

    Comment by Lori — March 4, 2010 @ 7:14 pm

  4. Fr. Andrew,
    I saw that you told Gashwin to, " Drop an email if I can ever pray for anything specific." I do not mean to be presumptuous, however, I ask you to intercede on behalf of my wife Mellissa who filed for divorce. Pray that the Holy Spirit leads her to Godly sorrow which scripture says will bring repentance and reconciliation with Christ. Pray also that our marriage be restored through Christ. We have two small children, Daniel and Lindsey.

    Humbly and through Christ's merciful love,

    Comment by Anonymous — March 5, 2010 @ 4:02 am

  5. Father

    My friends in law school were typical secular hedonists, yet they did not expeirience the sexual shangrala they aimed for. After three years, I a chaste man had the same number of "conquests" as they did (essentially).

    The fact that I had a non-sexual yet more than platonic relationship with a fellow student for those years was enriching. Yet they spent the same time wasting time and energy and alot of emotional energy and heart-ache trying to get "some". All to little avail…(not that thats my whole point).

    I have found through carefull examination thats it's feast or famine out there. The hook-up culture fails more people than it satisfies. The guilt and hypocricy catches up to those who expierience a lions share of sexual power at one point only to encounter a desert at other points. (the bloom comes off the rose, – big man on campus becomes low man in corporate system, – cohabitation ends leaving a woman facing her biological clock late in life …and on & on)

    There is a intrinsic problem with college lectures and work with college students. That is: they are segregated by age and the only older people are too often culturally libertine proffesors and administrators and the like.

    One of the most powerfull things we can do is give witness to those students from people in their late 20's & thirties. These people, like myself know that the window is breif and shuts beforte you know it. Chastity and purity has very real practiucal benifits in helping people find the lifelong commitment & security and authentic emotional bonding they generally say they want.

    Comment by Fitz — March 5, 2010 @ 5:33 pm

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