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The Biblical Model of A Family-Loving Feminist

Penelope Trunk

Penelope Trunk Creative Commons

Devanie Cooper - published on 09/19/14

The holy woman is an entrepreneur.

Proverbs 31 is the one chapter in Scripture dedicated to describing “the ideal woman.”

As a student of business and an entrepreneur, I was intrigued that this holy woman spends her time training herself, producing, selling, investing and trading. She even embarks on several new business ventures in the twenty verses that describe her!

She “surpasses them all,” we’re told in Proverbs 31:29. She has real estate projects, engages in the operations of crop cultivation, which she trades at market. She’s woven clothing and produced belts for sale, all the while having an apostolate to the poor and needy. What are we supposed to learn from this multi-tasking phenom?

This passage is telling us that—as women striving after holiness—we should not hesitate to use all the talents the Lord has given us and all the skills He’s enabled us to acquire. Photography? Health care? Organization and home improvement? Graphic design? Social media marketing? Don’t hesitate to do it all.

After creating man and woman, God says to both “Fill the earth and subdue it" (Gen 1:28). He is not only instructing them to procreate to perpetuate the human species, He’s also giving both of them the earth, charging them with the responsibility to be stewards of its resources. The woman is the man’s helpmate in this!

Man and woman alike share equal responsibility from the start. In their fruitful relationship as husband and wife, in their common task of exercising dominion over the earth…” – Pope St. John Paul II, Letter to Women (1995)

Another interesting point about the woman in Proverbs 31 is that she’s not engaging in entrepreneurial endeavors for her own glory or for “pin money” to indulge in a spa day. She’s not working simply for the sake of profits. She works for the benefit of her family and the needy.

Bl. Zélie Martin, the mother of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, was an exquisite lace maker and very talented businesswoman. She read the newspaper every day and kept up with the stock market. She had many women working for her, and she was so successful in her work that her husband, Bl. Louis Martin, quit his job to become her business manager and salesman.

Like Zélie, we women should look at what our families are doing and see if we can contribute our talents to the work to which God has called them, directly or indirectly. The family doesn’t have to be engaged in the same thing, but as women striving with grace after the biblical ideal given to us, we should embrace our inner entrepreneur and be about the work God has put before us for the sake of our family and others.

Devanie Cooperis an entrepreneur passionate about her faith in Jesus Christ and the dignity of the human person. These days she works feverishly on plans for her construction company and not-for-profit, Children of the Immaculate Heart. She resides in Memphis, TN, and her favorite things all revolve around family and friends. She can be found online at

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