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These new Catholic studies speak to the hearts of teen girls

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Philippe Lissac | GODONG

Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 04/08/22

The studies on Catholic teaching are designed to reach teen girls’ hearts and minds with the topics they care most about.

It’s hard to be a teen girl in today’s world, but a new study series can make it a little easier.

A group study series on Catholic teaching has just been written especially for teenage girls by Endow. What’s Endow, you might ask? Endow stands for Educating on the Nature and Dignity of Women. The organization creates resources for women to educate themselves about Catholic teaching in small group communities. 

Endow’s landmark approach is a series of studies for women to dive deep into the riches of Church tradition. There’s no homework or advance reading: You show up as you are and enjoy a fruitful conversation. It’s a genius way to unite the Catholic intellectual tradition with intentional community.

The studies are understandably quite popular, so it’s wonderful to see that they’re now offering studies made especially for teen girls. There are three for middle school and four for high school. 

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If you’d like to learn more about the youth studies, you can join Endow on April 20 at 1 p.m. EDT for a virtual launch event with the author of the series, Teresa Hodgins, and several leaders involved in high school youth ministry specifically focused on leading high school women closer to Christ. 

“This event is open to all and we’d love to see priests and religious as well as mothers and teachers come and ask us questions about how they can use this series to love and serve their own young women,” said Laura Zambrana, Director of Content for Endow. Register by going to the events page on the Endow website or by clicking here. Free samples and other resources can be found on their website too. 

The team at Endow has worked hard to make sure the studies address the most important issues facing teen girls. The studies are designed to reach teen girls’ hearts and minds with the topics they care most about.

“In the war for the soul of our culture, woman is the battlefield and the teenage girl is ground zero,” said Annette Bergeon, Executive Director of Endow, in an interview with Aleteia. She explained why it’s so important for young women to have access to Catholic teaching about their dignity and purpose:

Many young women coming of age in our culture are not aware of their God-given dignity and value … Young women grow up concluding that their value comes from how they look, who they date, their grades or what college they get into rather than from who they are. Endow hopes that with this High School Study series, young women can encounter the reality of who they are (beloved daughters of the Father) and why they were created while they are still teenagers, in time to inform the life-impacting choices they are making in high school and as they make plans to leave home for college and beyond.

It’s such an important mission, and hopefully many girls can benefit from it. So how did Endow tailor the studies to the needs of teen girls?

First, they called on an author with experience as a youth minister and high school teacher, Teresa Hodgins, MTS. “I realized that there was a lack of resources for teen girls that aim to help them internalize the doctrines of the Catholic faith,” Hodgins said in an interview with Aleteia. “There were many resources available to just teach the doctrines, but not much that was designed to help them apply these truths to their lives.”

Once she encountered Endow’s work for adults, she thought their approach would be perfect for teen girls too. “I knew that their model, which emphasized learning in small groups, from original sources, would be an ideal setting for many girls to make these connections.”

The goal was to “create a resource for parents and youth ministers to help girls bring the ideas of their faith into their lives, helping them to see why what they learned in class was relevant to how they live.” Topics covered include the following:

  • Authentic Love
  • True Friendship
  • Romantic Love
  • The Mystery of Suffering
  • Vocation: Single Life, Marriage & Religious Life
  • Discovering their Personal Vocation

Hodgins then tailored the studies to young women with a broad approach.

Most Endow studies are based around a single document or saint, helping women to join together to take a deep dive deep into a particular topic. The Endow High School Study Series are more of an introduction to these deeper ideas—instead each helps to bring together and explain Catholic teaching on a particular topic of particular importance to teen girls. 

The youth studies are broad, but that doesn’t mean they’re shallow. “The high school studies draw from the rich tradition of the Church, including philosophers and theologians, as well as the many, many saints that have lived these teachings in an exemplary way.”

They’re a great introduction to conversations that will continue throughout each young woman’s life. “Through this approach, we hope to introduce girls to some of the deeper questions of later Endow studies, and to give them the foundation to understand these ideas in the context of their lives.”

Over nearly 20 years of work with women, the Endow team has seen many times “the transformation and joy brought about because of an Endow group encountering the wisdom of the Catholic Church.” 

Hodgins said, “We’ve seen conversions, marriages being strengthened, vocations to the religious life discovered, and women renewed by Jesus’ perennial love for women and saints like John Paul II and Edith Stein reminding us of his truth and its relevance for our lives today.” 

The team at Endow hopes the new youth studies can make a difference for good, just like their other studies have. “Our greatest hope for these studies is that they are opened and read and encountered by moms and daughters, teachers and students, mentors and friends.”

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