Hello everyone! So I just purchased the book, “The Valiant Maiden’s Crusade: A Catholic Girl’s Guide to Modesty and Purity” by Mary Anne Scheeler and Nicole M. McGinnis, and I wanted to do a little book review!
This is in collaboration with Rhianon over at My Little Domestic Church! When you are finished with my review go and check out her video on her youtube channel. ❤
First of all, I need to make a huge clarification: this book review is my own opinion and should not be viewed as the “Official Catholic Modesty” position or the position of the entire Catholic Church. This is my own personal opinion and I can be wrong many times so, please don’t take this as the official Catholic Church’s response to a book on Modesty. These are simply my own thoughts.
Ok, what all that said, here’s goes!
FIRST THOUGHTS / IMPRESSIONS:
- I found the cover absolutely beautiful! I love the purple and the art and just everything about it.
- I loved the description too, “Every one of us can continue to from in these virtues which are so very dear to Our Lord. We must do everything we can, to not only return to modesty and purity in dress and behavior, but also to help others return to it through good example and fain knowledge.” And, “This is a guide designed for girls who would like to please Our Lord more and make reparation for those who do not honor Him. Written and complied by two Catholic mothers and the aid of Catholic priests, it includes many beautiful pictures, teachings of Holy Mother Church, and quotes from saints and popes as well as examples from their lives. All these are lovingly included in this book so that it will hopefully help aid you on your journey towards greater sanctity.” (From the Amazon Prime description.) Beautiful. I love this very much.
- Flipping through the book I was so happy to see pictures! I love that each page has photos and reminders, especially since this book seems sort of like a sweet School-book of sorts for young girls.
- I noticed too that they had a really nice bibliography in the back, as well as website suggestions, which are very useful. I am ALL ABOUT SOURCESSSS!!!!
AFTER READING THE BOOK:
- I was really really glad to hear from from Cardinal Rufino Santos in greater detail! I couldn’t for the life of me find more information from him while researching his take on modesty in the past. I had only heard that he “quotes Basilio Pompili’s guidelines as “The Church’s stand concerning modesty in dress” in his Pastoral of December 6.” but never could find the direct quote or the pastoral in which he wrote this. This book has quite a bit from Cardinal Santos, which I am so happy to read about!
- I also greatly enjoyed reading about a Bishop speaking about the breakdown of the family and women wearing trousers, quoted in a Secular Newspaper in 1945! However I wasn’t too sure if he meant just literally women wearing trousers, or the figurative “wearing of the trousers”, or both. It was probably both.
- I loved the clear manner in which they gave direct proof that “you can do pretty much anything in a skirt!” With photos, as reminders, that women have really been doing everything in skirts (long ones!) since the beginning of time, at least in most cultures where women wore long skirts. It is a very good reminder. It is really silly to use that as a reason to either hate on women who wear only skirts or to refuse to wear skirts, because it just simply isn’t true that you “cannot do anything in a skirt”.
- I also thought it was great that the book gave simple and clear instructions on sewing a simple skirt, which is always good to know.
- I noticed that they also had a timeline! Which is wicked cool! I have a large one in my book and found it really cool that someone else thought to do pretty much the same thing!
- I love how the tone of the book is very much like books like, Fr Lasance’s “A Young Girl’s Guide.” It’s very sweet and just like a mother reading to her little girl. And I really love how the book is like a School Book in a way, that one can create a course if they wish for their little girls if they wish to do so.
- The segment on “Sisters in Christ” is one of my favorites, (page 111) where they speak about separating the garment from the person wearing it, in such a way that we do not judge the person wearing the immodest outfit, but pray for them and treat them as sisters in Christ.
There were of course a few things I personally disagreed with, at least until I hear it verbatim from the Catechisms, or Canon Law, ect. I am still open to these ideas, but still, I personally don’t find there is enough hard evidence to prove that these things are not just cultural differences, and not sinful. Two of these being makeup, and tall boots. Moderation is the key word here. Personally, when it comes to makeup I think the Church has spoken pretty clearly on it as being a moderation issue, not a “throw the baby out with the bathwater” issue. St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church, says that women can follow their local customs of wearing makeup without committing a mortal sin so long as they have no sinful intent*. And Saint Thomas Aquinas dives deep into the subject in the Summa, which again brings it back around to it being more about “moderation” and the inner desire of the person.* However, at the same time, I am in agreement, with the book, that makeup is not for little girls (except perhaps during stage plays?), and I do not dispute the quotes of the seriousness of makeup. As most everything in life, there is danger of scruples, immoderation, vanity and pride ect. 😊
I’m also a bit confused as to why tall boots would be an issue, if they are not ridiculously high / sexy / ect. But perhaps I am just uneducated in this field, which is very possible. 😊😂
All in all, I give this book a 8/10! I think it’s a great resource, especially for homeschooling parent’s who want a good book to base a class on for their little girls, or just a good book on the topic to read along with them.
Now go and watch Rhianon’s video review on this same book over on her youtube channel “My Little Domestic Church”!!
*”[We] excuse from mortal sin those who because of a local custom expose their breasts, or use makeup, pigments or fake hair, so long as they are doing it only to appear more beautiful, not out of a lascivious motive, or with some other mortally sinful intent, or if there is a particular law prohibiting something in particular under pain of mortal sin.” (Moral Theology, Book 2, Treatise 3, On Charity, Chapter 2.54, trans. Mark K. Spencer)
* “It is not in the outward things themselves which man uses, that there is vice, but on the part of man who uses them immoderately.” (STh, II, q.169, a.1) And “…such painting does not always involve a mortal sin, but only when it is done for the sake of sensuous pleasure or in contempt of God, and it is to like cases that Cyprian refers. It must, however, be observed that it is one thing to counterfeit a beauty one has not, and another to hide a disfigurement arising from some cause such as sickness or the like. For this is lawful, since according to the Apostle (1 Corinthians 12:23), “such as we think to be the less honorable members of the body, about these we put more abundant honor.” ( STh, II, q.169, a.2). The whole of question 169 is great to read too, to get the whole feel of what St. Thomas is getting at.