By Estelle Mandeville
A theology professor spoke about both the feminine and the masculine genius as the second talk on the Gift of Human Sexuality Symposium in the Gentile Gallery at 9 pm on August 30.
Deborah Savage, who holds a doctorate in theology and philosophy and teaches at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, spoke about the distinct and equal gifts of men and women in her talk “Male and Female He Created Them: The Mission of Man and Woman in the Home and in the World.”
Savage talked about Pope St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and how he coined the term “the feminine genius.” Savage said, “There’s a masculine genius, too, and we should all be grateful for it.”
Savage said that scientific studies showed that male and female children are fundamentally different. “Baby girls look at faces; baby boys look at things,” she said.
Savage said that in the biblical view of men and women, the order of God’s creation reveals the hierarchy of creation itself. She said, “Man and woman are face to face in the order of creation” and that woman reveals man to himself.”
Savage explained that man was created before woman, so his first experience was of things, not people. “Man’s orientation toward things is a part of God’s design. If it weren’t for men, we would still be living in caves, afraid to come out,” she said.
On the other hand, Savage said, “Woman’s first experience is relationship.” The charism of women is to ensure authentic human flourishing.
Savage said that original sin affects men and women in different ways. Men are challenged with physical creation, working to farm nutrients out of the earth. Women are challenged with relationships.
Savage concluded by saying that men and women must combine their gifts and work together. She said that humanity needs men to be orientated towards things, building civilizations, and protecting humanity. However, none of these matter if women are not leading it towards human flourishing.
Junior Joe Pendergast said, “The basic truths of human nature and sexuality Dr. Savage affirmed may seem obvious, but the sexes and their relationship to one another deserve a proper defense.”
The Rev. Jonathan St. Andre, TOR said, “I appreciated Dr. Savage’s talk because she used scripture to dive into an authentic understanding of men and women, which is so needed in our culture.”
The talk was sponsored by Student Life.