a quote to ponder…
Is it married women only who have a mission, and an important one? Certainly not. In these cases, I fall back upon woman’s mission into society at large. And is not this momentous? Has it not been admitted in all ages, and by all countries, that the influence of female character upon social virtue and happiness, and upon national strength and prosperity, is prodigious, whether for good or for evil? Is not the declaration with which Adolphe Monod opens his beautiful treatise perfectly true? “The greatest influence on earth, whether for good or for evil, is possessed by woman. Let us study the history of bygone ages, the state of barbarism and civilization; of the east and the west; of Paganism and Christianity; of antiquity and the middle ages; of the medieval and modern times; and we shall find that there is nothing which more decidedly separates them that that condition of woman.” Every woman, whether rich or poor, married or single, has a circle of influence within which, according to her character, she is exerting a certain amount of power for good or harm. Every woman, by her virtue or vice, by her folly or her wisdom, by her levity or her dignity, is adding something to our national elevation or degradation. As long as female virtue is prevalent, upheld by one sex and respected by the other, a nation cannot sink very low in the scale of ignominy by plunging into the depths of vice.
To a certain extent, woman is the conservator of her nation’s welfare. Her virtue, if firm and uncorrupted, will stand sentinel over that of the empire. Law, justice, liberty, and the arts all contribute, of course, to the well-being of a nation; beneficial influence flows in from various springs and innumerable contributors may be at work, each laboring in his vocation for his country’s weal. But let the general tone of female morals be low, and all will be rendered nugatory, while, on the other hand, the universal prevalence of womanly intelligence and virtue will swell the stream of civilization to its highest level, impregnate it with its richest qualities, and spread its fertility over the widest surface. A community is not likely to be overthrown where woman fulfills her mission, for by the power of her noble heart over the hearts of others she will raise it from its ruins and restore it again to prosperity and joy.
A Woman’s Mission, John Angell James