got me a college girl

in celebration of formal education in the life of the Christian girl

Monday, July 11, 2005

Letter to Biblus Sempronius, Defense of the Liberal Instruction of Women (Camille)

From Laura Cereta, 1488:

"Women have been able by nature to be exceptional, but have chosen lesser goals. For some women are concerned with parting their hair correctly, adorning themselves with lovely dresses, or decorating their fingers with pearls or other gems. Others delight in mouthing carefully composed phrases, indulging in dancing, or managing spoiled puppies. Still others wish to gaze at lavish banquet tables, to rest in sleep, or standing in mirrors, to smear their lovely faces. But those in whom a deeper integrity yearns for virtue, restrain from the start their youthful souls, reflect on higher things, harden the body with sobriety and trials, and crub their tongues, open their ears, compose their thoughts in wakeful hours, their minds in contemplation, to letters bonded to righteousness. For knowledge is not given as a gift, but [is gained] with diligence. The free mind, not shirking effort, always soars zealously toward the good, and the desire to know grows ever more wide and deep. It is because of no special holiness, therefore, that we [women] are rewarded by God the Giver with the gift of exceptional talent. Nature has generously lavished its gifts upon all people, opening to all the doors of choice through which reason sends envoys to the will, from which they learn to convey its desires. The will must choose to exercise the gift of reason.

"[But] where we [women] should be forceful we are [too often] devious; where we should be confident we are insecure. [Even worse], we are content with our condition."


  • At 7:39 AM, Blogger prairie girl said…


    That is a great quote. It reminded me of a woman I knew a long time ago who was intelligent and pursuing a career in elementary education. She had also graduated in the top 5 of her high school class. So I was puzzled by her "dumb blonde" routine whenever she was around men and finally asked her about it. (I am a brave soul,no?)

    Her response was that she "knew" men" didn't like smart women. Well, besides the fallacy of that idea, (I might say "some" men but none who would be worthy of MY attention) why did it matter whether or not men would like her?

    I believe that most women do long to have husbands and families. But that is not the sum of who we are. I think that by being the very best of what God intended us to be is the very means to achieving our heart's desires, whether it be a family or not or both. If a woman attempts to become something she is not, she may get what she wants but, as the Bible says, it will bring a leanness to her soul.


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