"The Catholic Girl’s Survival Guide for the Single Years" by Emily Stimpson claims it is specifically for women, not men. It includes women who choose the single life as well as women who have chosen the religious life, which is, of course, a single one. Some of the good advice it gives in its introduction is: "Even if your final destination is a convent in Tennessee or a community of consecrated women in Maryland, for now you’re pretty much in the same boat as those of us desiring marriage, so again, read on. Take what applies to you and leave the rest."
Written by 35-year-old single Emily Stimpson, a freelance Catholic based in Steubenville, Ohio, "The Single Catholic Girl’s Survival Guide…" begins with the young, single girl who dreams of her knight in shining armor and progresses to the more mature single woman who has given up that dream of marriage.
I began the book wondering, "What’s in it for me?" and moved on to, "There is a lot out there for a married, 60-year -old woman after all." Sure, I left out a few parts of the book, but I was only following the author’s instructions.
Carefully written in seven chapters and with a meaningful introduction, the book has a little something for everyone, such as "Everything the Catholic Single Girl Needs to Know About Vocations and the Single Life" to "Everything the Catholic Single Needs About Moving Forward."
"The Good News about what we (in one way)," the book tells us, "is that we’re not doing it alone." Single women often find other single women with whom to develop friendships.
One of my favorite chapters is one that addresses single women who take on the responsibility of baby-sitting. However, one chapter about which I’m not too crazy is one based on single women who crave, but cannot find, "Mr. Right." What is missing here is the reality that the single woman just might be "Miss Right." I would like to see a book that turns the whole theme around, pointing out that "Mr. Right" is looking for "Miss Right."
I know plenty of single women and single men. In both cases I’m sure someone has simply missed the boat sometime down the river and overlooked the right person. Still, I know there are a number of men and women out there who are simply not interested in marriage. I was 23 when I got married, and my husband-to-be chose the old fashioned style of courtship. He asked my father if he could marry me, and my father asked me if I was interested. As I recall, Dad and I were washing the dishes at the time, and I almost broke a plate over the question.
The book is deeply Catholic, including the way it addressed the reality of sex in today’s dating scene. Stimpson covers the basics of John Paul II’s "Theology of the Body" and emphasizes the value of chastity.
In the book’s conclusion there is wisdom. "Grace and grace alone makes suffering endurable," the book reminds us. "And we’ve not yet been given the grace to be single or childless or alone tomorrow. We’ve being given the grace to be single, childless, and alone today.
"So be in the day. When imaginary fears about the future rear their head, dismiss them. Ask God for the grace to deal with the problems on your plate now, to guide you now, to console you now. Likewise, remember that you don’t know what the future holds. He does."