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Kate Whittaker Cousino

Joined: Dec. 6, 2011

Bio:

During Pope John Paul II’s 1984 visit to Canada, I manifested my first bit of personalistic insight at the age of three, when I said to my mother “Do you know why I love that man? It’s because he loves me!” As an adult, I’ve only grown in my love for the person and thought of John Paul II. Other profound and formative influences on my life and thought include Catherine de Hueck Doherty, John Henry Newman, G.M. Hopkins, Frances de Sales, and my mother’s aphorisms.
I am a graduate of Ave Maria College, MI, and lived in the US for nearly a decade before returning to my ‘home and native land’ of Canada with three children in tow. I now combine freelance copy editing and proofreading with full-time parenting and part-time philosophical pondering.


Most recent posts by Kate Whittaker Cousino:     (See all of them)


Telling the truth about ourselves

May. 29 at 4:02pm | Comments: 1 | Most recent comment: May. 29 at 7:18pm

I want to propose a definition for modesty that seems to me to fit all of the best, most common-sense ideas of dress and modesty, while avoiding the traps some fall into which make it such a difficult virtue to talk about. First of all, I want to reject any definition that defines modesty strictly in terms of a negative: "Modesty is avoiding tempting others to lust. Modesty is avoiding drawing attention to your sexual attributes. Modesty is not standing...

“A Tower that will Pierce the Clouds”

Apr. 10 at 9:45am | Comments: 0

A couple of weeks ago, I picked up a book called An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. I'm not sure what kind of advice I expected to read from this former commander of the International Space Station, someone who did countless interviews from space (including being interviewed by William Shatner) and whose space-earth duets and extraterrestrial performance of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" received millions of views on YouTube. There...

Marriage and Freedom

Mar. 22 at 10:28pm | Comments: 7 | Most recent comment: Mar. 26 at 3:57am

A few days ago, a young engaged woman, Emma Smith wrote a piece on Catholic exchange called Marriage is Work. The take-away, as it came across to me and, apparently, others, was that failed marriages indicate a failure of the spouses to work, and that the primary advantage of a Catholic marriage is that Catholics do a lot of marriage prep, and that the sacramental nature of marriage gives you a sort of supernatural guarantee that, as long as...

The Poor are Persons

Jan. 19 at 3:17pm | Comments: 2 | Most recent comment: Jan. 22 at 1:24pm

Unfortunately, I haven't had much time to do any of my own writing lately. However, I ran across this piece today, and felt that it should be shared here, even if with minimal commentary or gloss: A number of years ago, a friend of mine said that if Christ were not in me, it would not be worth his while loving me. What an interesting comment to offer a friend! Of course one could hear this in a number of...

Parenting Persons

Dec. 13 at 9:03am | Comments: 6 | Most recent comment: Dec. 15 at 6:28am

I’ve been a mother for almost 9 years, and I’ve been discussing motherhood and parenting for longer still. When you’re a mother, parenting is both the easiest and most perilous topic to broach. Easy, because parenting can create a common bond between people who otherwise would have nothing in common—and if you’re as inept at small talk as I am, it is always a relief to have a common interest to...


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Re: Becoming Who You Are, Even If You're Not Sure Who That Is

Aug. 28 at 1:40pm | see this comment in context

Sometimes I think that the "who you are" in "become who you are" refers to our acting and being--which are inalienable, really. So it's not really that we can ever be not ourselves, but we are less than fully ourselves when we abdicate responsibility for our actions, when we re-act rather than act, when we choose by failing to choose. 

Which mean, I guess, that I am as fully myself in relationship as I am in a role or function, so long as I am fully present to the choices and persons around me, and fully choose to act out of my own gifts, abilities, and call to virtue. If I use a social construct, relationship, function, or even a 'vocation' as a prop, a layer of insulation against the terrible call to own my own actions and respond rightly to the goods around me, then they can be obstacles to my full development as "who I am." 

I remember when Jen Fulwiler wrote about realizing that the best 'me time' is the kind that reinvigorates--which tends to be active: creation, exercise, service, self-development. These are responses to the goods in ourselves, the world, and others. 

Re: Testing for soundness in relationships

Aug. 21 at 1:01pm | see this comment in context

I wouldn't say it is especially rare among Christians, but it may be rare among public Christians, those who are affected (infected?) by the "culture wars" narrative and envision themselves as courageous warriors against a hostile world. That narrative seems to attract people who value being right (ie. holding the 'right' opinions) as much (and often more) than doing right. 

On the other hand, ruthless self-examination and consciousness of one's own faults may actually deter others from taking public or visible roles (or result in those people being actively discouraged).

The authentically humble, I suspect, don't tend to be all that concerned with looking holy or humble or counter-cultural. They are too busy working out their own salvation in fear and trembling. And so they aren't necessarily going to be one of those people or families or groups that make people on the outside say, "I want to be like ____. They've really got it together."

Re: Testing for soundness in relationships

Aug. 21 at 11:37am | see this comment in context

If being able to accept correction is a sign of a trustworthy person, being able to accept correction from someone you are in a position of authority over may be the gold standard. 

Re: Testing for soundness in relationships

Aug. 21 at 11:27am | see this comment in context

I have related this story so many times that I am sure anyone who knows me at all well has heard it, but it made such a lasting impression on me. I was a teen. My mother was concerned about my welfare (I was being uncharacteristically close-lipped), and she knew I had been corresponding with my brother who was away at college. Rather than ask him whether she had anything to worry about (and trust his judgment if he said I was ok), she chose to read my emails to him. When I discovered this, I was furious. We argued about it for a couple of days on and off. 

Then Sunday came, and we went to Mass, still angry. And when we came out of Mass, my mother drew me aside and told me, "I was wrong. I'm sorry. Will you forgive me?" 

She humbled herself in prayer, and it led her to recognize the real harm she had done me and our relationship. This blew me away. 

Re: Life and death in a look

Aug. 2 at 12:48pm | see this comment in context

I read a parenting piece some years ago that made an impression on me. The writer had been worried about the effects of 'empty praise' on children, so she'd always focused on praising achievement instead. Eventually, however, she realized that her oldest daughter was become anxious about activities she had previously enjoyed (like soccer) because she'd made such a strong connection between excelling and her mother's approval and love. 

In trying to talk to her daughter to reassure her, the writer stumbled across something she came to think of as a magic phrase. She said, "You know, I just love to watch you run." And her daughter's face lit up. 

I've found myself using the same construction over and over with my own children since reading that piece because it is so true and it expresses something very important. What you write here about the 'gaze of love' resonates with that. Nothing encourages my children like hearing that I see them--see their joy, their persistence, their struggles, their small victories. And there's rest in it for me, to stop all that I am doing for a short time and contemplate these people I love. 

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  • Re: Pitfalls of Asserting Gender Roles
  • By: Katie van Schaijik
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