Katie van Schaijik

Joined: Aug. 12, 2011


Restless, melancholic soul of Irish descent. Born and raised in Connecticut, married to a Dutchman, mother of two daughters and three sons. I love books, conversation, friendship, delicious food, gardens, long walks and beautiful places. I am easily ensnared in politics and web-browsing. I crave silence, sweetness, poetry and peace. I am always wanting to write and ever-failing to write. All my hope is in God’s power and will to save; all my trust is in His promise.

Most recent posts by Katie van Schaijik:     (See all of them)

Testing for soundness in relationships

Aug. 21 at 8:44am | Comments: 11 | Most recent comment: Aug. 28 at 11:48am

I don't know if I can call it the number one lesson of my adulthood to date, but it's up there. I have learned that individuals and groups who seem to be wonderful may actually be badly mired in dysfunction, that is to say, unsound. An unsound group or individual can't manage right interpersonal relations, just as an unsound physical structure can't support weight. No matter how noble their aim and how good and sincere their intentions, they will...

Not whether I meant to offend, but whether I did offend: that is the question

Aug. 7 at 2:28pm | Comments: 9 | Most recent comment: Aug. 16 at 6:20pm

A couple of recent articles about wrongdoing and forgiveness together with some conversations, both in person and online, have revived my ever-ready ruminating on this subject. I keep being surprised and disturbed and taken aback by how much basic misunderstanding there is out there, even among otherwise mature and thoughtful Christians. Let's take a case: person A (we'll call her Ann) is offended by person B (we'll call him Bob.) Ann says to Bob, "That offended me." And Bob responds, ...

Dietrich von Hildebrand and Victor Frankl

Aug. 4 at 10:49am | Comments: 0

Having heard somewhere that Dietrich von Hildebrand had "discovered" Victor Frankl, author of Man's Search for Meaning and founder of Logotherapy, I asked Alice von Hildebrand to tell me the story the other day. Here is her ten-minute reply. Some of her details are off. For instance, according to The Victor Frankl Institute website, he was in a concentration camp for 3, not 7 years. But the gist is true and touching. N.B. "Gogo" was von Hildebrand's nickname. Von...

Life and death in a look

Aug. 2 at 12:09pm | Comments: 1 | Most recent comment: Aug. 2 at 12:48pm

I've noticed in recent years that my favorite thinkers-about-love regularly refer to "the gaze of love." I have immediately in mind Dietrich von HIldebrand, Karol Wojtyla, Jean Vanier, and Roger Scruton. Plato, of course, called the eyes "the windows to the soul." It is in and through the eyes of someone who loves us that we feel and experience ourselves as loved, as valuable, and hence discover our reality as personal selves. Maria Fedoryka discusses the point in the talks...

Searching for community

Jul. 30 at 10:13am | Comments: 68 | Most recent comment: Aug. 19 at 7:46pm

One of my ongoing mental preoccupations is the problem of community. How do we establish it without getting it wrong? What are the sound principles of "intentional" communal living? By "intentional" I mean a kind of communal life that is deliberately adopted and cultivated, as opposed to what occurs spontaneously just from the fact of our living in society. I've been pondering it since my undergraduate days, when my discovery of philosophy coincided with the imploding of the covenant communities...

Latest comments by Katie van Schaijik:     (See all of them)

Re: Pitfalls of Asserting Gender Roles

Aug. 30 at 9:03am | see this comment in context

Ian, I couldn't agree more. I, too, am often irritated and dismayed by the way gender roles are discussed in Christian circles.

I got in a heated online exchaged recently over an article that extolled the male tendency to be domineering.

The author theorized that men need to be dominating, because they need to learn to dominate themselves, viz. their own fallen nature.

Women don't need to conquer our fallen nature. That comes naturally to us.

So, that was an instance of treating something common to all persons as if it's especially applicable to men, which is demeaning to women.

Then, the emphasis on roles very often neglects the individuality of persons, which always exceeds generalizations.

I think the problem becomes serious when we treat a general observation (e.g. "women are better at men than homemaking") as a moral prescripton: "Therefore no woman should work outside the home."

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

Aug. 29 at 10:30am | see this comment in context

Do you think anyone really believes that?

Maybe I live in a bubble. But I know lots of people who think being Catholic (for instance) means "you have to stay in relationships" and that all concern for authenticity is a modernist cover for egocentrism, that annulments are nothing but ephemisms for divorce, and that if you're a mother it means that you "role" is to be a fulltime housewife, and so on and so forth.

I haven't met anyone who thinks we don't need relationships. 

I know they're out there, but I don't come across them.

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

Aug. 29 at 9:43am | see this comment in context

I like what you say here, Kate.

As someone who has had a lot to learn about personal authenticity, I have more sympathy (I think) than a lot of conservative Catholics—certainly more than I used to have myself—for the contemporary ways of talking about about the self.

I mean, I understand now in ways I didn't used to, for instance, that "me time" is something I need. I used to scorn the idea as selfish. "All of me and my time belongs to God and my husband and children." I didn't understand that this was a neglect of my own humanity.

I had to learn not to be driven by my "role" as wife and mother, and so on. I hadn't realized how alienated from myself I was, and how artificial many of my ideas of what I ought to do and be were.

I had to learn to "taken possession of the land" that is my self—take responsibility for my thoughts, feelings, acts, limits, etc.

Part of this entailed a discovery that some of my relationships weren't real.

I'm still learning.

Re: Testing for soundness in relationships

Aug. 28 at 8:07am | see this comment in context

In the case of the apostolate I mentioned that I used to support financially, I twice sent emails expressing my concern. I got no answer. Then I noticed on facebook that many others shared my concern. The public outcry became strong enough that the head of the organization wrote about it. He didn't just defend his organization, he touted the Christian heroism of its members. He didn't just disagree with the critics, he chastized them for their lack of charity.

That's when I determined to disengage, which is to say (in this case), stop sending them money.

Re: Testing for soundness in relationships

Aug. 27 at 9:28pm | see this comment in context

Internally, the leadership would have conducted an investigation, determined the facts, determined who was responsible for what, and called those employees on the carpet. He would have told them that their work was substandard and will have to improve.

That's the opposite of throwing people under the bus.

No reality-based person expects any organization or institution to be perfect.

But we can and do expect them to be responsible. Organizations (like individuals) that hide or deny or downplay their wrongs, or deflect all criticism back on to the moral character of the one making it—as if in order to fulfill their mission they have to have a perfect image—are dysfunctional. 

My advice is: Keep away.

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