In 1999, Saint Bridget of Sweden, along with Saints Catherine of Siena and Edith Stein were named co-patronesses of Europe. All three women, while humble in spirit, showed so much strength of character that they individually (with our Lord' s help) influenced the social, political, and even religious systems of their times.
When I think of these incredible women, I have to laugh at the popular notion that Christianity, especially Catholicism, is a boys club. If you study the bible, it's actually the women who seem to do the right thing more often then the men.The strongest roll model we have is our Blessed Lady, with the echos of her great "yes" resounding in the hearts of the faithful forever.
Sadly, we do tend to define our sisters' strength in masculine terms, especially odd in this age of gender neutrality (whatever that means). Every morning I pass the same couple of women, with them leaving the gym, the same time as I leave Mass. I admit I go home and take a quick run, after morning prayer, but if time is limited, it is the running that loses out, as the inner strength which is a gift of God, is of greater importance than a tight tush. One day I am going to invite one or all of those 7 AM gymbots to church, and I usually try to say a little prayer for them on my ride home.
What is Strength? The answer is as easy as reading the lives of the saints, or watching a mother home school her five kids (one who has Downs), or maybe a college student who remains chaste amidst the hedonistic environment of dorm life, or the lawyer who gives up a 6 figure salary so she can be a missionary in Belize . . . but to truly know what true strength is, we only need to gaze upon the Cross.