Two sisters focus Internet publication on Christ-centered womanhood

Catherine and Abby Pelicano have started an online publication aimed at helping women live lives guided by Christian values, not the messages of pop culture or the secular media.

The Upstate siblings launched Dignitas Magazine ( in mid-April, and have since received positive comments and emails from readers of all ages and faiths, some from as far away as Europe and India.

The fledgling publication’s stated focus is “exploring the dignity of and beauty of Christ-centered womanhood.”

The Pelicanos attend St. Mary Church in Greenville. Both have media backgrounds: Catherine as a writer and Abby as a freelance writer and photographer.

Catherine became interested in Christ-centered womanhood from workshops and books on the subject. Abby said the topic became important to her after a visit to a hair salon three years ago. She picked up a magazine in the waiting area and was so disturbed by  the front cover that she put it down immediately.

“It was so bad I didn’t even want to be seen holding the magazine,” she said. “There were scantily clad women and topics that sent messages that made me uneasy. I started thinking about many of these magazines and how they make women question their looks and themselves, whether they are ‘good enough’ according to pop culture. I didn’t like that feeling, and I started to think that women needed to be told about their dignity in Christ.”

The Pelicanos spent almost three years exploring ideas, discussed it with friends and their church women’s group, and then spent months working on the first issue.

The premiere of Dignitas includes articles on the Eucharist, the concept of Christ-centered womanhood, the strength of Mary, the life of St. Cecelia, and church teachings on contraception. Thought-provoking news explores the horrors of gender-selection of the unborn in some countries. More light-hearted features include spring decorating tips, book reviews, and a fashion spread called “Real Closet,” displaying stylish yet modest clothes from their own wardrobes.

For now, Dignitas is online only, but the Pelicanos’ big dream is to eventually publish a print version. While articles on the sacraments, Catholic prayer and the saints are obviously geared toward Catholic women, they hope all women will find comfort and inspiration in its pages.

Currently the goal is to publish one issue of Dignitas each quarter, and the sisters are already working on the next issue.

It’s a challenge because both work full-time jobs.  The magazine is purely a labor of love.

They want Dignitas to reach women with a variety of interests and perspectives on life, including singles, working women and young mothers.

Christ-centered femininity, they said, does not mean only “girly” women or those with quiet, meek personalities. Instead, there is room in God’s world for both the woman who likes ruffles and frills and the one who might prefer practicing for the U.S. Marine Mud Run. The importance, they say, is a woman’s relationship with Christ.

“The balance of being feminine includes all of those things, because it all comes to who you really are, and where your worth lies,” Abby said. “Your worth lies in Christ, and that helps put all the other things in perspective.”

UPDATE: On March 12, 2013, the Pelicanos sent out an email to subscribers stating the publication would be put on hold indefinitely.