Thanks to their liberal arts education, which emphasized the importance of writing, many alumni enter the fields of writing, journalism, and publishing with great ease, competence, and success upon graduation. Christendom alumna Jennessa Terraccino recently joined their ranks with the publication of her work The Princess Guide: Faith Lessons from Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty (Servant Books). Using the stories and characters of fairy tales as a guide, Terraccino explores issues important to women today in her work, seeking to inspire them to dignity, femininity, and fervent faith.
The popular stories Terraccino references in The Princess Guide are a backdrop for lessons on beauty, vocation, sexuality and chastity, friendship, and marriage. Terraccino draws on Scripture, writings of saints, Church Fathers, The Catechism of the Catholic Church, and many interesting personal experiences over the course of the work.
“Personally, there was a lot I didn’t know when I headed off to college,” says Terraccino. “My book is filled with everything I wish someone had told me…[and is] a road map for a lady’s life.”
Terraccino, a 2008 graduate, says that earning her Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Christendom was key in preparing her for her apostolate.
“I am able to be both confident in the Faith and creative in my presentation – sharing the truths of the faith in a fresh way,” she says.
Studying both the moral theology and the catechetics concentrations, Terraccino also completed a youth ministry internship as part of her program of studies. As a full-time parish youth minister after her graduation, she realized that teens do not have ready access to the Church’s rich teachings on the complementarity of men and women. She began hosting monthly “Girl Talks” and “Guy Talks” to help the young people become true Christian men and women. The events were very popular and Terraccino started to think about writing a book to spread the message further.
The idea of using fairy tales as a creative vehicle for this teaching came to her when she was struck by the fact that an apple is used as a temptation in Snow White, mirroring the story of Adam and Eve.
“I started looking at fairy tales more carefully and drawing greater meaning from them,” she says.
“Since everyone knows the tales, and all girls want to be princesses, I started using fairy tales to speak to the hearts of young women about authentic femininity rooted in Christ.”
While The Princess Guide was written for older teens and young women in their 20’s, it is also a valuable resource for parents, teachers, youth ministers, and others tasked with the formation of Catholic women. Some other topics Terraccino tackles include cohabitation, the “con” of contraception, dating and relationships, modesty and fashion, religious life, and careers and motherhood. The book can be used as a guide for hosting “Girl Talks,” for a book study, or in the classroom. There is even a Guide to the Princess Guide available as an ebook from Amazon.
The Princess Guide is just one part of Terraccino’s apostolate ministry to young women, called Femme or Faux (femmeorfaux.com), which challenges young women to become true Christ-filled ladies, modeled on the Blessed Mother. As a young wife and mother of two small boys, Terraccino today concentrates on writing for a variety of Catholic publications and speaking at parishes, schools, and university campuses.
“I want all women to know how cherished they are,” she says, “and that it is okay to have ‘princess desires’ because Christ is our Prince!”
This story is taken from the summer edition of Instaurare, Christendom College’s quarterly magazine. To read more or subscribe, please visit christendom.edu/news/instaurare-magazine.