International Women’s Day is this Friday 8 March 2013. It is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.
So to celebrate the occasion and raise awareness, I’m hosting a synchroblog right here on the topic of Spiritual Midwives and Patron Saints. I’d like to add to the official celebration of International Women’s Day the voices of the Jesus Feminists – men and women who are feminists precisely because we follow Jesus – and make some room to celebrate the spiritual achievements of women, past, present, and future who have mattered to us.
What do I mean by Patron Saint? or Spiritual Midwife?
I use the terms Patron Saints and Spiritual Midwives to explain how I feel about the women intrinsically linked to my spiritual journey.
It’s an imperfect metaphor, but in a way, Spiritual Midwives helped God give birth to some new part of me. These women were the midwives – by their lives, their faith, their obedience, their words, their prayers, their real-life example – for the work that God birthed in me, and through me (they are the women I know personally). I use the phrase Patron Saint to explain how I feel about the women, both past and present, who have shepherded me through their work and legacy, and whom I seek to emulate in some way (these are the women I don’t know personally).
Women profoundly shape our spirituality. So let’s talk about them.
My Own Patron Saints and Spiritual Midwives
In my personal life, I have my mother, of course (if you’ve read here any amount of time, you are already well acquainted with her), and my sister, my Auntie Donna, my grandmothers, even my great-grandmothers, my mother-in-law. I have had women in my faith communities like Janet, Ruthanne, Karen, Eloise, Lisa, Tracy, Steph, Bonnie, Natalie, so many. I have plenty of “little sisters” in the faith, there, too, young women that I “mentored” throughout the years that have wound up teaching me more than I taught them like Abbie, Natalie, Bianca, Kelsey, and so many others dear souls.
There are biblical mothers like Junia and Phoebe, Huldah and Tabitha, Lydia, Mary Mother of God, Mary Magdalene, Mary and Martha of Bethany, Abigail, Esther, Vashti, and Priscilla. There are the women of church history like Florence Nightingale, Mother Theresa, Dorothy Day, Amy Semple McPherson, Corrie Ten Boom, St. Therese de Lisieux, the Salvation Army’s Evangeline Booth, and Gladys Aylward, on and on. Then there’s the writers and thinkers that mother me: Luci Shaw, Madeline L’Engle, Kathleen Norris, Anne Lamott, Lauren Winner, Jennie Allen, Ann Voskamp, Jen Hatmaker, Rachel Held Evans, Amber Haines, Emily Wierenga, Nish Weiseth, Megan Tietz, Phyllis Tickle, Mary Oliver, L.M. Montgomery, and so many more. There is my secret behind-the-scenes sister tribe, the SheLoves Magazine and Deeper Story families, and my real-life friends, a beautiful collection of souls, as well as my very own girls. And then there are the thousands of unnamed, unnoticed, uncelebrated women in our lineage of faith and our own stories, the ones famous only in Heaven, and I want to honour them, too.
All of them are with me, here, as I write and work and mother and love and live into the mission of God in my right-now life. These women are with you, too, I know. Writers, preachers, pastors, mamas, missionaries, teachers, labourers , aunties, biblical characters, neighbours, engineers -whatever.
Tell us about the women who have mattered to your spiritual formation. Who are your own Spiritual Midwives? And who are your Patron Saints?
Here’s how to participate:
- Write your own post on your own blog, telling us about your own Patron Saint and Spiritual Midwife. Write it quick, don’t overthink it, just spill it all out. Include pictures, tell a story, tell us about a moment, a conversation, a turning point. If you’ve already written one along these lines, feel free to link that up, too.
- Include a link in your own post back to this post here, so your readers can find other bloggers writing on the same topic. Feel free to steal my graphic up there, it’s all yours.
- Enter the link to your post (the actual post link, not just your blog link) into the Linky tool there below. (Email subscribers and RSS readers, you’ll likely need to click through to my actual blog to see the link-up.)
- Tell a few people about it – maybe through your Facebook or Twitter or by talking about it with your sister on the phone while the tinies holler in the background (ahem).
- Click around and visit a few of the other posts linked up, leave comments for each other, and encourage one another.