In which I announce the International Women’s Day synchroblog

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.

Patron Saints and Spiritual Midwives :: Sarah Bessey


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 AllenAnn Voskamp, Jen HatmakerRachel 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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).
  5. Click around and visit a few of the other posts linked up, leave comments for each other, and encourage one another.

faith, Jesus Feminist, women, work

63 Responses to In which I announce the International Women’s Day synchroblog

  1. Danielle | from two to one March 6, 2013 at 10:03 am #

    Great idea, Sarah. So thankful for your prophetic, Jesus Feminist-y voice. Happy Women’s Day!!

  2. Jean Wise March 6, 2013 at 10:10 am #

    Sarah I just wrote a post yesterday about strong women and mention international women day. Wow two great minds working alike. I am excited. The post will be live tomorrow am and I will come back here then and link up. Great idea. will add your blog in case others want to come back here.

  3. Nicole Romero March 6, 2013 at 10:20 am #

    I am so excited about this linkup. I have a serious burning in me to discuss this lately and am encouraged to join an ongoing conversation!!

  4. Emily Wierenga March 6, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    Hope you don’t mind, friend, but I linked up a post about what my spiritual mothers are teaching me about myself. A Woman’s Manifesto. Love this, and the way you embrace the sisterhood.

  5. HopefulLeigh March 6, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    If not for my blog sabbatical, I’d be all over this. Looking forward to reading these posts.

  6. Jessica March 6, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    I think I’ve got an old Women of Valor post lying around here somewhere that might do the trick . . .

  7. mizmelly March 6, 2013 at 11:35 am #

    Oh I miss writing a blog. My troll put paid to any hopes for me writing a blog for the near future. Sad to have to miss out on this one. Will look forward to reading some of the entries.

  8. dukeslee March 6, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    Love this link-up, Sarah. And a hearty YES to the uncelebrated and unnoticed women in our lineages.

  9. Nicole Romero March 6, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

    Hey Sarah… soooo, I’m new. And I did it incorrectly above. I’m #1 and I did it wrong. :) Here’s the actual link to my post on this topic. That link only leads to my about page. lalalala.

    • Sarah Bessey March 10, 2013 at 11:09 am #

      Oh, that’s fine! And loved your post, Nicole.

  10. Lydia Lee March 6, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

    Hi, My name is Lydia Lee. I am 11 years old. I attached my story from my blog, Out of the Ordinary. My mom said that it would be OK to attach it. She also told me that you love Haiti. And I do too!!! :)

    • Sarah Bessey March 10, 2013 at 11:07 am #

      Lydia Lee – you are a delight to me. Loved your post!

  11. amber@therunamuck March 7, 2013 at 7:57 am #

    Hey you. I feel like we’ve been walking together a while, just side by side walking, and the longer we walk, the lower we get, and the greater God becomes. You are the kind of sister who trudges. Thank you. I love you.

    • Sarah Bessey March 10, 2013 at 11:08 am #

      This sums us up, indeed – we’ll trudge together.

  12. Jen Hatmaker March 7, 2013 at 8:05 am #

    I just love you.

  13. Jerri Miller March 7, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    I am linking up the story of the lady who asked me, a church kid, if I’d asked Jesus into my heart. She was the first one to ever do that …

  14. Tara M. Owens March 7, 2013 at 10:10 pm #

    So, I linked myself up (first time every) and the image is all weird. Not sure how to fix it, but I am still very grateful for the inspiration.

  15. Michelle DeRusha March 8, 2013 at 5:35 am #

    Love this idea, Sarah. Hooray for International Women’s Day!

  16. Stephanie Spencer March 8, 2013 at 6:36 am #

    I am in tears this morning after writing my post. Thank you so much for the prompt to honor women who have impacted our lives. My friend Carol is so deserving of a tribute, and I don’t know that I would have done it otherwise.

    • Sarah Bessey March 10, 2013 at 11:08 am #

      Me, too! Your friend Carol is amazing – loved reading yours, stephanie!

  17. Debbie March 8, 2013 at 9:32 am #

    I posted on a blog that I facilitate – Thank you for this!! Great idea!

  18. James Prescott March 9, 2013 at 3:10 am #

    Writing my post left me in tears too – a great idea, thanks for encouraging us to do this. So many awesome posts.

  19. mizmelly March 9, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

    I don’t have a blog, so I’m celebrating (albeit a bit late) my spiritual midwives and patron saints here. First, there’s my own mother Tricia, who died 6 years ago. She taught me how to find beauty in unlikely places and she showed me how to stand up for the least of these. Her whole life was a study in resilience and determination and she helped guide me to places where I might meet God, while never forcing her own faith on me. Then there’s her best friend Anne R-M, who held vigil with me the night before Mum died and walked me through the subsequent grief as well as my first pregnancy and the early days of my daughter’s life; all of which happened within a year. Anne showed me how to stand up and walk forward in the dark. Pat S. gave me her own guitar when I was 15, because she believed in me as worship leader. She also took me seriously as a writer when she honestly critiqued my first attempt at a novel in my early teens. She had an unorthodox style to being a minister’s wife and then went into ordained ministry herself. I will never be more grateful for witnessing her bravery in following her calling.
    Jeanne D. was a haven in a storm and taught me patience and perseverance. She has given me a vision of how family could be in spite of curveballs and spiritual hurricanes.
    Shelley M, my acting teacher who laughed out loud when she discovered I was a Christian, pushed me to question my faith, not to take it for granted. She would only accept me training to become a preacher in my church if I was going to ‘change it from the inside’! She taught me how to be present in the moment as an actor, which has led me to experience God’s heartbeat in every moment of life.

    My aunties Kath, Anne and Angie, and cousins Bree, Lisa, Tami and Laura have taught me, from the perspectives of their varying spiritual beliefs, that God is bigger than we know and is not about to be straitjacketed by Christianity.
    Finally my patron saints would have to be Sue Monk Kidd, for opening up the world of the Divine Feminine to me in her book Dance of the Dissident Daughter. Rachel Held Evans, for her unwavering for standing up to bullying, machismo and misogyny in the church. And you, dear Sarah Bessey, for lighting the way in terms of parenting, writing, celebration of the day to day. Thank you for being so vulnerable in sharing your heart. God has spoken to me so often through you.

    Thanks for the opportunity to honour these amazing women in my life. Melanie

  20. Amanda Steyer March 9, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    I keep thinking I’m done, then refreshing the page and finding more wonderful words. Thank you for blessing us all with this opportunity to share and celebrate these blessed beings!

    • Sarah Bessey March 10, 2013 at 11:07 am #

      You and me both! I think I finally got through all of them – what richness!


  1. Character Study: Measuring Up | 3dLessons4Life's Blog - March 6, 2013

    [...] Sarah for Patron Saints and Spiritual [...]

  2. Women scare. Women's care. | Mary DeMuth - March 6, 2013

    [...] Sarah is inviting folks to talk about their favorite women, the ones who have poured into us. She offers the invitation to you, here on her blog. Click over and take a looksee. Link up. [...]

  3. What I Gather About Women of Valor | Rachael Gathers - March 6, 2013

    [...] Sarah Bessey is hosting a synchroblog in honor of International Women’s Day this Friday, March 8th.  Read here for her post on Patron Saints and Spiritual Midwives. [...]

  4. My Spiritual Moms | Laura L Johnson - March 7, 2013

    [...] To read about more great mothers in the faith, visit The International Woman’s Day Synchroblog. [...]

  5. Synchroblog for International Women’s Day | Predatory Lies - March 7, 2013

    [...] (and you) have been invited to participate in a synchroblog to honor the Midwives and Patron Saints of our lives. Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day. Let’s recognize it from the perspective [...]

  6. mom’s weakness made me strong | - March 7, 2013

    [...] Women’s Day. To see more posts about Patron Saints and Spiritual Midwives, or to participate, click here. This post is about my mom who has been, and continues to be, a huge influence on my faith [...]

  7. Michelle DeRusha | Courage and Grace: Elizabeth DeRusha - March 8, 2013

    [...] Sarah Bessey is collecting stories of Patron Saints and Spiritual Midwives in honor of International Women’s Day this week. Will you join us over there?   [The Blogging Benedict series will return next Friday!] [...]

  8. For International Women’s Day: We Honour Her — SheLoves Magazine - March 8, 2013

    [...] you have even MORE to say about the inspirations in your life? Check out the synchroblog Sarah Bessey is hosting for International Women’s [...]

  9. Celebrating Spiritual Midwives on International Women’s Day | Doorkeeper - March 8, 2013

    [...] celebrate International Women’s Day, debut author and blogger Sarah Bessey is hosting a synchroblog to celebrate Spiritual Midwives and P…, otherwise known as the women who shaped our lives spiritually. Why don’t you write a post [...]

  10. I was her boss, but she was my leader - Everyday Awe - March 8, 2013

    [...] What women have shaped your story? Please join this celebration by writing about them, or even just telling them about their influence. Also, head to Sarah Bessey’s place to read other stories of Spiritual Midwives and Patron Saints. [...]

  11. In Which I Tell You How Much I Love Sarah Bessey - March 8, 2013

    [...] At Sarah’s blog today there are a bunch of other posts on Patron Saints and Spiritual Midwives. You can find them here. [...]

  12. My Litany of Women – An #IWD synchro blog | Where do I begin? - March 8, 2013

    [...] bring me out of my silent places. I’m linking this post with one of these prophetic women, Sarah Bessey – who frequently makes me laugh, cry and inwardly cheer. Sometimes all at [...]

  13. Song of My Mother | neither here nor there - March 8, 2013

    [...] To read about other amazing mentors, check out this link! [...]

  14. on spiritual sisterhood | Shannon Craig - March 8, 2013

    [...] out what those terms mean and read more great posts celebrating women, head over to the link-up on Sarah Bessey’s [...]

  15. In Praise of Small Efforts | Love Is What You Do - March 8, 2013

    [...] a difference in the lives of others. I have been blessed and changed by her small efforts. In Sarah Bessey’s phrase, she’s one of my patron saints, one who lives alongside me and changes me day to day. I want [...]

  16. Patron Saints and Spiritual Midwives - March 8, 2013

    [...] I’m joining in with Sarah Bessey’s synchroblog for International Women’s Day. The topic: our patron saints and spiritual [...]

  17. Friday Favorites | One Little Library - March 8, 2013

    [...] Sarah Bessey is hosting a synchroblog, so write a post about a woman or women in your life whom you admire and link up! [...]

  18. For International Women’s Day 2013 ~ A Special Tribute | StyleSpyGirl's Blog - March 8, 2013

    [...] honor of the International Women’s Day Synchroblog, called together by Sarah Bessey, I’m reposting this tribute to the women in my life who were [...]

  19. The hand that Fills the Crock pot | Accidental Devotional - March 8, 2013

    [...] post is linked with all kinds of posts that celebrate women today! Go see the rest at Sarah Bessey’s place. [...]

  20. my spiritual midwife: kay arthur - Sandra Heska King | Sandra Heska King - March 8, 2013

    [...] with Sarah Bessey [...]

  21. Some Women I’m Honoured & Shaped By | harrietlong - March 8, 2013

    [...] this to the Patron Saints & Spiritual Midwives synchroblog here [...]

  22. 3 Ways to Empower Women on Women's Day - Gabbing with Grace - Gabbing with Grace - March 8, 2013

    [...] Bessey is doing a Patron Saints & Patron Saints & Spiritual Midwives Synchroblog in which they are sharing stories, pictures & thoughts on the day, the women in their life & [...]

  23. » Spiritual Midwives 1000 Strands - March 8, 2013

    [...] searching for people to connect with as I write. One person I have begun reading and enjoying is Sarah Bessey. So today, when she invited people to link up on the topic of spiritual midwives  — women [...]

  24. Women | Bethany Beams - March 8, 2013

    [...] Women’s Day, and one of my friends-I’ve-never-met, Sarah Bessey, is hosting a synchroblog recognizing the Patron Saints and Spiritual Midwives of our lives. She [...]

  25. On International Women’s Day… | crazy little thing called love - March 8, 2013

    [...] For more posts honoring and celebrating the women in our lives check out the rest of the synchroblog here! [...]

  26. In Honor of International Women’s Day | The Human Impulse - March 8, 2013

    [...] Today I find community in an unexpected place.  I find the birth of the real and authentic me in an unexpected place.  It is not in the physical realm because it was not born there.  It was born in the heart of a very brave woman whose own dream was set on fire.  Those flames have since ignited several burning embers amid a community of diverse women.  Women who, perhaps, once thought themselves irrelevant, voiceless, ashamed, shy, or fearful, and I was one of them – but not anymore.  Though I’ve been writing for a while, this is the year I’ve really been breaking out of the shell thanks to other blogger, women of faith, and my first synchroblog participation as inspired by Sarah Bessey. [...]

  27. My Favorite Feminist | communicating.across.boundaries - March 9, 2013

    [...] published this post last year, but in honor of Sarah Bessey’s Synchroblog on Patron Saints & Spiritual Midwives I want to repost My Favorite Feminist who is also my [...]

  28. My grandmother has the softest skin | Leah Colbeck - March 9, 2013

    [...] up with Sarah Bessey for a Syncroblog on Spiritual Midwives and Patron Saints (and I’m humbly adding my own title of Spiritual Matriarchs) for International Women’s [...]

  29. Those Who Have Inspired Me | Leelee Writes - March 9, 2013

    [...] Bessey is hosting the Patron Saints and Spiritual Midwives Syncroblog to celebrate “the spiritual achievements of women, past, present, and future who have [...]

Leave a Reply