Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Jochebed, Miriam, Rahab, Deborah, Ruth, Hannah, Bathesheba, Jehosheba, Hulda, Esther, Mary, Elizabeth, Anna, Mary of Magdala, Mary of Bethany, Priscilla, Lydia, Phoebe. These are the names of just a few powerful women the Jewish and Christian tradition highlights as powerful leading women in our sacred book—the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.
Thecla, Perpetua, Felicitas, Amma Syncletica of Alexandria, Marcella, Macrina the Younger, Proba, Paula, Melania the Elder, Eudocia, Egeria. These are just some of the (mostly unknown) women who sparked significant movements or modeled great faith within the first 500 years of the Christian faith.
My faith is built on the shoulders of women from Asia and Africa, the motherlands of my faith. I am a welcomed guest to their faith and have been claimed as their adopted son. They have become my spiritual mothers.
I think of them often, despite being raised in a Christian tradition that made women out to be nothing more than the supporting cast in a story starring men.
The story of my faith, past and present, tells a different story. I am grateful.
Image: A woman is depicted at prayer in an ancient Christian mosaic seen in the Vatican’s Pio Cristiano Museum. (Wikimedia Commons/Miguel Hermoso Cuesta)