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Celebrating the Gift of Women in the Bible

Women’s History Month, celebrated in March, is a commemoration of the achievements and contributions that women have made throughout history in their respective countries, societies, and cultures.

The celebration serves as an important reminder of the courage of women who have gone before and paved the way for generations to come. It is a time where society can reflect on the often-overlooked contributions of women to history.

Our nation’s survey might include milestones from the lives of women such as Abigail Adams, Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth and Rosa Parks.

Celebrate Women of the Bible

It is also a time when we can expand our celebration of women and intentionally turn to the rich variety of women in the Bible who have had a role in the story of God’s redeeming and liberating work.

We will find women whose names we have come to know and also those who remain unnamed. All these women are essential carriers of the story of our salvation.

Our own Saint Mother Theodore Guerin reminds us “Yes, God truly makes use of the least likely instruments to procure (God’s) glory.”

Who will we Encounter?

And this clarion call is emphasized in Robin Gallaher Branch’s Book, Heralds of the Good News: “Overwhelmingly, when a woman (or girl) appears in the biblical text, this rarity heralds an upcoming event as important,” and she adds that the narrator is “raising a red flag that announces the significance of this part of the story.”

In reading Scripture, what heralds might we encounter? To name just a few: The matriarchs of the People of Israel (Sarah, Rebekah, Leah and Rachel), prophets (such as Miriam) and those whose songs praise God for gifts received (Deborah, Hannah and Mary, the mother of Jesus).

Other starting points might include books that identify many of our elder sisters in faith: Woman in Sacred History, a Series of Sketches Drawn from Scriptural, Historical and Legendary Sources (Harriet Beecher Stowe); Women of Bible Lands, A Pilgrimage to Compassion and Wisdom (Martha Ann Kirk); and, Women in Scripture, A Dictionary of Named and Unnamed Women (Carol Meyers, et al.).

A poetic format is offered by Lou Ella Hickman in her book of poetry entitled, she: robed and wordless. In the Introduction, Tom Lombardo, Poetry Series Editor, describes the book as “(giving) the ordinary, often unseen women the chance to speak through the poet’s imagination and they reveal extraordinary women.”

Honoring Biblical Women’s History

Perhaps this month we might honor Biblical Women’s History through a focused rereading of Sacred Scripture, with an eye to the role of the women who are mentioned.

Our opening prayer might come from Psalm 8: 5: “What is woman, that You rejoice in her?” (Nan Merrill’s translation) and Proverbs 31:25a “She is clothed with strength and dignity.” And we might continue by contemplating this prayer entitled The Rich Variety of Women in the Bible offered by the United Church of Canada:

“Let us lift up in prayer the rich variety of women in the Bible, the diversity of female characters, the strength and power of their stories; and give thanks for: Eve’s curiosity, Miriam’s dancing, Ruth’s loyalty, Esther’s courage, Mary’s vision, Lydia’s hospitality. May their example free women to be who they are, and all that they are called to be.”

Lift Up in Prayer

Let us lift up in prayer the unnamed women in the Bible, identified only by an action or a relationship, not granted the dignity of their own status, and give thanks for: The women on the Ark, Lot’s wife, the Levite’s concubine, Jairus’ daughter, the woman who anointed the feet of Jesus, the women and children not counted among the five thousand.

May their memory be kept alive and may all women treated as invisible and dispensable be awarded their rights of acknowledgement and personhood.

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Linda McMahon

Linda McMahon

Originally from Philadelphia, Linda had a 25-year career as a navy nurse. She then served as a parish adult faith formation coordinator, an on-call hospital chaplain and a hospice bereavement specialist. A Providence Associate since 2007, Linda lives in San Clemente, California with her husband, Randy, and their 2 cats.

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  1. Avatar Denise on March 10, 2024 at 6:45 am

    Linda, thank you. I so appreciate the reading resources you provided.

  2. Avatar Deb Griffey on March 10, 2024 at 7:49 am

    Absolutely, Linda! It can be too easy to forget the women who have shone in some manner. I also have ordered a couple of the books you resourced. Thank you so much!

  3. Avatar Marilyn Neuman on March 10, 2024 at 9:54 am

    Linda, another great article! I so appreciate your research! thanks again.

  4. Avatar Linda Doyle on March 11, 2024 at 9:42 pm

    “Let us give thanks for unknown blessings” by Carol Browning : Linda you are a blessing ! I got a lot of reading to do ! Peace and joy to you .

  5. Avatar Susan Paweski, SP on March 15, 2024 at 6:19 pm

    Linda, yes! Yes! Yes! We need to sing the praises of women. Too many unsung mothers, sisters, aunties and friends. Thank you!

  6. Avatar Rita Edwards on March 28, 2024 at 6:00 pm

    Thank you, Linda. This resonated with me. I have been participating in an in-depth study of 19 women of the Bible called BRAVE and BELOVED by Meredith Storrs. Easter joy to you!!

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