Learning From Religious Women in History

Learning from Religious Women in History

Learning from Religious Women in History*A version of this post originally appeared in the women’s newsletter for my church.

March is Women’s History Month, which admittedly might sound a bit boring to those of us who aren’t history buffs. But the truth is that there is so much we can learn from the lives of religious women who came before us.

Here are three of my favorite spiritual women from the history books. I hope their faith and actions inspire all of us throughout this month and beyond!

Sojourner Truth (1797 – 1883)

Sojourner Truth is remembered as an African-American slave who escaped to freedom and spent the rest of her life working to abolish slavery and gain rights for women. But she was also a preacher whose religious beliefs underscored everything she did.

When friends questioned her dedication to such difficult and dangerous work, she famously responded, “The Spirit calls me, and I must go.”

Be inspired

For Christians, Jesus calls us all to stand up for the oppressed—to speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves—just like Sojourner Truth did. Who is Jesus calling you to stand up for right now? Tweet this!

Fanny Crosby (1820 – 1915)

A lifelong Methodist, Fanny Crosby became blind shortly after birth. But she did not allow her lack of sight to stop her from fulfilling God’s vision for her life.

Instead, she channeled her creativity into her music, becoming one of the most prolific hymn-writers in all of history. She’s credited with writing over 8,000 hymns, including such classics as “Blessed Assurance” and “To God Be the Glory.”

Be inspired

Nobody is perfect; we all have failings, shortcomings, or challenges that we must face. But those challenges need not keep us from doing great work during our time here on earth. Indeed, those challenges can spur us to be even more loving to those around us.

Mother Teresa (1910 – 1997)

Mother Teresa once said, “By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus.”

While she is well known for dedicating her life to helping the poor—which led to her receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979—few know that her personal journals reveal periods of doubt in her faith.

But any doubt she experienced was overshadowed by her dedication to follow her God each and every day of her life.

Be inspired

There may be times when you question your faith; you wonder if your God really hears your prayers and loves you as a child.

While those moments can be discouraging, don’t let them stop you from continuing to follow your heart. Put your trust in your God, and your faith will be renewed, just like Mother Teresa’s was. Tweet this!

Which woman—from history or current day—inspires you?

18 responses to “Learning From Religious Women in History”

  1. The first name that came up for me was Mary Shelley. Maybe it’s because my hub and I were discussing her at length yesterday or not.

    Let’s face it, she was brilliant and held her own with some of the best ever.

    Plus she listened to her dreams, which is where she came up with the idea for Frankenstein.

    • Mary Shelley was definitely an amazing woman. She certainly did hold her own during a time when that was especially difficult to do.

  2. Loved this post! I have always been so inspired by Mother Theresa. She was so humble and yet touched so many lives because of the work God did through her. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I found Gladys Aylward a very inspiring woman. Her life encourages me because she didn’t have a lot of financial means but she didn’t let that keep her from achieving her goals to serve the Lord in China. A friend of mine who grew up in China as the son of medical missionaries had her as his babysitter. She didn’t consider herself to be special, just a servant of the Lord she loved with all her heart.

  4. My daughter just wrote a paper on Malala Yousafzai – although she is only 16, I think she is an inspiring young woman. To have such bravery, poise, and determination at such a young age – just amazing.

  5. Have you read Half the Sky? The book and subsequent documentary introduces us to Edna Adan, a woman who built a functioning hospital in a third world country servicing women in poverty. I’m talking women who would likely die in child birth or who suffered from genital mutilation. Women like that who work tirelessly to improve the lives of others inspire and humble me immensely.

    • I’m familiar with the book but haven’t read it – I try to keep up with Nicholas Kristof’s work. I’m right there with you in that I am constantly humbled by women who have dedicated their entire lives to helping others and working to solve our world’s most pressing problems.

  6. Oh Blessed Assurance and To God be the Glory are two of my favorite! This was a really cool look at women that I did not know much about! Fantastic post!

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