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And now we tell their stories…

A photograph of a beautiful banner honoring hidden New Testament women.  The hand-painted banner was created by Maggie Albo and friends from Spokane, Washington, and features illustrations of biblical women.
This beautiful banner honoring hidden New Testament women was created by Maggie Albo and friends from Spokane, Washington.

<span“You have opened my eyes,” said a participant at FutureChurch’s “Celebrating the Hidden Women of the Lectionary” prayer service at the Call To Action conference, November 2-3 in Milwaukee. This woman was referring to the knowledge shared that many of the heroic and faithful women of the Bible have had their stories omitted from the Lectionary readings heard at Mass.  If not overlooked entirely, many appear only infrequently at weekday liturgies every other year.

FutureChurch staff member Emily Holtel-Hoag and Women in Church Leadership committee member Barbara Litrell co-presided at the service.  The prayer was originally planned by Maggie Albo, another member of the women’s advisory committee, and distributed to Mary of Magdala celebrators this past summer.

Barbara offered a reflection during the service, noting that these Biblical women were victims of the “OOPS! factor.”  Some of their stories have been OMITTED, such as the Hebrew midwives Shiprah and Puah. Some became OPTIONAL, such as the prophet Anna who, with Simeon, recognized the infant Jesus as the Savior. Yet others were PURGED, such as Miriam’s song of praise after the Israelites crossed the sea, whereas the negative story of Miriam’s punishment with leprosy is included in the cycle of readings.

Photograph of FutureChurch special projects’ coordinator Emily Holtel Hoag co-presiding at CTA prayer service honoring the hidden women of the lectionary.
FutureChurch special projects’ coordinator Emily Holtel Hoag co-presides at CTA prayer service honoring the hidden women of the lectionary.

Some perpetuate STEREOTYPES, such as the Proverbs 31 reading that omits the passage praising a woman’s initiative, business acumen, dignity and wisdom but includes verses about being her husband’s “unfailing prize.”

We are grateful to Call To Action for the opportunity to offer this prayer service.  And we are grateful to those who eyes are now opened and will now tell the stories of these inspiring women of the Bible, rightfully restoring them as role models for all of us.

To download a copy of Sr. Ruth Fox’s article on Women in the Bible and Lectionary and a free prayer service, visit FutureChurch's Women and the Word site. You can also contact the FutureChurch offices.

 

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Fall 2007

 

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