"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mothers of the Church

We live in a time of unprecedented interest in, and publications about, those early Christians whom we call the Fathers of the Church. But given the concerns of our age, the question is raised: were there any mothers, and if so, what do we know about them? A few books over the years have attempted to look at early Christian women, including Laura Swan's The Forgotten Desert Mothers: Sayings, Lives, and Stories of Early Christian Women; John Chryssavgis's In the Heart of the Desert: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers; and Eva Topping's Holy Mothers of Orthodoxy : Women and the ChurchNow this year we have two new books treating these overlooked women: 

Mike Aquilina and Christopher Bailey, Mothers of the Church: The Witness of Early Christian Women (Our Sunday Visitor Press, 2012), 160pp.

About this book the publisher tells us:
Meet the heroines of Christianity's formative years! Mike Aquilina and Christopher Bailey, in a follow-up to the best-selling The Fathers of the Church, have penned an inspiring companion volume on the Mothers of the Church that, like no other book, explores their impact on history and the Faith. Mothers of the Church: The Witness of Early Christian Women will reinforce Catholics understanding of the part played by women in the early Church. Drawing upon a wide spectrum of sources, it illustrates the many kinds of women that left their mark on sacred history by responding to God s call. Whether they were martyrs, abbesses, mothers, desert solitaries, or managers of large family businesses, these women s stories will encourage you and deepen your faith. Each chapter features a concise biography that is supplemented by quotes from the Fathers writings concerning the woman in question, poetry concerning her, and other ancient testimonials. The authors authoritative yet accessible writing style deftly explores the important impact of early Christian women. The Mothers of the Church include: Holy Women of the New Testament --St. Blandina --St. Perpetua and St. Felicity --St. Helena --St. Thecla --St. Agnes of Rome --St. Macrina --Proba the Widow --St. Marcella --St. Paula --St. Eustochium --St. Monica --Egeria the Tourist
The second book, to be released next month, is Christine Valters Paintner, Desert Fathers and Mothers: Early Christian Wisdom Sayings, Annotated and Explained (Skylight, August 2012), 179pp.

About this book the publisher explains:
Wisdom from the very beginnings ofChristian monasticism can become a companion on your own spiritual journey. The desert fathers and mothers were ordinary Christians living in solitude in the deserts of Egypt, Palestine and Syria who chose to renounce the world in order to deliberately and individually follow God s call. They embraced lives of celibacy, labor, fasting, prayer, and poverty, believing that denouncing material goods and practicing stoic self-discipline would lead to unity with the Divine. Their spiritual practice formed the basis of Western monasticism and greatly influenced both Western and Eastern Christianity. Their writings, first recorded in the fourth century, consist of spiritual advice, parables and anecdotes emphasizing the primacy of love and the purity of heart as essential to spiritual life and authentic communion with God. Focusing on key themes of charity, fortitude, lust, patience, prayer, self-control and visions, the Sayings influenced the rule of St. Benedict and have inspired centuries of opera, poetry and art.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Anonymous comments are never approved. Use your real name and say something intelligent.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...