Monday, May 14, 2012

The Mothers of the Church.

Mike Aquilina and Christopher Bailey teamed up to bring us the Mothers of the Church: The Witness of Early Christian Women. You see, their wives--Terri and Teresa--thought of it. As Teresa told Chris, "Everyone knows about the Fathers of the Church, but what about the Mothers?"

She was right--not only that the book needed to be written, but also that I needed to read it. I tend to associate the phrase "Mother of the Church" with attempts to prove that women should be priests because "they used to have deaconesses!" This book, however, never even approaches historical reconstructions.

Instead, the authors present the true feminine genius that was set free by the revelation fo Christ's incarnation. The first chapter, "The Christian Revolution," treats concisely and in a very readable way to radical shift that the ancient world experienced in its view of the female and women. As a result of that shift, many Christian women found themselves able to dedicate their lives to the service of the Church in ways that were specifically feminine. They truly became the "mothers of the Church."

Many of the women profiled here are familiar: Felicity and Perpetua, Helena, Monica, and Macrina. But others are new to me: Blandina, Proba the Poet, and Eustochium, to name a few. The authors offer a biography of each woman (or group of friends) as well as extensive primary texts written by the women themselves or those who knew them.

This book is a treasure and a great addition to any home library or high school curriculum. Sadly, it is unavailable at the Catholic Company right now! But The Fathers of the Church is also a great read.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from TheCatholic, and the reviewer received a free copy of the text in exchange for her opinion. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on The Fathers of the Church. They have some good resources for Lent!


noreen said...

I would be very interested in learning more about the Mothers of Our Church too! I wonder if I can find it at my library??

noreen said...

I checked and it's not at my local library nor in the interlibrary loan system. Will check it out at my local Catholic book and gift store.