Alabaster Jar

Stories of female leaders from church history

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Marie Dentière: Reformer

Posted by in Reformation, Rest of Europe, Stories |

In 2002 Marie Dentière’s name was carved into stone adjacent to the famous Wall of the Reformers in Geneva, the first – and so far only – woman to be commemorated in that place. She had in her youth been an Augustinian nun, rising rapidly to be prioress of the Covent at the Abbey of Saint-Nicolas-des-Près; almost as rapidly, however,...

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St Samthann: background

Posted by in Background |

We have a life of St Samthann, which survives in three Latin manuscripts, the one in the Bodleian in Oxford being the most reliable. Dorothy Africa prepared an English translation, which is published in T. Head (ed.) Medieval Hagiography: An Anthology (Routledge, 2001). She is recorded in the Martyrology of Oengus, and in the Martyrology of Donegal, both...

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St Samthann of Clonbroney

Posted by in Medieval women, Rest of Europe, Stories, UK |

Samthann was the adopted daughter of an Irish king, Cridan. Like so many of the female Irish saints was delivered from an arranged marriage by a miracle, and then devoted herself to serving God as a nun. She became abbess of the monastery at Clonbroney after its founder, St Fuinech, had a dream of a fiery form resembling Samthann consuming the monastery,...

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Phoebe Palmer: Methodist theologian and evangelist

Posted by in Evangelicals, Evangelists, Nineteenth century, Stories, United States |

Phoebe Palmer transformed the spiritual life of many churches in America and the United Kingdom in her day, and by her preaching led thousands of people to faith in Jesus. She grew up as Phoebe Worrall in New York City, in the early years of the nineteenth century, and was active in the American Methodist Episcopal Church. She married Walter C. Palmer in...

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Mary Dyer: Background

Posted by in Background |

Mary Dyer’s story was originally told in Edward Burrough’s Declaration of the Sad and Great Martyrdom… (1661), which told the story of the Quaker martyrs of New England. (Burrough himself died in prison in London for his faith in 1662). The text of Burrough’s Declaration is available online here. She has a recent biography: Ruth...

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