Here are the latest stories of women who led the church that have been posted on the site.
To see more stories, you can use the drop-down menu under ‘stories’ to select a set of stories by date, or by location, or by role.
We first hear of Katherine Chidley in Shrewsbury, Shropshire in 1616; she is the wife of Daniel Chidley and gave birth to their first son that year. She was already then involved in an illegal underground congregation (at the time only Church of England congregations were legal). She was brought to court at least twice in the 1620s, once for non-attendance at the parish church, and once for refusing to attend a service of ‘purification’ after childbirth. By 1630, she and Daniel had fled to London, where it was easier to become lost...read more
Catherine Benincasa was born to a noble family in the Italian town of Siena in 1347; she died just 33 years later in Rome; despite her youth, it is arguable that she was the most influential person in Italy – perhaps in Western Europe – in the years before her death. She gave advice to two popes and expected it to be followed; she instructed warring states to make peace; she preached and counselled many; her followers included Raimondo del Vigne, who became General of the Dominican order, and Stefano di Corrado Maconi, who was...read more
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, she converted to Luther’s gospel and left the convent. She married an ex-priest, Simon Robert, and they worked with the reformer William Farel; Simon died leaving her with five children...read more
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, which she interpreted to her sisters as follows: ‘Burning with the fire of the Holy Spirit, Samthann will make this place shimmer by virtue of her merits and in the splendour of...read more
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 1827, and soon began to be involved in the leadership of a weekly prayer and Bible study group, devoted the pursuing Christian perfection. (Following its founder, John Wesley, the Methodist...read more
Mary Dyer was a fearless Quaker preacher in colonial New England, eventually martyred for her faith.read more
Catherine Booth, the co-founder of the Salvation Army, was a powerful preacher, an effective evangelist, and a successful social reformer.read more
We don't know a lot about Junia. We do know that she was an early follower of Jesus, a church leader in Biblical times, and that Paul thought very highly of her.read more