enlightened understanding and the highest places in government, is inalienable, and these rights are ably vindicated by the noblest of both sexes. This is woman's hour, with all its sweet amenities and its moral and religious reforms." (Mary Baker Eddy from No and Yes, p. 45)
This quote helped me set the stage for celebrating Women's National History Month last month. I participated in a deeply moving gathering of people who shared stories from women from history who changed their lives. This plan was hatched years ago, with my mother, a friend and one of the Sisters from Marywood Spirituality Center up north here and the Sisters from the Spirituality Center graciously agreed to host it.
When the evening event started, there were six of us. We sat around a table and each shared a story from the lives of Rosa Parks, Sister Thea Bowen, Dorothy Day, Tahiri, Mary Baker Eddy and Saint Catherine of Siena and how they inspired us.
What underlying theme tied the whole evening together? Each of the women mentioned expressed uncommon moral courage in breaking new ground for civil rights, human rights, education for women, healing and shelter. But the strength of the vision of each woman gave them an authority that no established system of their time would give them. And it was that authority that then shaped their culture, their nation, their churches and the world.
Where does that authority come from? You've all heard "one with God is a majority." To get this, you really need to understand what we are talking about when we say God: the Almighty, the Infinite, the Creator of the universe. Simply put, God is big. Authority and dominion of God is supreme. So it follows that the more God-based the reform, the more authority it has, and the more its piercing vision plows through resistance and elevates humanity. "There is divine authority for believing in the superiority of spiritual power over material resistance, " writes Mary Baker Eddy. And each woman who felt her calling received that divine authority.
Each woman and the one man at the gathering gave their accounts showing a deep respect for those who stood, many times alone in their calling, to bring healing and comfort to mankind. More profound still, was the uplifting affirmation that each of the historical women's lives showed us: that good is not helpless, that Truth is triumphant and that we can all be a vehicle for progress.