Teaching for Wisdom


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John Churchman: We are among the first people to not broadly inherit…..

Seeking Spiritual Growth…
We are among the first people
in human history
who do not broadly inherit
religious identity as a given.

The very fluidity of this,
the possibility of choices that arise,
the ability to craft and discern
one’s own spiritual bearings,
is not leading to a decline in spiritual life,
but to its revival.

The growing universe
of the non-religious
is one of the most spiritually vibrant
and provocative aspects of modern life.

It is not a time
when spiritual life is absent,
resisting religious excesses
and shallows.
Times are wild
with spiritual passion and delving
and theological curiosity
with expressions in unexpected places
in unexpected ways.

Many people continuing to go to church
do not even know their own tradition,
keeping on with simple inertia.

They have lost touch with
the Desert Fathers and Mothers,
the visionaries like Benedict, Francis, or Ignatius,
whose spirituality emerged
at a distance from a Church
that had grown imperial,
and inwardly cold,
out of touch
with its own spiritual core.

At the same time,
people outside these religious spaces
seem intensely interested in spiritual questions
trying to think and work and live through them.

More and more people
are unwilling to commit themselves
to the dying religious institutions
yet are actively pursuing
Spiritual Growth
in life’s everyday experiences.

There is love;
there is hope.

Love, John

The Importance of bringing back HUGS


It is wondrous what a hug can do.

A hug can cheer you when you are blue.

A hug can say, “I love you” or

Gee, I hate to see you go.

A hug is , “Welcome back again”

A hug can soothe a small child’s pain

and bring a rainbow after the rain.

THE HUG. There is no doubt about it,

We scarcely could survive without it.

A hug delights and warms and charms,

It must be one of the reasons God gave us arms.

Hugs are great for fathers and mothers,

Sweet for sisters, swell for brothers.  And…

Chances are some favorite aunts love them more than potted plants!

Kittens crave them, Puppies love them.

Heads of State are not above them.

A hug can break the language barrier,

And make the dullest of days see, Merrier.

No need to fret about the store of ’em,

The more you give, the more there are of ’em.

So stretch those arms without delay

And give someone a hug today.

(Author unknown)




The Value of Unstructured Play





There has been plenty of hand-wringing in recent years about the “overscheduled child.” With after-school hours increasingly dominated by piano lessons, soccer practice, and countless other planned activities, many of us have a nagging sense that kids are missing out on something important if they have no time for unstructured play.

New research from Germany suggests these fears are justified. It finds people who recall having plenty of free time during childhood enjoy high levels of social success as adults.

A team of three psychologists from the University of Hildesheim, led byWerner Greve, conducted a survey of 134 people. Participants were presented with a list of seven statements and reported the degree to which they conformed with their own childhood experiences (that is, ages three to 10).


The statements included, “Looking back, I tried many things and experimented a lot by myself”; “From time to time, I set out on my own or with friends to discover the neighborhood”; and “My parents always were in fear that something could happen to me, so they did not let me do many things by myself.”

They also expressed their level of agreement or disagreement with 10 statements designed to measure “social success.” These included “Friends come to me for advice”; “My work is appreciated by others”; and “If something goes wrong, I have friends by my side that support me.”

Additional tests measured their ability to be flexible in light of life’s setbacks, and their overall level of self-esteem.

The researchers found a significant positive correlation between ample time for free play during childhood and adult social success. Free time as kids was also linked with high self-esteem and the flexibility to adjust one’s goals.

While “it goes without saying that child play is not the sole, nor perhaps even the most important predictor of social success … the correlation we found in this study was surprisingly high,” the researchers write in the online journal Evolutionary Psychology.

Free play, they argue, allows children to develop the flexibility needed to adapt to changing circumstances and environments—an ability that comes in very handy when life becomes unpredictable as an adult.

So parents may want to make sure their kids have the time and freedom to play and explore at their own pace. Tutoring and mentoring can be terrific, but as this research reminds us, there are many types of learning experiences—and some of the least formal can pay off later in life.


Reflection: Obama’s First Hundred Days began with this Prayer

A Prayer for the Nation and Our Next President, Barack Obama 

By The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire

Opening Inaugural Event     Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC   

January 18, 2009

O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will…

Bless us with tears – for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women from many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.

Bless us with anger – at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Bless us with discomfort – at the easy, simplistic “answers” we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth, about ourselves and the world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

Bless us with patience – and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be “fixed” anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.

Bless us with humility – open to understanding that our own needs must always be balanced with those of the world.

Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance – replacing it with a genuine respect and  warm embrace of our differences, and an understanding that in our diversity, we are stronger.

Bless us with compassion and generosity – remembering that every religion’s God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable in the human community, whether across town or across the world.

And God, we give you thanks for your child Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States.

Give him wisdom beyond his years, and inspire him with Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King’s dream of a nation for ALL the people.

Give him a quiet heart, for our Ship of State needs a steady, calm captain in these times.

Give him stirring words, for we will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.

Make him color-blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.

Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.

Give him the strength to find family time and privacy, and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods.

And please, God, keep him safe.  We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we’re asking FAR too much of this one.  We know the risk he and his wife are taking for all of us, and we implore you, O good and great God, to keep him safe.  Hold him in the palm of your hand – that he might do the work we have called him to do, that he might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity and peace.      AMEN

Wisdom from the Mary Poppins Movie

“Wanted a nanny for two adorable children

If you want this choice position
Have a cheery disposition
Rosy cheeks, no warts
Play games, all sorts

You must be kind, you must be witty
Very sweet and fairly pretty
Take us on outings, give us treats
Sing songs, bring sweets

Never be cross or cruel
Never give us Castor oil or gruel
Love us as a son and daughter
And never smell of barley water

If you won’t scold and dominate us
We will never give you cause to hate us
We won’t hide your spectacles, so you can’t see
Put toads in your bed or pepper in your tea

Hurry nanny, many thanks
Sincerely, Jane and Michael Banks”

Prayer for Pardon



  Prayer For One About To Approach Another For Pardon

By Edward Hays:  (This prayer has been adapted. The use of the singular was changed to the plural, and the masculine words for God were also changed, the word sinned was changed to made mistakes.)

Come, God of Healing and Unity,

we are in need of Your divine assistance.

We need to approach another

and to find a way to peace and understanding.

We are now separated,

and the canyon between us is painful and empty of You.

Help us to be honest as we seek reunion.

Open to our vision to the ways by which we have failed

and have been lacking in consideration.

Let our hearts be ready to see how we have made mistakes.

We will need Your help

so that we may move beyond our own feelings

to an awareness of the other who is also suffering.

You, Searcher of Hearts,

know how both of us in our own ways

are at fault.

Teach us to be humble

as we seek reunion.

Come and stand between us

so that all we say and do

will be filled with the sacred medicine of heaven.

Remind us how short our lives are

so that we will not delay this reunion of hearts.

Inspire us to see how this separation

can serve to bring us even closer together,

closer than we were before it happened.

Most of all, God of Compassion,

let us be servants of pardon,

ministers of reconciliation,

as we now pray for Your holy guidance.

(Pause for silent prayer)

God, Divine Parent,

make us as humble and healing as our mother the earth.

Make us as honest and defenseless as a child.

Make us as compassionate and loving as Your Son, Jesus.

And, God who is the Giver of True Strength,

 make us as forgiving as are You, Yourself.


To All People Who have Hope for the World. Don’t Give Up! Our Children are Watching and Learning from us!

'Rise up, lightworkers, healers, mothers, fathers. Our time is now! 💖🌟💖 #sharelove #sharehope #stayheartcentered #operatefromjoy'





Mr. Lightbulb: A Reflection on Humility in an Un-Humble World.

People worth remembering are usually humble. They understand and accept that they draw from another Source: They are satisfied to be an instrument. Their genius is not of their own making but a gift. They do great things precisely because they do not take first or final responsibility for their gift, and they don’t worry about their failures. They understand that their life is not their own but has been entrusted to them. Someone Else has taken them seriously, and they feel profoundly respected, which is what human beings ultimately want and need.

When Father Richard Rohr was invited to meet with Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Capetown, South Africa, the Archbishop told him that both of them were like light-bulbs.  He stated,”We get all the credit and seem to be shining brightly for all to see, but we both know that if this light bulb was unscrewed from its source for even a moment, the brightness would immediately stop.  They laughed hilariously afterwards and gave me a wink of understanding.

(Re-told by Dr. Cynthia Yoshitomi from a story by Father Richard Rohr:  Center for Action and Contemplation-New Mexico

A Reflection on Unity from the Rig Veda

Let us be united,

Let us speak in harmony,

Let our minds apprehend alike.

Common be our prayer,

Common be the end of our assembly,

Common be our resolution,

Common be our deliberations.

Alike be our feelings,

Unified be our hearts,

Common be our intentions,

Perfect be our unity.

                                              From the Rig Veda.

Earth Prayers from Around the World”- Edited by Elizabeth Robertsand Elias Amidon.  (HarperSanFrancisco, 1991)

A Litany of Persisting Women for Women’s International Day; (revised)


An Incomplete American Litany of Persisting International Women* (revised:  March 21,2017)

Leader I:  Many remarkable achievements are absent from history because they were done by women.  A conclusion is sometimes drawn that nothing was done by women because nothing is recorded there!  We are here today to keep Women’s memory alive, recall and recover her experiences, because all women are less visible, their collective worth less valuable, when one woman’s world disappears.

Leader II: 

A reading from the Book of Proverbs* (based on Proverbs 31: 10-31)                

*(From: Woman Prayer, WomanSong:  Page 118.  Miriam Therese Winter) 

All:  We praise all Valiant Women living and deceased.

Leader I:

Let us now praise the valiant women in our history, recalling to life representatives of all those unsung heroines whose lives are living testimony that ALL Women are Strong, Smart and Bold and Persisting.

ALL:  We praise all women in history and today whose lives give Hope to us.

Leader I:

Eve the first woman, mother of all the living souls of the human race.                  All:  You are a Valiant Woman

 Leader II:  Noah’s wife, on an ark forty days with all those animals believing in the promise of rainbows. All:  You are a Valiant Woman

Leader I:   Sarah, heart of the covenant, mother of nations, who conceived laughter in her old age.  All:  You are a Valiant Woman

Leader II:  Hagar, Mother of Ismael who survived as an outcast in the desert and the social prejudice of her slave master, Sarah.       All:  You are a Valiant Woman

 Leader I:  Rebecca, Woman of ingenuity, achieving her own purposes in a patriarchal world.  All:  You are a Valiant Woman


Leader II:  Rachel, who waited seven years, and seven days waited for love, and waited for life.  All:  You are a Valiant Woman

Leader I:  Asenath, Joseph’s Egyptian wife, who merged her foreign ancestry with the bloodline of the covenant. All:  You are a Valiant Woman

 Leader II:  Hatshepsut, Queen of Egypt during the prosperous Eighteenth Dynasty, who constructed the great temple in West Thebes, whose reign was a reign of peace.  All:  You are a Valiant Woman

Leader I:  Nefertiti, Queen, co-ruler of Egypt, who with her husband introduced into Egypt the revolutionary notion of only one God.                                               All:  You are a Valiant Woman

Leader II:  Mother and Sister of Moses; and Pharaoh’s daughter.  Whose courage enabled Moses to live to accomplish the Exodus to Freedom.                               All:  You are a Valiant Woman

Leader I:  Mahiah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah, daughters of Zelophehad, descendants of Asenath and Joseph; who convinced Moses to allow women to receive inheritances.  All:  You are all Valiant Women.

Leader II:  Hannah, witness to the power of prayer and the consequences of faith. All:  You are a Valiant Woman

 Leader I:  Wise woman of Tekoa.   Whom men in authority consulted for the wisdom of her word.  All:  You are all Valiant Women.

Leader II:  Woman of womanly wisdom who was wiser than the Wisdom of Solomon. Whose mother-love saved her child from the stinging slice of the sword.  All:  You are a Valiant Woman

Leader I:  Theoclea, disciple of Pythgoras, in Sixth Century Greece, who was chief priestess of Delphi. All:  You are a Valiant Woman

Leader II:  Phaenarette, mother of Socrates, a genius in herbal medicine, a respected midwife and mathematician.  All:  You are a Valiant Woman

Leader I:  Sappho, writer in ancient Greece, who is said to be one of the greatest poets who ever lived.  All:  You are a Valiant Woman

Leader II:  Huldah, prophet in Israel, whose judgment shaped the canon that contains God’s holy word.  All:  You are a Valiant Woman

Leader I:  All those women of Israel and the ancient Near East, who were faithful to their calling, whose deeds no one remembers, who names are unrecorded, whose lives remain unknown:

*All:  We Remember your profound Ministries of Hope and Courage.


(Christian Scriptures)

Leader II:  Mary, the mother of Jesus the Christ, a woman who is one of us.                  All:  You are a Valiant Woman.

Leader I:  Elizabeth, who proved one is never too old to have her dream come true.  All:  You are a Valiant Woman

Leader II:  Anna, Prophet at prayer in the Temple when Jesus was offered to God: who from that moment, preached Jesus as proclaiming salvation to all.        All:  You are a Valiant Woman

 Leader I:  Mary, mother of Joseph and James, who joined Jesus in ministry.       All:  You are a Valiant Woman.

Leader II:  Salome, who followed Jesus and shared in his ministry.                       All:  You are a Valiant Woman

Leader I:  Peter’s mother-in-law, who was cured of a high fever by Jesus and immediately saw to the needs of her guests.  All:  You are a Valiant Woman

Leader II:  Mother of the sons of Zebedee, who was unafraid to speak her mind, who atoned for her push for power and prestige by standing at the cross.         All:  You are a Valiant Woman

 Leader I:  Mary and Martha of Bethany, soul-friends of Jesus with whom he felt at home and shared his ministry.  All:  You are a Valiant Woman

Leader I (again):  Mary Magdalen, Friend of Jesus, and first witness to the Resurrection.  Known as the Apostle to the Apostles.  She was maligned as a  prostitute during the French Revolution.  All:  You are a Valiant Woman

 Leader II:  Generous widow, whom Jesus praised because she gave all she had. All:  You are a Valiant Woman

Leader I:  Prophetic woman, who discerned the truth, and proclaimed Jesus Messiah, by anointing his head with oil.  All:  You are a Valiant Woman

Leader II:  Woman rebuked by Jesus, who dared to speak her mind in public at the risk of being put down.  All:  You are a Valiant Woman

Leader I:  Woman servant, who spoke the truth when Peter lied, swearing that he did not know the man.  All:  You are a Valiant Woman

Leader II:  Pilate’s wife, who begged her husband to trust her intuition and not condemn Jesus to death.   All:  You are a Valiant Woman

Leader I:  Mary, mother of John Mark, at whose home in Jerusalem, Christians met to pray.  All:  Praise Valiant Woman


Leader II:  Lydia of Macedonia, a business woman converted by Paul who met with a group for prayer.  All:  God and We Remember your faithful work.

 Leader I:  Phoebe, deacon of the church in Cenchreae; Mary, Junia, Tryphaena and Tryphosa, in ministry in the church in Rome.  *All:  God and We Remember your faithful work.

Leader II:  Persis, Julia, Olympas, Mother of Rufus, Sister of Nereus, Ministers in the Church of Rome.  All:  God and We Remember your faithful work.

Leader I:  Priscilla, known also as Prisca, church leader and teacher, in a team ministry with her husband.  All:  God and We Remember your faithful work.

Leader II:  Tabitha, known also as Dorcas, a disciple and devoted worker at Joppa whom Peter raised from the dead.  All:  God and We Remember your faithful work.

Leader I:  Chloe, prominent woman in the Corinthian church.                                 All:  God and We Remember your faithful work.

Leader II:  Four women “prophet daughters” of Philip, who preached prophetically.  All:  God and We Remember your faithful work.

Leader I:  Women of Corinth, who prayed and prophesied in church, whom Paul enjoined to keep silent. (In a weak moment).                                                             All:  God and We Remember your faithful work.

Leader II:  Rhoda, maid at the house of Mary, Mother of John Mark, who in her joy at seeing Peter, left him standing at the gate.                                                      All:  God and We Remember your faithful work.

Leader I:  Claudia, named as a minister in the early church.                                     All:  God and We Remember your faithful work.

Leader II:  Evodia and Syntyche, who labored side by side with Paul and their fellow workers in bringing the teachings of Jesus to the Greeks.                           All:  God and We Remember your faithful work.

Leader I:  Nympha and Apphia, both of whom risked church in their homes.             All:  God and We Remember your faithful work.

 Leader II:  Thecla, a declared a legend.   Perhaps because her reality as a role model for women was too much of a threat to all.                                                    All:  God and We Remember your faithful work.

Leader I:  All those women of the early Christian church who were truly pioneers, as prophets, preachers, pastoral leaders, following in the footsteps of Jesus.

All:  God and We Remember your faithful and Courageous work.

(End of Christian Scriptures)



Leader II:  Cecilia, who lived in the second or third century.  One of the most venerated martyrs in the early Roman Church, who today is known as the Patron Saint of music.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Lucy, who, according to tradition, witnessed to her Catholic faith by giving generously to the poor during the era of Christian persecutions.  She was denounced by the man to whom she was betrothed, and martyred in the year, 303 AD.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Monica, mother of Augustine, who besieged God for his conversion until her prayer was answered.  She was influential in the life of her son and the Catholic Church because of her piety.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Proba, fourth-century theologian, who’s Interpretations of Tradition was systematically ignored.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Paula, scholarly friend of Jerome, the respected Doctor of the Church. She founded a Circle of learning for women in Rome that remains virtually unknown. All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Himiko, the Queen of Wa.  The first recorded woman ruler of Japan. She waged peace in the fourth century by sending emissaries’ to China and by uniting warring tribes and clans. All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Bridget, patron saint of Ireland, who founded a monastic center of learning for women in the fifth century and was influential in politics and church affairs.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Khadija was Mohammed’s first wife, a successful businesswoman who had a strong influence on the prophet, and who supported and encouraged him during the time of his first revelations.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Fatimah, Mohammed’s daughter, his only surviving child, held in high esteem by Muslims, who was with her father through his years of persecution.                   All:  She Persisted.


Leader I:  Wu Zi-Tien, the only Woman Emperor of China who reigned brilliantly and effectively for forty years late in the seventh century, making Buddhism the state religion and the Tang Dynasty an open-minded interlude for women.                      All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Trotula, lived in eleventh-century.  She is considered the mother of gynecology, whose book on women’s diseases was a valuable reference for centuries after her death.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Heloise, who was banished to a convent by her husband Abelard soon after they were married.  She became an Abbess and founder of a Theological College.  She was one of the great female writers and perhaps the most learned woman in twelfth-century France.   All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Hildegarde of Bingen, twelfth-century Mystic, one of the great minds of medieval Europe.  She was abbess, scientist, scholar, composer, visionary, and poet.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Elizabeth of Hungary was a thirteenth-century princess who married a German prince.  She reigned as Queen of Thuringia; bore four children; was widowed and disowned. She loved the poor and ministered to them; She built a hospital for lepers, and died at age twenty-four.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Clare of Assisi, a visionary who was born of a noble family in thirteenth-century Italy.  She renounced her prosperity and founded the Poor Clares.  She was Francis of Assis’s co-worker and soul-friend.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Julian of Norwich, who lived in fourteenth century England.  She had mystical experiences and revelations about divine Love.  She contributed much to the church’s tradition of mystical theology.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Maria Bartola, who lived in sixteenth century Mexico.  She was Mexico’s first female historian, who recorded her experience of the brutal Spanish conquest of her Aztec civilization. All:  She Persisted.



Leader I:  Katherine Zell, who lived in sixteenth century Germany.  She was a zealous promoter of the Reformation and supporter of equality between women and men.  She published a collection of congregational hymns, who cared for the sick, the imprisoned, and hordes of refuges displaced by warfare.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Elizabeth Hooten was from England and lived in the seventeenth Century.  She was the first Quaker Woman convert and one of the movement’s earliest preachers.  She was a missionary in the West Indies and imprisoned for her faith.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Anne Hutchinson, Massachusetts Bay.  Her Bible Study and group discussions led to charges of heresy and excommunication from her church in 1637.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Mary Fisher, missionary, Quaker.  She dared preach publicly at Cambridge, England in front of the college gate in 1653.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Dewens Morrey was a Quaker from England who in 1657 was whipped in the church until she bled because “a woman must not speak in church”.     All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Okuni, a priestess in Japan in the seventeenth century who developed ceremonial dance forms into Kabuki, a traditional Japanese drams in which women, not men, played both male and female roles.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Barbara Heck, called “The Mother of American Methodism”.  She organized America’s first Methodist Society in 1766.   All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Susanna Wesley, mother of John and eighteen other children, who taught them all in her household school and led prayer in her home.                  All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Abigail Adams, patriot, feminist, revolutionary.  She protested slavery decades before as movement was organized.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Ann Lee, who emigrated to America in 1774.  She founded the Shakers, a utopian religious community of utmost simplicity.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Phillis Wheatley.  She was purchased as a slave at the age of eight.  She became the first Black poet in America.  She died in poverty at the age of thirty-one in 1784.   All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Katherine Ferguson.  A former slave who opened the First Sabbath School in 1793.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Elizabeth Bayley Seton; who in 1909 founded the Sisters of Charity, which was the first American Catholic Women’s Religious Order.  She was the first declared and canonized American Woman saint.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Mary Lyon, who founded Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in 1809, as a model for training women as teachers and missionaries.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Kaahumanu, was the first female ruler and lawmaker of Hawaii.  She abolished restrictive practices and taboos against women early in the nineteenth century and established women’s right to an education and other basis rights.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Lucretia Mott, preacher, reformer, feminist.  She launched the movement of women’s rights at Seneca Falls, New York in 1848.                          All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Elizabeth Cady Stanton, co-organizer at Seneca Falls.  She produced the first “Woman’s Bible”.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Susan B. Anthony led the women’s liberation revolution in the United States and pushed for women’s right to vote.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Harriet Beecher Stowe, nineteenth-century novelist, whose powerful depiction of the plight of slaves captured the American conscience.                     All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Emily Dickinson, American poet who was able to transform personal pain into strong sensitive verse that continues to inspire. 

Leader II:  Antoinette Brown, first American woman ordained to ministry in the Congregational Church in 1853.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman in America to graduate from medical school and become a licensed physician.  She also founded a medical school for women in 1865.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Margaret Newton Van Cott, first woman granted a local preacher’s license in the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1869.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Rosana Chouteau, a North American Native American who was elected chief of the Osage Beaver Band in 1875.  She was the first female chief in that patriarchal tribe.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Catherine Booth, an outstanding preacher, and co-founder of the Salvation Army in 1878.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Anna Howard Shaw, the first woman ordained in the Methodist Protestant church in 1880.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Clara Barton, who served as a nurse in the Civil War and founded the American Red Cross for emergency relief in 1881.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Emma Lazarus, Jewish poet, whose words are inscribed on the Statue of Liberty.  Her poem was chosen from among submissions by Longfellow, Whitman, and Twain.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader II.  Sister Blandina Segale, a pioneer of the American Southwest, who ended the lynch law and tamed Billy the Kid at the end of the Sante Fe Trail.                        All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Pandita Ramabai, a Sanskrit scholar, who challenged interpretations of Hindu law in order to raise the status of women.  She was also a delegate to the Indian National Congress in 1889.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Wilhelmina Elisabeth Drucker of the Netherlands.  She founded the Association of Free Women in 1889 and was consequently labeled “Mad Mina” because of her zeal for women’s rights.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Ellen Gould White, she founded the Seventh-Day Adventists at the close of the nineteenth century, after the Adventist movement died.                  All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Ida B. Wells-Barnett, an ardent advocate for the human rights for Blacks, organized the first Black women Women’s Suffrage group.                       All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Jiu Jin was a revolutionary feminist, poet, teacher who lived in China in the 20th Century.  She was executed in 1908 for refusing to compromise her beliefs. All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Maria Jesus Alvarada Rivera.  She initiated the feminist movement in Peru at the turn of the century.  She was a tireless activist for women’s rights.  She was imprisoned for her beliefs and was eventually exiled.                              All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Raden Ajeng Kartini.  She initiated the feminist movement in Indonesia at the turn of the century.  She was outspoken against social and colonial oppression.  She started a successful school for girls, and died in childbirth at the age of twenty-five.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Marie Curie, she received a Nobel Prize in Physics and in Chemistry.  She was the first woman to receive a full professorship in 1906 in France at the Sorbonne.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Mary Baker Eddy, founder and leader of Christian Science until her death in 1910.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Kathe Kollwitz, graphic artist and sculptor, who lived in twentieth century Berlin.  Her compassion and empathy for the working class permeates her works on poverty, death, hunger and war.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Jovita Idar.  She organized the first Mexican Congress in Texas in 1911.  She was president of the Mexican Feminist League.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Me Katilili, who at age seventy, organized the Giriama tribal movement for independence from British rule in Kenya in 1911.                          All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Phoebe Palmer, major force behind the American Holiness Movement, spiritual mother of Pilgrim Holiness Church and Church of the Nazarene.           All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Aimee Semple McPherson; a twentieth-century preacher famous for her “Foursquare Gospel Church” in Los Angeles, California.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Madame C. J. Walker.  She worked eighteen years as a washerwoman before becoming the first female black American millionaire.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Kasturba, wife of Mahatma Gandhi, from whom he learned the basic concepts of nonviolent resistance.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Helen Keller, born without sight or hearing.  She graduated from Radcliffe with honors; mastered several languages and published a series of books.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Mary McLeod Bethune.  She was a black educator, leader, and reformer.  She founded a college that has influenced many and established the National Council of Negro Women in 1935.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, a prophetic witness in the social gospel and a true friend of the poor.                    All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Noor un Nissa.  A young Muslim woman who was known as the heroic “Madeleine” of the French Resistance during World War II and is the only woman to receive both the George Cross and the Croix de Guerre.                      All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Regina Jonas, the first woman rabbi.  Although never officially ordained; when ordination was denied because of her sex, she was granted a diploma privately.  Not long after, in 1940, she died in a concentration camp.   All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Li Tim Oi, the first woman ordained in the Anglican tradition in Hong Kong 1944.  But her ordination was officially rejected and she subsequently resigned.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Maud Keister Jensen, the first woman to receive full clergy right in the Methodist Church.  All:  She Persisted.

 All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Wilma Rudolph.  She became known as “the world’s fastest woman” after the 1960 Olympics in Rome.  She became the first American woman to win three gold medals.

Leader I:  Valentina Tereshkova of Russia.  She became the first woman cosmonaut in space in 1963.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Shirley Chisholm:  In 1968, she became the first black woman to be elected to the United States House of Representatives. All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Elizabeth Platz.  In 1970 she was the first woman ordained in the Lutheran Church of America. All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Erin Pissey:  A house wife who formed Women’s Aid which was the first shelter for battered women in Great Britain.  All:  She Persisted.

All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Sally Priesand:  She was the first woman rabbi ordained from any any Jewish theological seminary in 1972.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Nancy Wittig, Betty Schiess, Merrill Bittner, Alla Bozarth-Campbell, Jeanette Piccard, Alison Cheek, Marie Moorfield, Katrina Swanson, Carter Heyward, Suzanne Hiatt, and Emily Hewitt:  The first American Women ordained to the Episcopal priesthood in Philadelphia in 1974.  It was the first Episcopal ordination of women to be officially recognized.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Junko Tabei from Japan.  The first woman to scale Mount Everest. 1975.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan.  Both women organized the people’s movement for peace in Northern Ireland in 1976.  Their efforts received the Nobel Peace Prize.  All:  They Persisted.

Leader I:  The Madres and Abuelas. Mothers and Grandmothers of Argentina.  They kept vigil in the Plaza de Mayo in March 1977 in order to protest the torture and disappearance of their children and other loved ones.                       All:  They Persisted.

Leader II:  Helen Joseph:  An anti-apartheid activist and out spoken feminist, arrested for civil disobedience in 1956.  Arrested in 1977 for supporting the work of Winnie Mandela.

Leader I:  Majorie Matthews, the first woman bishop of the United Methodist Church.  The first woman bishop of any major denomination in modern times who served the people of Wisconsin from 1980 and died in 1986.                        All:  She Persisted.

Leader II:  Naheed, a school girl in Afghanistan who led a demonstration against the Soviet invasion of her country in April 1980.  She was on of seventy children massacred.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Leontyne Kelly:  The second woman bishop and the first Black woman bishop in the United Methodist Church in San Francisco in 1984.

Leader II:  Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India, who was elected twice to that position and assassinated while in office.  All:  She Persisted.

Leader I:  Samantha Smith, an American schoolgirl, who at eleven years of age became the Good Will ambassador to Russia.  At the age of thirteen, she died in a plane crash (1985).  All:  She Persisted.

Leader II: All Women in Ministry ordained and un-ordained.  All who were the first to pave the way and all who followed after.  All: Thank you.

Leader I:  All women of accomplishment, who achieved despite the odds in science, the arts, religion, health, education, economics, athletics and the socio-political fields.  All:  We are grateful.

Leader II:  Who shall find a valiant, courageous, smart, bold woman and Persistent Woman?  Look!!!! All:  We are around you:…Let us Pray:  Inspired by this witness of our sisters in faith and courage, let us now go forth encouraged and in hope, to give of our best efforts, knowing that the Grace of God is power unto good. 

                                       (See next page for credits and note for usage)

Dr. Cynthia W. Yoshitomi           TeachingforWisdom.org               323.359.2447


*Inspired by the Book Woman Prayer, WomanSong:  Resources for Ritual. Author:  Miriam Therese Winter:  Meyer Stone Books. C. 1987.  Reading on First page can be found on page 118) Re-invented and Tweaked by Dr. Cynthia W. Yoshitomi. D.M. cell. 3233592447. Blog/Web TeachingforWisdom.org.  ChildWisdom1@gmail.com.  Also inspired by the International Women’s Day 2017 and the Presidential candidacy of Hillary Rodman Clinton).  Please correct and add your own to update.  I would love to hear from you with your updates.  The original update only went so far as 1986.  A lot has happened since 1986.

 I am in the process of attempting to reach Miriam Therese Winter for permission.  She deserves most of the credit for this amazing litany of Women who need to be remembered. 


I highly suggest that you rehearse this litany in order to pronounce the names correctly and get into the rhythm of words that any good Litany possesses.













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