An American Litany of International Women*   (A work in progress)

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:  Pg 118  Miriam Therese Winter) 

All:  Who shall find a Valiant Women?

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.

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 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 who brought Hope to the world.

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 Remembers 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.

 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, 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 unordained.  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?  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. 

(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) Tweaked by Dr. Cynthia W. Yoshitomi. D.M.  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.  This is seen as incomplete.  Please give me your suggestions and I will pass them on to Miriam Therese Winter.