By Jackie A. O’Neal, S.T.M.
Historically through the centuries, women have played a dynamic role in the development of the church. St. Macrina was ordained deaconess of the Church of Ibora. She was also recognized as the co-founder of a religious order named after her brother, St. Basil the Great.
Sister Maria De Monte, wrote: “A glance at the history of the church demonstrates that there have been women ministering to the people of God where ever there was a need.” The Gospels do relate that women grouped themselves together around Jesus to study his teachings, to minister to Him, and to share in His personal friendship.
Based on these examples of women’s role in the Early Church, there can be no question that the resistance regarding women’s ordination is not scriptural. Women for centuries have been capable of receiving divine wisdom while supporting the people of God work in the world.
I wrote my book Woman Priest to share my spiritual journey as a candidate for the Episcopal priesthood. The story, I felt needed to be told as it was unique, in the sense that I was the first woman in 126 years at a historic Episcopal parish to be nominated for the priesthood.
By the time, I arrived on the scene, women had been ordained for over thirty years. I wanted my readers to know that women have the physical, emotional, and spiritual stamina to do ministry, and as a woman, there were several obstacles placed in my path, I was able to overcome.
Among them, the process of ordination itself is complex and hierarchical- some might say even archaic. People of all faiths have told me they were inspired by how true to their beliefs a woman can be.
They have been touched by how much my book celebrates faith and humanity, and the realization that a woman can be an effective leader, even in a male dominated culture. I was a witness to some of the indignities and triumphs- who best to tell such a story? The triumphs came in the form of being brought together with people who welcomed a woman priest ,and the indignities manifested themselves as power struggles with male colleagues. Yet, as a woman priest, I honored my calling, and persevered.
I learned to grow spiritually, and in so doing I began to reject some of the patriarchal teachings of the church, and to embrace the reality of a Mother God. Many cultures have acknowledged a female principle for thousands of years. The Society of Novus Spiritus affirmed the reason why many of the Gnostic Christians were martyred,was not because they would not bow down to the emperor, but because they believed in the female principle. In the Episcopal church, devotions to the Blessed Mother have disappeared. I do recall an Episcopal priest gritting his teeth, and snarling: “You and your rosary,” when I suggested using one during an Advent Quiet day. The truth appears to be, had the church preserved the female principle, rather than suppressing it, perhaps female ordination would never have been an issue.
To learn more, visit: http://www.amazon.com/Jackie-Audrey-ONeal-S.T.M./e/B003LFJYBM/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Causes Jackie ONeal Supports
Beam of Hope For the Disadvantaged
Arrow Web Hospital