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All Saints Day: A Litany to Honor Women

(from Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals)

All Saints Day, observed November 1, is a day to celebrate the lives of the departed faithful. That being said, All Saints is also about God's sanctifying grace, giving us the hope of being transformed into saints in this life. The mothers of Plaza de Mayo and Alice Walker are still living; their witness echoes that of the other women listed here.


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We walk in the company of the women who have gone before, mothers of the faith both named and unnamed, testifying with ferocity and faith to the Spirit of wisdom and healing. They are the judges, the prophets, the martyrs, the warriors, the poets, lovers and saints who are near to us in the shadow of awareness, in the crevices of memory, in the landscape of our dreams.

We walk in the company of Deborah, who judged the Israelites with authority and strength.

We walk in the company of Esther, who used her position as queen to ensure the welfare of her people.

We walk in the company of you whose names have been lost or silenced, who kept and cradled the wisdom of the ages.

We walk in the company of the woman with the flow of blood, who audaciously sought her healing and release.

We walk in the company of Mary Magdalene, who wept at the empty tomb until the Risen Christ appeared.

We walk in the company of Pheobe, who led an early church in the empire of Rome.

We walk in the company of Perpetua of Carthage, whose witness in the 3rd century led to her martyrdom.

We walk in the company of St Christina the Astonishing, who resisted death with persistence and wonder.

We walk in the company of Julian of Norwich, who wed imagination and theology, proclaiming, "All shall be well."

We walk in the company of Sojourner Truth, who stood against oppression, righteously proclaiming in 1852, "Ain't I a woman!"

We walk in the company of the Argentine mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, who turned their grief to strength, standing together to remember "the disappeared" children of war with a holy indignation.

We walk in the company of Alice Walker, who named the lavender hue of womanish strength.

We walk in the company of you mothers of the faith, who teach us to resist evil with boldness, to lead with wisdom, and to heal.

Amen.

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