The Women Behind the Flag

The Women Behind the Flag 
by Patricia Chadwick

June  14, 2000 marks the 223rd birthday of the U.S. Flag.  In 1777, the Continental Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes pattern for the national flag.   Often overlooked in the history of the flag are the contributions of  two women who have had a hand in making two of the most important flags in history:  Betsy Ross and Mary Young Pickersgill.

Over the years there has been much controversy as to who indeed made the first American Flag.  While attempts have been made to disprove it, it is generally accepted by most Americans that the first American Flag was fashioned by Betsy Ross. While there is no historical record of Mrs. Ross being commissioned to make the first flag, there is a strong verbal record, handed down from generation to generation, beginning with Betsy’s own family.

Tradition holds that about five months later, in June of 1776, Betsy Ross received a visit from a secret committee sent by the Continental Congress that was authorized to design a flag for the nation-to-be.  The committee included George Washington, Commander-in-Chief of the Colonial Army, Col. George Ross, Betsy’s uncle by marriage, and Robert Morris, a wealthy businessman.  They asked that Betsy make the flag according to a rough drawing they carried with them.  She consented to attempt the work after suggesting  some slight changes, one being a star of five-points instead of six. Washington redrew the flag design in pencil in her back parlor and Betsy spent the next few days sewing the flag in her home.

When she was finished, she called for the committee who took it to the State House where Congress approved the design.  While the committee had gone to other seamstresses, Betsy Ross’ flag is the one the Continental Congress decided upon, and they gave her a standing order.  She continued making flags for the United States Government for the next fifty years.

Next we will look at the flag that inspired the “Star Spangled Banner”. While many know the story behind Francis Scott Key penning the beloved “Star Spangle Banner”, not many know the story of the flag that was flown at Fort McHenry that inspired the Key to write the words that would become the National Anthem of the United States of America.  This flag was created by Mary Young Pickersgill.

Mary Young Pickersgill was born in 1776 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, during the difficult period of the Revolutionary War.  Her family moved to Lebanon, Pennsylvania during the war and later to Baltimore.  There she was married and was widowed.

Mary took up the trade of flagmaking, needing to support herself and her daughter.  She became quite skillful at the trade and became well-known as a flagmaker. Therefore, during another critical time in U.S. History, she was selected to make the flag for Fort McHenry.  In 1813, Major George Armistead hired Mary Young Pickersgill to sew a flag with 15 stars and 15 stripes, the number of states then in the Union. Anticipating an attack on Fort McHenry by the British during the War of 1812, Major Armistead asked that the flag be made extra large so that it would be plainly visible to the English Fleet.  He had also hoped the large flag would lift the spirits of the Baltimoreans, allowing them to see this flag fly in defiance of the British.

Mary and  her daughter Caroline, then only a mere 13 years-old, accomplished the task in six weeks. She took great care to make sure the flag was well constructed. The entire flag was sewn by hand with flat felled seams and tight stitching, so it would not come apart in the wind.  It required four hundred yards of wool material and the finished flag measured  30 by 42 feet.  The flag had to be assembled in a nearby malt house, because there was no other place large enough to assemble it.

This flag was used as the garrison flag of Fort McHenry during the British siege of the fort during the War of 1812.  When Francis Scott Key saw the flag from a ship eight miles down the Patapsco River on September 14, 1814, the flag was still waving in the breeze after twenty-five hours of heavy bombardment by the British.  The British were very discouraged to see it still there, but Key was inspired to write the poem that became the our National Anthem.

As we celebrate Flag Day this year, let’s take time to remember the great women BEHIND the flag!

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    History of Mother’s Day

    The History Behind Mother’s Day

    All across the world, over 46 countries honor mothers with a special day, but not all nations celebrate on the same day. We honor mothers with cards, candy, flowers and dinner out. But have you ever considered how this became a legal holiday in the United States?

    Mother’s day was first suggested in the United States by Julia Ward Howe, writer of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. She suggested that this day be dedicated to peace. Miss Howe organized Mother’s Day meetings in Boston, Mass. yearly.

    In 1877, Mrs. Juliet Calhoun Blakely inadvertently set Mother’s Day in motion. On Sunday, May 11, 1877, which was Mrs. Blakely’s birthday, the pastor of her Methodist Episcopal Church left the pulpit abruptly, being distraught over the behavior of his son. Mrs. Blakely stepped to the pulpit to take over the remainder of the service and called for other mothers to join her. Mrs. Blakely’s two sons were so touched by her gesture that they vowed to return to their hometown of Albion, Michigan every year to mark their mother’s birthday and to pay tribute to her. In addition, the two brothers also urged business associates and those they met while traveling as salesman to honor their mothers on the second Sunday of May. They also urged the Methodist Episcopal Church in Albion to set aside the second Sunday of each May to honor all mothers, and especially their own.

    While there were local celebrations honoring mothers in the late 1800’s, it was largely due to the efforts of Anna Jarvis that Mothers Day became a national holiday in the United States. Anna’s mother, Mrs. Anna M. Jarvis, had been instrumental in developing “Mothers Friendship Day” which was part of the healing process of the Civil War. In honor of her mother, Miss Jarvis wanted to set aside a day to honor all mothers, living and dead.

    In 1907, Miss Anna began a campaign to establish a national Mother’s Day. She persuaded her mother’s church in Grafton, West Virginia to celebrate Mother’s day on the second anniversary of her mother’s death, the 2nd Sunday of May. By the next year Mother’s Day was also celebrated in her own city of Philadelphia.

    Miss Jarvis and her supporters began to write to godly ministers, evangelists, businessmen, and politicians in their crusade to establish a national Mother’s Day. This campaign was a success. By 1911, Mother’s Day was celebrated in almost every state in the Union. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson made the official announcement proclaiming Mother’s Day as a national holiday that was to be held each year on the second Sunday of May.

    The one-woman crusade of Anna Jarvis is often overlooked in History books. Women during the early 1900s were engaged in many other reform efforts that t

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      History of Father’s Day

           In today’s world, Father’s Day seems like a tradition that has been around forever. The truth of the matter is, however, that Father’s Day is a relatively new institution, which became an official holiday only 29 years ago.

      While there is a discrepancy over who was actually the originator of the holiday, both people who are credited with the earliest Father’s Day celebrations were women. While some feel that the first Father’s Day observance was planned by Mrs. Charles Clayton of West Virginia in 1908, popular opinion credits Sonora Smart Dodd, of Spokane, Washington with the idea.

      Sonora Smart Dodd had lost her mother during the birth of her sixth child. For twenty-one years her father, William Jackson Smart, raised his six children on his own, making all the parental sacrifices that come with raising a family. To Sonora, her father was the perfect example of a selfless, loving, courageous man.

      In 1909, while listening intently to a Mother’s Day sermon extolling the virtues of motherhood, Sonora longed for a way to honor her father for all he had done for her and her siblings. It is then that she came up with the idea of holding a Father’s Day celebration to honor fathers everywhere.

      Mrs. Dodd was able to gain support for a local Father’s Day celebration from the town’s ministers and members of the local Y.M.C.A. The date suggested for the first Father’s Day was June 5, 1910, William Smart’s birthday. However, because of the time needed to prepare for the celebration, the date of the first Father’s Day celebration was moved to June 19, the third Sunday in June. The rose was selected as the flower to be worn in Father’s Day celebrations; the red rose for those whose father was living and the white rose for those whose father had passed away.

      Newspapers across the country that were endorsing Mother’s Day carried stories of the Father’s Day observance in Spokane. Interest in Father’s Day increased and local observances popped up across the nation. The state of Washington made Father’s Day an official holiday that same year.

      Though the holiday was popular as a local celebration in many communities, it wasn’t readily accepted nationally. In 1912, J.H. Berringer, of Washington conducted a Father’s Day service, choosing to wear a white lilac as the Father’s Day flower. In 1915, Henry Meek, president of the Lions Club of Chicago also began promoting Father’s Day celebrations. He gave several speeches around the United States supporting Father’s Day and in 1920 the Lions Clubs of America presented him with a gold watch with the inscription “Originator of Father’s Day”.

      Many famous people supported Father’s Day and attempted to secure official recognition for the holiday including William Jennings Bryan, Woodrow Wilson, and Calvin Coolidge. In 1916 President Wilson observed the holiday with his own family and in 1924 President Coolidge gave his support to states wishing to hold their own Father’s Day observances believing that widespread observance of the holiday would draw families closer together. In 1957 Senator Margaret Chase Smith lobbied Congress for a national Father’s Day, but it wasn’t until 1966 that President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father’s Day. In 1972, President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father’s Day to be held on the 3rd Sunday of June.

      Today, Father’s Day is celebrated across the globe. While it is not as widely celebrated as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day is the fifth-largest card-sending occasion in America, with over 85 million greeting cards exchanged.


      This article may be re-published as long as the following resource box is included:
      Patricia Chadwick is a freelance writer and has been a stay-at-home mom for 15 years. She is currently a columnist in several online publications as well as editor of two newsletters. Parents & Teens is a twice-monthly newsletter geared to help parents connect with their teens. Subscribe at History’s Women is weekly online magazine highlighting the extraordinary achievements of women. Subscribe at


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        The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe

        Product DetailsThe Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe
        By Elaine Showalter
        Simon and Schuster
        Retail Price:  $28.00
        Amazon Price: $18.78

        Book Description:  The first full biography of Julia Ward Howe—the author of The Battle Hymn of the Republic and an early and powerful feminist pioneer—a groundbreaking figure in the abolitionist and suffrage movements.

        Julia Ward (1819–1910) was a heiress and aspiring poet when she married Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, an internationally-acclaimed pioneer in the education of the blind. Together the Howes knew many of the key figures of their era, from Charles Dickens to John Brown. But he also wasted her inheritance, isolated and discouraged her, and opposed her literary ambitions. Julia persisted, and continued to publish poems and plays while raising six children.

        Authorship of the Battle Hymn of the Republic made her celebrated and revered. But Julia was also continuing to fight a civil war at home; she became a pacifist, suffragist, and world traveler. She came into her own as a tireless campaigner for women’s rights and social reform. Esteemed author Elaine Showalter tells the story of Howe’s determined self-creation and brings to life the society she inhabited and the obstacles she overcame.


        This is an excellent biography of Julia Ward Howe.  In case you are unsure of who Ms. Howe is, she is the author of The Battle Hymn of the Republic, which first appeared in the February, 1862, issue of The Atlantic Monthly magazine and was considered by many as the Civil War’s battle song of the Republic.   While this hymn was her claim to fame, Ms. Showalter gives us a complete look at Howe’s life from birth in 1819 to her spiritual re-birth and her death in 1910.  The book covers her early years and young adult years well, but goes more in depth regarding her courtship with Samuel Howe and her married life.  Julia really came into her own in midlife and beyond, where she laid the foundations for her legacy of civil rights support.   She was really an amazing woman who was a was a prominent American abolitionist, social activist, and poet.   This book gives you an intimate glimpse into her life and work. It is a must read for all you lovers of women’s history!


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          Fanny Crosby

          Fanny Crosby, Hymnwriter
          By Anne Adams

            As the author of more than 9000 hymns plus 1000 secular poems and songs, hymnwriter Francis Jane (Fanny) Crosby was one of the most beloved Christian figures in the late 1800s. While providing many of the appealing gospel hymns that would replace the formerly popular more staid and sober songs, she also gained renown as a preacher, lecturer and home mission worker. And she accomplished it all – despite being blind since infancy. Still, Fanny never allowed what could have been a seriously limiting handicap caused by a careless mistake to keep her from using her God given talent to create songs that would provide inspiration and encouragement to many.

          Born March 24, 1820, Frances Jane Crosby had normal vision at birth but at six weeks suffered an eye inflammation. Their usual doctor was unavailable and so the family sought help from a man who claimed to be medically qualified but who put a poultice on her eyes that left the infant’s eyes scarred. The “doctor” hurriedly left town.

          Not long after Fanny’s father died and her young mother sought domestic work in nearby town, leaving her blind daughter in the care of her mother Eunice and other relatives.

          Resolved that Fanny would not be completely dependent on others, as were many blind people at the time, Eunice set about to educate Fanny about many aspects of the world around her as she helped her memorize great portions of the Bible and other books.

          Though other physicians reluctantly told her family there was nothing to be done to restore her sight, Grandma Eunice continued to help develop her memory as she grew and played as nearly as possible as normal children. Still when she became discouraged she prayed and asked God to use her, refusing to let her handicap limit her. Her new resolve was expressed in her first poem:

          O what a happy soul am I!
          Although I cannot see,
          I am resolved that in this world,
          Contented I will be.
          How many blessings I enjoy,
          That other people don’t.
          To weep and sigh because I’m blind,
          I cannot and I won’t!

          Fanny had attended local schools occasionally but since the teachers did not know how to help her she never attended long. However, as Fanny became a teenager it became evident that she had great creative talent – she sang well, played the piano and became quite well known locally as a poet. Then at age 14 her mother heard about a new opportunity for Fanny in the newly opened New York Institute for the Blind. In 1835, Fanny enrolled in the school and there she finally she found what she’d been praying for – a chance to learn among people who could teach her all she wanted to learn.

          The students learned by means of lectures and readings, and her subjects included English, grammar, science, music, history, philosophy and astronomy. The pupils would hear the lesson several times and then be expected to not only answer detailed questions but also even paraphrase the lessons. Fanny learned it so quickly and so completely even years later she could recite the entire contents of her grammar text.

          Fanny continued to demonstrate her poetic talent as she was frequently asked to compose verses for special occasions and to honor prominentvisitors to the Institute where she became a teacher in 1842. In her role as institute poetess she became acquainted with such celebrities as famed singer Jenny Lind, President James K. Polk, Henry Clay, General Winfield Scott, and Horace Greeley. She even published poems for his newspaper. There was another employee who not only copied her poems but also became her life
          long friend. His name was Grover Cleveland.

          In 1844 she published a collection of her verse as “The Blind Girl and Other Poems,” the first of several later volumes of poems. Later she met a fellow instructor a somewhat younger man named Alexander Van Alystyne who was an accomplished musician. They married in 1858 when she was 38 and he was 27 then left the Institute because of what they felt were deteriorating conditions and relationships with the school. In 1859 Fanny gave birth to a baby but the child died shortly after birth. Fanny rarely spoke about the incident so it isn’t even clear if it was a girl or a boy. Also, while she and “Van” as she called him would remain married till his death in 1902 they followed their own career paths and eventually lived apart though always remained good friends.

          As Fanny recovered from the loss of her child she may well have found solace and comfort in her deep and life long faith in God, and as she did so she became part of a religious revival that was sweeping the country. One aspect of it was the development of the Sunday school, which had evolved from an effort to offer secular education to workingmen on Sundays that evolved into the church’s education ministry.

          Part of this element was the “Sunday School” music or what would be later called “gospel songs.” Hymns had long been traditionally grave, and sober with an emphasis in sin and judgement. However,
          worshipers preferred the more personal songs and Fanny was among many poets and composers whoprovided what the church needed.

          One of these composers was William Bradbury who had studied and performed widely in Europe as well as America. Yet he disliked the poems he was presented so he was anxious to find more suitable lyrics. Fanny’s pastor brought the two together thus beginning a business and personal association as Fanny provided verses for his publishing company. She also later collaborated with businessman and part time composer William Doan, who would
          become her close friend for more than 40 years.

          One day Doan asked Fanny to write a poem using the phrase “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior, but she lacked inspiration. A short time later as she was speaking at a prison one of the inmates called out: “Good Lord! Don’t pass me by!” That was what she needed and after Doan provided the melody the hymn was later used at the same prison and inspired several conversions

          Another time Doan arrived at Fanny’s home with a melody in mind along with an urgent request. He was on his way to catch a train and he needed a poem to fit the tune. Upon hearing the melody Fanny clapped her hands together and exclaimed. “That says ‘Safe in the Arms of Jesus’!” After a period of private prayer Fanny returned to dictate the entire poem. It was immediately popular and eventually it became a worldwide inspiration particularly for those who had lost a child – as Fanny had.

          Not long after this Fanny accepted Doan’s invitation to address an audience where she described an impression she had. “There’s a dear boy here who has wandered away from his mother’s teaching. Would he please come to me at the close of the service?” A young man did come forward and related how he had promised his mother he would meet her in heaven, but after the way he’d been living now he wasn’t sure he would. After a period of prayer the new convert was exuberant “I’ve found my mother’s God and I’ll meet her in Heaven!” With that inspiration came the words Fanny needed and “Rescue the Perishing” took form to go with Doan’s melody.

          In 1876 Fanny met Dwight L. Moody, the renowned evangelist of that period and Ira Sankey his featured soloist, beginning a long personal and professional relationship with both. They utilized many of her hymns, recognizing her gifts as a vital part of their ministry. Sankey published many of her hymns as well as providing music for her verses.

          When she did write a hymn Fanny received only a few dollars and no further royalties, since the hymns became the property of the
          composer. Though many thought Fanny had been exploited or should ask for more money she did not agree. She felt her hymns were her work for God and her reward was the effects of the song on those who came to Him. Fanny herself defined a hymn as a “song of the heart addressed to God.” She published her many hymns under her own name but also used many pseudonyms, including such labels as “the Children’s Friend” or initials, or even such symbols as asterisks and number signs. One reason she did this was at her publisher’s insistence because they did not want it known they relied so much on one person.

          As she got older Fanny continued her speaking tours and home mission work but as she entered her 90s, she gradually stayed closer to home, which at this time was with a niece in Bridgeport, Connecticut. However there was still a steady stream of visitors wanting advice, an autograph or just a glimpse of the fabled “Queen of the Gospel Song.” She still retained her sense of humor, often playing the piano in the parlor – starting with a classical number, then lapsing into ragtime and from there she “pepped things up” with a jazzed up version of one of her hymns!

          Then on February 11, 1915 she dictated a letter of sympathy and a poem to a neighbor family on the death of their child, assuring them that their daughter was “Safe in the Arms of Jesus”. Later that night she slipped into in the presence of the Lord she’d served through her verses and her life.

          Fanny’s life had been long and productive, and despite a handicap that might have discouraged and limited someone else, she did not let it prevent her from providing the sacred words that inspire and
          encourage even a century after her death.


          Anne Adams is a writer/teacher in Houston, Texas. She has published
          in Christian and secular publications and her book “Brittany, Child of
          Joy” wasissued by Broadman Press in 1986.

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            The Wisdom of the Beguines: The Forgotten Story of a Medieval Women’s Movement

            The Wisdom of the Beguines: The Forgotten Story of a Medieval Women's MovementThe Wisdom of the Beguines: The Forgotten Story of a Medieval Women’s Movement
            by Laura Swan
            Retail Price $13.56
            Amazon Price: $13.56

            Book Description: 

            The beguines began to form in various parts of Europe over eight hundred years ago, around the year 1200. Beguines were laywomen, not nuns, and thus did not take solemn vows and did not live in monasteries. The beguines were a phenomenal movement that swept across Europe yet they were never a religious order or a formalized movement. But there were common elements that rendered these women distinctive and familiar, including their common way of life, their unusual business acumen, and their commitment to the poor and marginalized. These women were essentially self-defined, in opposition to the many attempts to control and define them. They lived by themselves or together in so-called beguinages, which could be single houses for as few as a handful of beguines or, as in Brugge and Amsterdam, walled-in rows of houses (enclosing a central court with a chapel) where over a thousand beguines might live—a village of women within a medieval town or city. And each region of Europe has its own beguine stories to tell.Among the beguines were celebrated spiritual writers and mystics, including Mechthild of Magdeburg, Beatrijs of Nazareth, Hadewijch of Brabant, and Marguerite Porete, who was condemned as a heretic and burned at the stake in Paris in 1310. She was not the only beguine suspected of heresy, and often politics were the driving force behind such charges. Certain clerics defended beguines against charges of heresy, while other women had to go undercover by joining a Benedictine or Cistercian monastery.Amazingly, many beguine communities survived for a long time despite oppression, wars, the plague, and other human and natural disasters. Beguines lived through—and helped propel—times of great transition and reform. Beguines courageously spoke to power and corruption, never despairing of God’s compassion for humanity. They used their business acumen to establish and support ministries that extended education, health care, and other social services to the vulnerable. And they preached and taught of a loving God who desired a relationship with each individual person while calling to reform those who used God’s name for personal gain.

            What strength of spirit protected the lives of these women and their beguinages? What can we learn from them? What might they teach us? The beguines have much to say to our world today. This book invites us to listen to their voices, to discover them anew.


            When I first received this book for review, it really piqued my interest.  I had never even heard of the Beguines before and I really wanted to find out what these ladies were all about.  Author Laura Swan did a fantastic job of researching and relaying their story in a very readable fashion.At the start of the 12th century, some women in Europe lived alone and devoted themselves to prayer and good works without taking vows. At first there were only a few of them, but in the course of the century, their numbers increased. These women lived in towns, where they attended to the poor. During the 13th century, some of them bought homes that neighbored each other, and finally formal living spaces for many women formed a community called a béguinage. Beguinages tended to be located near town centers and were often close to the rivers that provided water for their work in the cloth industry in the Low Countries.

            Beguines were not nuns; they did not take vows, could return to the world and wed if they chose and did not renounce their property. If one was without means, she neither asked nor accepted alms but supported herself by manual labor or by teaching.  Beguinages were not convents. There was no overarching structure and each beguinage adopted its own rule.

            This book brings to our attention a movement of women who wanted to make an difference in their sphere of influence in the Middle Ages.  It was truly inspirational!

            ~Reviewed by Allie B.

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              The Wrong Enemy

              The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014The Wrong Enemy
              By Carlotta Gall
              Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
              Retail Price:  $28.00
              Amazon Price:  15.12

              Book Description:  Carlotta Gall has reported from Afghanistan and Pakistan for almost the entire duration of the American invasion and occupation, beginning shortly after 9/11. She knows just how much this war has cost the Afghan people, and how much damage can be traced to Pakistan and its duplicitous government and intelligence forces. Now that American troops are withdrawing, it is time to tell the full history of how we have been fighting the wrong enemy, in the wrong country.Gall combines searing personal accounts of battles and betrayals with moving portraits of the ordinary Afghanis who endured a terrible war of more than a decade. Her firsthand accounts of Taliban warlords, Pakistani intelligence thugs, American generals, Afghani politicians, and the many innocents who were caught up in this long war are riveting.  Her evidence that Pakistan fueled the Taliban and protected Osama bin Laden is revelatory. This is a sweeping account of a war brought by well-intentioned American leaders against an enemy they barely understood, and could not truly engage.


              This book is really about history in the making.  I am posting it on History’s Women, because I believe that  the author, Carlotta Gall, a journalist stationed in Afghanistan for nearly14 years, is a courageous women who is speaking the truth, even if it is difficult to hear.  She is a reformer at heart and is using her experiences in Afghanistan to help us understand what truly when on across the globe during the 13 years of war.

              Reading this book is like watching a documentary film on the area and the people.  She writes in such a way that you feel as if you are walking the dusty roads with her.  Gall helps us face the hard facts of the war in Afghansitan including divulging shocking evidence that doesn’t put the U.S. Government in the best light.  I give her credit for having the courage to tell it like she saw it, no holds-barred.  This book will shock you, enlighten you, and give you compassion for our soldiers who were fighting a war so far from home for so many years.


              If you would like a chance to win a free copy of this book email us by the end of the month.  Be sure to include the name of the book in the body of the email along with your name and address

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                Thank You, Sisters

                Thank You, Sisters: Stories of Women Religious and How They Enrich Our Lives

                Thank You, Sisters
                By John Feister
                Franciscan Media
                Retail Price $14.99
                Amazon Price: $12.48

                Book Description: 

                Since the April 2012 announcement of the Doctrinal Assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, there has been considerable media attention focused on Catholic Sisters.

                The first report, and the consequent naming of bishop-oversight and guidance of LCWR for the next five years, has resulted in an outcry of support for U.S. religious sisters from much of the Church, and a concurrent outcry of support for the Holy See and criticism of sisters from other parts of the Church. There has not been much reliable analysis of this reaction yet: Is it liberal-conservative? Young or old? Neither is the point of this book.

                Thank You, Sisters highlights the positive impact that sisters have had on a cross-section of Catholics. It steps back from finger-pointing and position-taking and simply tells inspiring, true stories of Sisters and the people they have influenced. The book shows the effect religious women have had not only on the U.S. Catholic Church, but on the nation as a whole, in areas such as health care, education, social justice, and pastoral ministry.

                The contributors to this book are prominent Catholics who write from a wide range of experience. They include:

                • James Martin, S.J.
                • Cokie Roberts
                • Mary Fishman— producer of Band of Sisters
                • Adriana Trigiani
                • Binka Le Breton, on Amazon martyr Sister Dorothy Stang
                • Maureen Orth
                • Liz Scott, on Sr. Helen Prejean
                • Teresa Gardner and Sr. Chris Kenney
                • Maurice Nutt, C.S.S.R. on Sr. Thea Bowman
                • Teresa Wilson on Sr. Joan Chittister
                • Dan Horan, O.F.M.


                Written in simple to understand language, this book takes a look at women’s history from the perspective of Catholic Sisters and their contributions to society. Many of the Sisters in the book have been social activists, helping to feed the hungry and provide health care to the poor.  Some of the sisters were political activists, fighting for the rights of the those who could not fight themselves.  The work they have done has often been overlooked, but this book seeks to right that wrong and pay tribute to this group of women who are truly an inspiration.

                ~Reviewed by Fran O.

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                  Women of Vision

                  Women of Vision: National Geographic Photographers on AssignmentWomen of Vision
                  By Chris Johns
                  National Geographic
                  Retail Price $30.00
                  Amazon Price: $21.68

                  Book Description: 

                  Women photographers have produced many of National Geographic’s most powerful photo-narratives of the past decade. These talented photojournalists are celebrated in this captivating photography book, covering places and subjects around the globe and sharing the same passion and commitment to storytelling that has come to define National Geographic magazine, with more than 31 million readers worldwide.

                  Women of Vision
                  is a tribute to the spirit and the ambition of these journalists and artists who have created riveting, visual experiences through the insightful, sensitive, and strategic use of a camera. With an introduction by Chris Johns, editor-in-chief of National Geographic magazine, and a thoughtful foreword by acclaimed journalist Ann Curry, this book presents both personal reflections and stunning selections of photographic assignment work from the past decade, setting a new standard for excellence that will continue to inspire for decades to come.

                  From the elegant landscapes of the Mongolian steppes to the war-torn battlefields of Iraq; from the last great wildernesses of Africa to the flash and tumult of the Jersey Shore, these stories explore the realities of our world and the depths of what it means to be human in the 21st century.


                  Photojournalists often tell the untold stories, that behind the scenes that words can’t even begin to describe.  They show us that a picture is indeed worth a thousand words!  While this makes a great coffee table book, it is so much more.  While the photographs are stunning, they are accompanied by comprehensive biographies of each of the photographers, each of which are very intriguing.  While it used to be a man’s world, National Geographic is showing us that this world is opened up to women and that women are excelling in the field.

                  ~Reviewed by Allie B.

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