In early 1852, Irish novelist and women of letters Julia Kavanagh (1824-1877) produced her Women of Christianity, Exemplary for Acts of Piety and Charity. It was the first volume of its kind attempting to tell the story of women remarkable for character, intellect, and excellence, who had flourished under the fostering influence of the Christian faith from New Testament to her own.
Though subsequent developments in critical historography and feminist theory have transformed the disciplines of women's studies and Church history in recent generations, Kavanagh's pioneer work deserves long overdue attention in both fields. With skill and conviction offering a narrative of women's lives across the ages, she finds her own rightful place within that Christian Tradition.
Some of the lives featured in Women of Christianity:
- Vibia Peupeta, early North African Christian Martyr
- Macrina the Elder, brider of family and monastic community
- Teresa of Avila, Carmelite nun and author of The Interior Castle
- Elizabeth Fry, English Quaker and pioneer of prison reform