13 Powerful Women Mystics Who Helped Shape Christianity

Huff Post: The women mystics of Christianity lived courageous and often radical lives. They pushed their bodies to the extremes of survival, challenged societal norms and, occasionally, died for their faith. They were rebels and renegades who helped shape Christianity as we know it today. Like their male counterparts, these women sought a connection to God through prayer and devotional action, and in turn, felt themselves to be recipients of divine messages.

Shelley Emling, the senior editor of Huff/Post 50, dives into the life of one of these brave female mystics in her forthcoming bookSetting the World on Fire: The Brief, Astonishing Life of St. Catherine of Siena. For Emling, Catherine and other female mystics demonstrate the challenging but empowering task of being guided by a divine force.

“They made their voices known and held sway over countless followers — men included — within a completely male-dominated society,” Emling said. “Throughout the Middle Ages, influential people including the pope took these women’s visions and prophecies as gospel.”

These women mystics frequently spoke of being directed by Christ, but they were by no means passive recipients. They acted “as self-assured individuals who had no doubts about their abilities or the paths they were on,” Emling said. “Although their hearts belonged to God, these women were fiercely independent, and their actions and writings have inspired many generations of believers.”


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