Drawing upon her years of research, teaching, and the ever-fresh insights of her students, Sr. Nowell illuminates the stories of many of the women in the Old Testament. In listening to these riveting presentations, one priest said, "I felt like scales had fallen from my eyes and for the first time understood clearly the drama, depth, and bravery of the women that God used to carry out the plan of salvation.
In retelling the stories of many of the women we know by name and others who remain anonymous, Sr. Nowell draws us into thinking about what God is doing in our lives and how we are pursuing and living out our own important missions. By articulating the stories of the women in the Old Testament, she helps all to better grapple with the pain, confusion, and struggles that make up an essential part of the human condition in every era. These stories address our feelings of alienation from the world and help solidify the story of our own spiritual realities.
Though women were socially subordinate in the Old Testament, it is clear from these ancient tales that they were not regarded as inferior. The stories of the mothers, maids, midwives, prostitutes, and the family intrigues are all indispensable parts of the grand story of salvation. Foreign women, as well as the daughters of Israel, consistently emerge at pivotal moments to shape history. With cunning, courage and at times violence, the women that populate the Old Testament defend themselves, their families, and the nation of Israel itself. It is no wonder that Israel would be proclaimed as feminine, the bride of Yahweh.
Sr. Nowell concludes the presentation with a fresh look at two symbolic female figures that carry a huge weight, Eve, the mother of the living, and the Wisdom Woman. The insights in this presentation reveal the insights into the creation of humanity and the way back to the Tree of Life that the Wisdom Woman promises in the Book of Proverbs.
©2015 Irene Nowell (P)2015 Pious Society of St. Paul
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