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50 Women Every Christian Should Know: Learning from Heroines of the Faith

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Throughout history, countless women have boldly stepped out in faith and courage, leaving their indelible mark on those around them and on the kingdom of God. In lively prose Michelle DeRusha tells their stories, bringing into focus fifty incredible heroines of the faith. From Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila, and Anne Hutchison to Susanna Wesley, Harriet Tubman, and Co Throughout history, countless women have boldly stepped out in faith and courage, leaving their indelible mark on those around them and on the kingdom of God. In lively prose Michelle DeRusha tells their stories, bringing into focus fifty incredible heroines of the faith. From Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila, and Anne Hutchison to Susanna Wesley, Harriet Tubman, and Corrie ten Boom, women both famous and admirable live again under DeRusha's expert pen. These engaging narratives are a potent reminder to readers that we are not alone, the battles we face today are not new, and God is always with us in the midst of the struggle.


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Throughout history, countless women have boldly stepped out in faith and courage, leaving their indelible mark on those around them and on the kingdom of God. In lively prose Michelle DeRusha tells their stories, bringing into focus fifty incredible heroines of the faith. From Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila, and Anne Hutchison to Susanna Wesley, Harriet Tubman, and Co Throughout history, countless women have boldly stepped out in faith and courage, leaving their indelible mark on those around them and on the kingdom of God. In lively prose Michelle DeRusha tells their stories, bringing into focus fifty incredible heroines of the faith. From Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila, and Anne Hutchison to Susanna Wesley, Harriet Tubman, and Corrie ten Boom, women both famous and admirable live again under DeRusha's expert pen. These engaging narratives are a potent reminder to readers that we are not alone, the battles we face today are not new, and God is always with us in the midst of the struggle.

30 review for 50 Women Every Christian Should Know: Learning from Heroines of the Faith

  1. 5 out of 5

    Amy Sullivan

    My prediction: Instant classic. Starting from the first page of the first woman, readers learn Hildegard of Bingen was the tenth child in her family, and she was dedicated to the church as a tithe when she was only eight years old. WOW! Michelle DeRusha gives readers a good look into each woman's life by highlighting unique facts and pointing us straight back to our great big God. If I could give this book six stars I would.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jen Ferguson

    Today in my quiet time, I asked God for some wisdom and uplifting words to soothe my weary soul. After meditating on some scriptures, I felt led to my bookshelf where Michelle's book sat. I skimmed the table of contents, wanting instantly to absorb the wisdom of these women's lives. I asked God which woman I should read about today and was led to Ruth Graham Bell. When my eyes found this quote, my heart leapt. I knew this was the piece God wanted to use to help my downtrodden heart: "Make the le Today in my quiet time, I asked God for some wisdom and uplifting words to soothe my weary soul. After meditating on some scriptures, I felt led to my bookshelf where Michelle's book sat. I skimmed the table of contents, wanting instantly to absorb the wisdom of these women's lives. I asked God which woman I should read about today and was led to Ruth Graham Bell. When my eyes found this quote, my heart leapt. I knew this was the piece God wanted to use to help my downtrodden heart: "Make the least of all that goes and the most of all that comes. And keep looking forward. Don't look backwards." I am incredibly grateful for this book, as it gives us access to women who have gone before us and we are able to bring them into our present communities. Though their bodies are no longer with us, their wisdom remains alive within these pages.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lala Sedlak

    I have mixed feelings about this book. First of all, I think that the author should have titled his book as "50 Great/Revolutionary Historic Women That Lived". I am truly curious to know how author defines a 'devout Christian', since she labels some of her heroines as such which in my opinion were not. This book gave a very brief story of each of 50 women who were from different denominations. I would say that third of women mentioned were Catholic who performed weird rituals, over spiritualize I have mixed feelings about this book. First of all, I think that the author should have titled his book as "50 Great/Revolutionary Historic Women That Lived". I am truly curious to know how author defines a 'devout Christian', since she labels some of her heroines as such which in my opinion were not. This book gave a very brief story of each of 50 women who were from different denominations. I would say that third of women mentioned were Catholic who performed weird rituals, over spiritualize things, and had crazy visions that some of them experienced either after mental trauma (some sort of disease) or drugs. Most women experienced a tragedy, usually a death of a child, and to numb the pain they had decided that God did that to them because He wanted their attention to care for the poor, sick and etc. I am actually questioning some of these women's faiths' because some things they did were really unbiblical. For example, leaving husband and kids behind because God told this particular woman to run away. Almost all women mentioned share the same characteristics: strong willed women that decided to do what they thought was right who became preachers, women's rights movement activists, political activists that went against the norms of the society at that time and all suffered from deep depression and anxiety (because no one supported their enthusiasms), and some even either though of or tried to commit suicide. You may even call most of these women were rebellious and feminists (in traditional sense of that word). Most of women were led by their emotions and not the Bible or God. But all of these women left something huge behind them. Things that were able to accomplish are amazing! I am a little bit disappointed in this book. The title is very misleading. I expected to read about women who were 'faith giants' and not women who did great things and just happened to be Christians.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Marks

    Not all of these women were representative of biblical Christianity....too liberal of a perspective, no respect for the lenses of Scripture

  5. 5 out of 5

    Marisa

    I really thought I would love this book, especially with the advanced praise it has received by so many people that I highly respect. However, I have to admit I didn’t like this book. It was a great historical reference but it definitely wasn’t something I would read for pleasure the way I had thought it would be. I had expected a book that helped me to tie my life to those through history and to feel encouraged by these 50 women, yet it felt a lot like I was reading a text book and I struggled I really thought I would love this book, especially with the advanced praise it has received by so many people that I highly respect. However, I have to admit I didn’t like this book. It was a great historical reference but it definitely wasn’t something I would read for pleasure the way I had thought it would be. I had expected a book that helped me to tie my life to those through history and to feel encouraged by these 50 women, yet it felt a lot like I was reading a text book and I struggled to retain the information in it. As a resource I think this book would make an excellent addition to your shelf, but I don’t recommend it as anything more than a text book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Kidwell

    50 Women Every Christian Should Know Michelle DeRusha Baker Books Baker Books Pub Date   Sep 16 2014 This book gives you a glimpse into the lives of fifty great Christian woman, and shows us a bit of how they impacted the Christian faith.  This is the brief stories of women who were willing to stand up for what they believed in some even risking their lives. If you like reading true life stories of Women who made a difference in the Christian faith everyone f 50 Women Every Christian Should Know Michelle DeRusha Baker Books Baker Books Pub Date   Sep 16 2014 This book gives you a glimpse into the lives of fifty great Christian woman, and shows us a bit of how they impacted the Christian faith.  This is the brief stories of women who were willing to stand up for what they believed in some even risking their lives. If you like reading true life stories of Women who made a difference in the Christian faith everyone from Hildegard to Ruth Bell Graham this is a book you will want to add to your library. I give this book five out of five stars... Happy Reading...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tina Williams

    This is a straight forward book that presents sketches, including good and bad, of high profile women over the centuries. I found some chapters inspiring and others depressing. I gave 3 stars because the title is a bit misleading by claiming all these women were orthodox Christians. Some of the women chosen for this book were probably heretics or at least flirting with heretical theology.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    This is a collection of concise biographies of fascinating women of faith. I enjoyed it very much!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    This is a most valuable book for Christian women to read as encouragement from sisters of the faith. It offers a strong motivation to "go forth despite your fear or hesitation." The writing is objective and non-judgmental. I really enjoyed the vast assortment of Christian women through the ages.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kymberly

    Some I questioned why they were put in the book but it was really interesting! I learned a lot! definitely one that I will read again as well as read more about these women individually.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dichotomy Girl

    So this actually ended up being better than I feared. i.e. that it was going to try to stuff all of history into a tiny little modern evangelical box. But I was pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of a diverse group, protestants, Catholics (even modern ones), early Unitarians and even some holiness/pentecostal types around the early 1900's. To be honest, some of the early ones came off as sounding crazy / going through some kind of midlife crisis, (but my atheist husband would most So this actually ended up being better than I feared. i.e. that it was going to try to stuff all of history into a tiny little modern evangelical box. But I was pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of a diverse group, protestants, Catholics (even modern ones), early Unitarians and even some holiness/pentecostal types around the early 1900's. To be honest, some of the early ones came off as sounding crazy / going through some kind of midlife crisis, (but my atheist husband would most likely say that there is a very line between faith and insanity anyway...). Ultimately this book kind of made me sad. It seemed that throughout history, Christian women were concerned with the disenfranchised, the poor, the needy, the marginalized of society, and I feel that somewhere along the lines (especially in America) Christianity became the thing DOING The marginalizing. It's the very reason why I not only do not attend any kind of church, but that I rarely admit out loud to any but my very closest friends and family any kind of faith or belief. The entries that I found most interesting, were those women that I had never heard of: Antoinette Brown Blackwell, Simone Weil & Josephine Butler. But as always I am particularly drawn to stories of women who go against the status quo to do what they think is right.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Katherine Wacker

    In her book, 50 Women Every Christian Should Know, Michelle DeRusha writes brief biographies of women who impacted their societies and cultures. Each profile is five to seven pages long and summarizes these significant women who lived from the Middle Ages to the present day. Highlighting each woman’s life and beliefs within their historical contexts, 50 Women is not a critique of their various theological viewpoints. It is, however, helpful in educating the reader about the lives of influential In her book, 50 Women Every Christian Should Know, Michelle DeRusha writes brief biographies of women who impacted their societies and cultures. Each profile is five to seven pages long and summarizes these significant women who lived from the Middle Ages to the present day. Highlighting each woman’s life and beliefs within their historical contexts, 50 Women is not a critique of their various theological viewpoints. It is, however, helpful in educating the reader about the lives of influential women who may have been overlooked. 50 Women Every Christian Should Know is useful in filling gaps in Christian history. The biographical and historical information is interesting and informative. The profiles of Katharina Von Bora, Fanny Crosby, Edith Schaeffer, and Flannery O’Conner are especially enjoyable. However, the work lacks depth. Some of the women discussed dabbled in mysticism and entertained theological error. There seems to be an absence of biblical and political discernment throughout. No doubt each woman had an impact on her society, but there is too much ecumenical emphasis. These women deserve to be known, but are not on equal theological footing. Not without historical value, 50 Women should be read with caution in mind. I was given a free copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Julie Raymond

    Michelle DeRusha has written an informative book. I particularly appreciated some of the biographies stretching back in history, despite the difficulty of researching reliable and detailed information. Michelle's introductory and concluding paragraphs gave an insight into her thoughts on the contribution of each woman. Interestingly, I happened to be reading Geoffrey Blainey's 'A Short History of Christianity' at the same time so it was great to hear about the contributions of women when so much Michelle DeRusha has written an informative book. I particularly appreciated some of the biographies stretching back in history, despite the difficulty of researching reliable and detailed information. Michelle's introductory and concluding paragraphs gave an insight into her thoughts on the contribution of each woman. Interestingly, I happened to be reading Geoffrey Blainey's 'A Short History of Christianity' at the same time so it was great to hear about the contributions of women when so much of Christian (and indeed secular) history is about men.I was impressed by the great variety of expressions of faith, reminding us there is no one formula to having a personal faith and indeed the expression of it. The book is also a great 'taster' and I hope to read some detailed biographies of some of the women mentioned that I hadn't heard of before.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    A great overview of the lives of Christian women and their contributions to the world over the years. As one who has read a TON of biographies of Christian women since childhood, I was happy to discover many "new to me" women in this book. Each chapter is about three pages long and is a brief look into the woman's life, struggles, and legacy. I love that she covers Catholics, Protestants, and those who would not fall into either category. I discovered the lives of many women I've heard of--and e A great overview of the lives of Christian women and their contributions to the world over the years. As one who has read a TON of biographies of Christian women since childhood, I was happy to discover many "new to me" women in this book. Each chapter is about three pages long and is a brief look into the woman's life, struggles, and legacy. I love that she covers Catholics, Protestants, and those who would not fall into either category. I discovered the lives of many women I've heard of--and even seen paintings of--but did no know their stories, like Catherine of Siena and Teresa of Avila. And I've been inspired to read more detailed biographies on Dorothy Sayers and Flannery O'Connor.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    If you want to be inspired ...please read this book. This women are extraordinary women, way ahead of their time. With love in their hearts, devotion to Christ and compassion for humanity, they dedicated their lives to do good and sacrificed their comfort and self interests to improve others lives. And because of them we women have opportunities that we do now. I am grateful for their courage, strength, commitment to make life better for all. God rest their souls.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Susan Stilwell

    In 50 Women Every Christian Should Know, author Michelle DeRusha introduces us to ordinary women who influenced generations with their extraordinary faith and determination. Michelle tells each woman’s story, sharing her struggles and doubts, and then draws insight from each woman that inspires us to press on in our own journeys of faith. Engaging, informative and delightful to read, 50 Women is a must-have for every resource library.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Katie M. Reid

    DeRusha includes accounts of women I had never heard of, as well as a handful of familiar faces. With the sharing of each women's story the reader gleans valuable treasures to take with her on her own faith journey. The common thread throughout this book is the commitment and conviction of these 50 women to stay the course set before them.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Beverly Locker

    Heroines of Faith Good mini-biographies revealing the lives of 50 women who made a difference to society. Many I knew about; some I did not. Each of them lived out their faith and were dedicated to serving the Lord.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Maddie

    It was a very fascinating read and I loved learning about amazing christian women throughout history who normally are overshadowed by christian men. However, it got kind of repetitive towards the end. I recommend reading it but I wouldn't read it more than once.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Anastasia Kinderman

    This is an amazing book I will be referring to in the future.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gabbydear

    I am about five people in and it’s UNINSPIRING, exactly the opposite of what I was looking for. The author comes across as trying to be overly factual, but instead slips into sounding insincere and hollow. It so leaves out the “soul” of these women that it’s hard to relate to them. And I was thinking what many ppl who got this book thought: extradinary women of faith to inspire faith, but at least the ones I’ve read seem lto confuse “following God/having a call from Him on their life” (whether t I am about five people in and it’s UNINSPIRING, exactly the opposite of what I was looking for. The author comes across as trying to be overly factual, but instead slips into sounding insincere and hollow. It so leaves out the “soul” of these women that it’s hard to relate to them. And I was thinking what many ppl who got this book thought: extradinary women of faith to inspire faith, but at least the ones I’ve read seem lto confuse “following God/having a call from Him on their life” (whether that is true of them or not) to “serving the medieval Catholic Church, marrying for convenience, or harming themselves or wishing harm on themselves” and calling it God. It’s so sad. That’s not a biblical understanding of God or marriage or serving Him from what I can see from scripture. But if the list was pared down to 25 maybe and go more in depth of how they actually were following God, cool, but so far I almost feel like this book is liberal and trying to get me to think following God is something other than what I see in the Bible. The writing needs more empathy. For instance, one woman pretty much starved herself to death. Just stating the fact and moving on to how this woman’s life is inspiring is jarring. With empathy and understanding of the Church and culture functioned, perhaps the reader would have a better way to connect with these stories as it leaves blanks to fill in as to why Christians should know them, which seems antithetical to the point of the book. I’m not sure I’ll finish it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    Audio. 3.5 rounded up. I would like to know more about how these women were chosen. I think I mostly agree that they’re women very Christian should know (even as some of them would not or would only hesitantly identify with Christianity themselves). It made me curious who made the early list but not the top 50. After a while it became a little predictable: despite ________ she ______ (or in the vernacular, “nevertheless she persisted.” And while that often gives us applicat Audio. 3.5 rounded up. I would like to know more about how these women were chosen. I think I mostly agree that they’re women very Christian should know (even as some of them would not or would only hesitantly identify with Christianity themselves). It made me curious who made the early list but not the top 50. After a while it became a little predictable: despite ________ she ______ (or in the vernacular, “nevertheless she persisted.” And while that often gives us application for how we can also change the world in our own way, sometimes that felt like a stretch. There are women who made choices that should not or cannot be wisely emulated (let’s not exalt anorexia even if it was to prove a point). And in some cases we don’t know much (ex: we don’t have Katherina von Bora Luther’s letters, but we have Martin’s; I-forgot-who stopped writing after a traumatic event late in life, so the assumption is blatantly made that she lived to the end for God). While I can learn something from everyone, using broad strokes and making assumptions about portions of these women’s lives feels overly simplistic and irresponsible if we’re going to call these women heroes and say they lived lives worth emulating. Overall, though, I enjoyed the succinct synopses of the lives of a lot of women who changed their worlds despite the circumstances they were handed. There are some pretty inspiring women in the book. The audio was good, though occasionally pronunciations were distracting (Anne Judson’s husband uh-DON-I-ram? I always thought it was ad-o-NI-ram...)

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lynne

    In spite of the unfortunately preachy nature of the title, this is a very interesting collection of women who stood out among their peers for a wide variety of reasons. The list spans several centuries, and ranges from medieval Catholic mystics to Protestant reformers and beyond. The women include social activists, abolitionists, suffragettes, philosophers, writers, educators, doctors and nurses, and musicians as well as wives, mothers and single women. Whether they were making a huge pioneering In spite of the unfortunately preachy nature of the title, this is a very interesting collection of women who stood out among their peers for a wide variety of reasons. The list spans several centuries, and ranges from medieval Catholic mystics to Protestant reformers and beyond. The women include social activists, abolitionists, suffragettes, philosophers, writers, educators, doctors and nurses, and musicians as well as wives, mothers and single women. Whether they were making a huge pioneering mark on the world stage, or, like Therese of Lisieux, doing small things with great love, they each had a strong sense of purpose which drove their life's direction. Some of their ideologies may not sit comfortably within the modern ethos, but they were products of their time and acted with integrity according to the knowledge they had. Some were well known to me, others much less so. The biographies are necessarily brief, but from what I already knew, covered the salient points. Nor was there any attempt to whitewash the women; they're presented here warts and all. The author has an engaging style which brought each character vividly to life for me, but I could have done without the periodic moralising comments, along with the sermon at the end. The stories speak for themselves, the reader should be left to make up their own mind as to how they respond.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Given the title and the scope of the book, it was not surprising that each of the fifty women were given a brief overview of information, less than what you would find on a typical Wikipedia page. Several of the earlier women included left me puzzled. Some seemed less trailblazing women called by God and more women suffering from undiagnosed mental illness and the societal pressures of how women were supposed to behave, marry and raise children. The author did not shy away from noting the faults Given the title and the scope of the book, it was not surprising that each of the fifty women were given a brief overview of information, less than what you would find on a typical Wikipedia page. Several of the earlier women included left me puzzled. Some seemed less trailblazing women called by God and more women suffering from undiagnosed mental illness and the societal pressures of how women were supposed to behave, marry and raise children. The author did not shy away from noting the faults of several of the included women, including the abandonment of their children, their financial ruin, demanding husbands, crisis of faith, or the scandals that plagued them. It seems a balanced account. And yet some of the stories, even in brief, are awe inspiring and make you yearn to learn more. This could be a start of a deeper look into one of the lives of these women if one kindled your interest and you went on to read a full biography after.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    Filled with faithful women's life stories! This book was inspiring to me! The author gives the most important details about each woman. I learned so much history. And I learned about Christian women I never knew about. So much of what women did has been ignored by church history and world history, so to have this book in my hands is such an honor. These women's lives are given the attention they deserve, and I am blessed to have learned about their trials, perseverance, faith, doubts, Filled with faithful women's life stories! This book was inspiring to me! The author gives the most important details about each woman. I learned so much history. And I learned about Christian women I never knew about. So much of what women did has been ignored by church history and world history, so to have this book in my hands is such an honor. These women's lives are given the attention they deserve, and I am blessed to have learned about their trials, perseverance, faith, doubts, and accomplishments. Many of these women selflessly helped the poor. I applaud these women! And I say thank you to the author, Michelle DeRusha for doing the research needed to write this book. She made these women real to me. I did not want to stop reading!

  26. 5 out of 5

    James Frederick

    This gets 5 stars just because I love the concept and because I learned so much about women I had never heard of, before. I knew only about 20% of the women listed, here. Was the book perfect? No. There were things I would have liked to know more about. Each woman listed only get a few pages of text. For some, that may be most of what is known. Some of the women discussed lived more than 900 years ago. There were other details I could nitpick about, but I refuse to do so. This book was a very wo This gets 5 stars just because I love the concept and because I learned so much about women I had never heard of, before. I knew only about 20% of the women listed, here. Was the book perfect? No. There were things I would have liked to know more about. Each woman listed only get a few pages of text. For some, that may be most of what is known. Some of the women discussed lived more than 900 years ago. There were other details I could nitpick about, but I refuse to do so. This book was a very worthy endeavor and it did what it set out to do. As a Christian, it is very humbling to read about those that have done so much more with their faith than I ever could imagine.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Patricia M Thompson

    I was thrilled over this type of book, it is a historical account of 50 women and their religious contributions. Some of the women I had heard about and a lot I did not know about. Even when I knew of the women I did not know some of the details of their lives. It was a very interesting read. The author did a fabulous job with the information presented. I especially liked the format, a few pages on each woman. It was a great way to learn about the history of the women who devoted their lives to I was thrilled over this type of book, it is a historical account of 50 women and their religious contributions. Some of the women I had heard about and a lot I did not know about. Even when I knew of the women I did not know some of the details of their lives. It was a very interesting read. The author did a fabulous job with the information presented. I especially liked the format, a few pages on each woman. It was a great way to learn about the history of the women who devoted their lives to the Lord.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Of course, someone had to pick the 50 women included in this book and the majority I agree with why they were chosen. They were inspiring and really led a life dedicated to their faith. They were inspiring in their realness. Some, I was left in disbelief that they were included and had to remind myself that it was the author's choice and I didn't have to agree ;) Quite a few of, I had never heard of before and was thankful to be introduced to their legacy.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jo Oehrlein

    One chapter per woman. The women selected are distributed over time, but all are post-Biblical. The chapters follow a standard format. There's an introduction that really is mid-story, then we backtrack to birth/childhood and proceed forward through time. We close with some sort of summary and what this woman's life teaches us. Honestly, the summaries were the weakest part of the chapters. There were women I knew and women I didn't. Some stories inspired me and others not s One chapter per woman. The women selected are distributed over time, but all are post-Biblical. The chapters follow a standard format. There's an introduction that really is mid-story, then we backtrack to birth/childhood and proceed forward through time. We close with some sort of summary and what this woman's life teaches us. Honestly, the summaries were the weakest part of the chapters. There were women I knew and women I didn't. Some stories inspired me and others not so much.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    This is a compilation of a bunch of Christian women from a wide variety of denominations, etc. Some are very interesting, and information I didn't know. Others were more mystical, of differing Christian persuasions. All claim to know and love Christ, but some had visions, others were extremely feminist. I would classify this under feminist, and experiential denominational material. The jury is still out on this one.

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