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Publisher's Summary

Written by a group of friends, Seven Holy Women is a one-of-a-kind journey into the lives of seven women saints. Each section of the book includes a story from one saint’s life told vividly and imaginatively in the second person, additional information about the saint to give her context, a reflection on ways the writer, listener, and saint intersect on their journeys, personal surveys for the listener and a friend to complete, and a journal prompt that encourages the listener to explore and document her encounter with themes from the saint’s life.

Created as both a deeply personal and enriching communal experience, Seven Holy Women speaks directly to the listener, drawing her into the lives of seven saints as it invites her to look more closely and lovingly at her own spiritual journey and her friendship with the cloud of witnesses.

©2020 Ancient Faith Publishing (P)2022 Ancient Faith Publishing

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Beautiful, healing, refreshing.

I thought that reading ‘Seven Holy Women’ was going to be one thing, but it was another thing entirely. I braced myself for practical and historical descriptions of the lives of particular women saints, but instead was greeted with beautiful, poetic interpretations of their struggles and godly lives. The artistic telling of each story made me feel like I was standing in a calm flowing river on a beautiful sunny day - I wrapped myself around their words and felt like I was walking with each of the saints intend of folding laundry and packing boxes. After each story, the authors shared a brief history of their lives, followed by how they find that saint in their own lives. I shed tears as I stood in the chaos of our life that is in great transition, while hearing an author describe her own state of upheaval at her home, and how God was in the midst of that unknown. I was able to see the dragon crouching in the darkened corner of my room as another author described hers vulnerably. I felt encouraged and renewed in my faith through hearing not only the lives of the saints, but also the response to those lives from the authors. It was easy to start and stop between stories, which made it ideal for me as a mother of three young children. I would highly recommend the audio book version of ‘Seven Holy Women’ to Orthodox or Catholic women (we share many of these saints) who want to know more about the lives of lesser known women saints, and who want a relatively quick listen.

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Wonderful for Orthodox Women

Seven Holy Women was a lovely book for me to read. I listened to the Audible version which was about 6 hours long. Each chapter was written by a different Orthodox woman differing in background. All but one of the authors read her chapter aloud in the audiobook. A consistency in writing is important, so each woman reading about the Saint she had written on were easy transitions between chapters.

What I appreciate about this book is that each chapter begins a fictional scenario of each Saint inspired by true events in their lives. Storytelling has always been the way traditions are shared and passed down through all of human history. A story can exaggerate a little for the sake of impressing the intent into memory while the whole truth remains intact. With the mention of each Saints’ name I have implicit memory of her life, her miracles, her martyrdom or repose, and why we commemorate her. St Cassilda, a Spanish Saint, reminds me of roses. St Morwenna reminds me of rocky paths and large stones. St Ia reminds me of a leaf.

Each Holy woman evokes something with which we are all familiar: death of a loved one; a situation we never thought we would be in; feeling left behind; a broken heart. All things that most, if not all, of us have experienced. The brilliance of each life shared is the faithfulness of God, and their courage to remain faithful to Him.

At the end of each chapter is a space for group discussion. Questions related to the life of each Saint are followed by reflection questions for oneself and one’s friend in the group in light of the themes in each Saint’s life. I will be joining together with two women in my parish to go over this book over the next two months and I’m really looking forward to that connection and discussion.

I recommend this book first and foremost for women, especially for a group of women. Men can also read these Saints’ lives, of course, and perhaps adapt the questions for a man; however I am sure there is a male counterpart to this book to be found somewhere (or someone could write it? 😉) The audible version was pleasant for me to listen to as a very busy, working mom.