Author: Eric Metaxas
Summary: This book has stories of seven most influential women: Jeanne d’Arc, Susanna Wesley, Hannah More, Saint Maria of Paris, Corrie ten Boom, Rosa Parks and Mother Teresa. For the welfare of society and human beings, these women devoted their lives. Below mentioned is a summary of each of these fascinating women:
Jeanne d’Arc aka Joan of Arc was born in a village in northeastern France. During this time, the English conquered major parts of France. Joan and her family were in the favor of the Dauphin – the crown prince Charles. At the age of 12, Joan began receiving peculiar visitors who were – as Joan believed – the archangel Michael, Saint Catherine, and Saint Margaret. These visitors delivered a very urgent message for her from God. In Joan’s own words, ” Orléans I shall relieve. The Dauphin I shall crown in Rheims. Paris will come back to its true king. The Duke of Orléans, captive in the Tower of London, will return home.” What followed this, is a heroic tale of a brave yet vulnerable lady.
- Susanna Wesley: In the words of a biographer Arnold A. Dallimore, Susanna Wesley had “a theological knowledge superior to that of many ministers of that day.” She was a mother of three sons and seven daughters. She was an extraordinary mother who actively participated in her children’s education. She strongly believed in educating one’s daughters. Supporting this belief of hers, Eric has quoted a piece from Susanne’s letter where she wrote that the parents who did not educate their daughters were “the very reason why so few women can read fit to be heard.” Dissatisfied with the contents of textbooks of that time, she wrote three textbooks to aid her children in learning about the nature of the universe, Apostles’ Creed and teachings of Ten Commandments. With the depth of her knowledge and religious belief, she ensured her children behaved in a pleasing way. She lived a life packed with enormous hardships – poverty, troublesome marriage, sickness – more graciously than most of us fail to live even with luxury.
- Hannah More: Achieving incredible success and enjoying the company of elites, Hannah More is certainly an inspirational woman. She was born in a poor school master’s house. Her parents educated their four daughters at their home. Owing to her dedication and enormous talent, she was sure to find her way to success. At the age of 18, she wrote her first play. With the intention of delivering a social reform lesson, she continued writing several other plays. Due to certain circumstances, she decided to remain unmarried. To abolish the slave trade, she joined John Newton and William Wilberforce and wrote a poem titled “Slavery.” This poem exhibited the real and hidden condition of slaves and brought several people in support of this cause. To help worker class, she started Sunday schools and encouraged the poor to join such schools. Her life is a motivation for millions of people who do not have enough resources at their disposal.
- Saint Maria of Paris: Being a poet, a mayor, and a nun, it is safe to say that she played widely different roles in her life and excelled in each of these roles. She spent her life helping the downtrodden. In an early age, she helped the poor by teaching them and later by establishing homes for struggling souls – addicts, women who had no work, etc. During the Second World War; she helped the Jews of Paris and was arrested due to this reason. Even in prison, she helped fellow prisoners by organizing discussion groups. It is hard to imagine that a woman who married twice, had three kids, smoked, and drank became a nun. Nevertheless, her life-long journey is full of such contradictions.
- Corrie ten Bloom: Reading the biography of this amazing woman, readers are sure to feel utmost respect for Corrie, her father, and her sister, Betsie. When Hitler attacked their country and tormented Jews, admittedly this family put their heart and soul into helping homeless and injured Jews. Consequently, they found themselves in filthy cells. Although these cells were in horrifying conditions, these sisters’ imperishable faith in God never left their side. Forgiving Germans and praying for their souls, these sisters put a practical example of “the need for people to forgive those who had harmed them.” Their larger-than-life story cannot be summarized in a few lines, and therefore, I insist readers read about it in Eric’s book.
- Rosa Parks: Born at the time when prejudice against blacks was at its extreme, this determined lady decided never to let anyone feel her less due to her skin color. Supporting various anti-prejudice causes with tremendous courage, Rosa has marked a prestigious place in the history. Refusing to give up her seat for a white fellow, she started a movement which proved to be a stepping stone in the abolition of biasing prevailed in the society based on the skin color. Hers is a story of unimaginable courage, determination, and strong self-belief.
- Mother Teresa: Believing in the existence of Jesus in every human being, Mother Teresa cared for one and all. She breathed among the poor and devoted her whole life for their welfare. Standing tall against abortion, addiction, and AIDS, she proved to be a mother of the world. She was a lady who loved everyone and believed that the biggest problem on earth was being unloved. To other nuns who helped in her noble work, her only message was to be cheerful at all the times. Being around her was a blessing. Always looking for ways to help others, she educated the poor, taught them a skill which would help them in earning their livelihood and provided the dying a home to depart being surrounded by love. Her life cannot be captured by any number of words, and yet the author has done an extraordinary task in portraying her real and elegant image.
Takeaways from the book: Being surrounded with our worldly obligations, we forget to thank the lord for the gifts he has bestowed upon us, we declare ourselves atheists and always complain about the lack of time in our hectic lives and all our excuses turn into nothing once we read this beautifully written book. Faith in God requires our ultimate devotion and story of these women teach us exactly how to do that. Helping the poor and seeing God in every soul we serve should be the main essence of our lives. Helping the people from other religion, country, and similar categories, these ladies dedicated every bit of their existence towards making others’ world a little more pleasant. I salute these ladies and this author for all they did. With every page I read, I experienced anger, jealousy and hatred vaporizing out of my body.
My opinion of the book: This is a must-read book for every person. Written in the best style and with evident research, it teaches us a superior aim for life. Although I found a few sentences a bit too long for my taste, yet it does not decrease my respect for this book and its writer. After reading this book, I had to sit down and evaluate my ways of life. I believe if all of us could be half as enthusiastic towards helping others as these women were, we shall get rid of the vices prevailing among us. I applaud these ladies and the author of this book once more.