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Jesus seems to have admired women who persevered. I think he learned it from his mother. At Cana, he said, “Woman, my time is not yet come.” You know she gave him The Look—the “I didn’t raise you to be a jerk” look. Then, while he was probably still within earshot, she told the servants to do his bidding.

Sometimes these women asked for healing or justice for themselves, sometimes for others.

Another woman suffered from hemorrhages for years and was considered unclean; Jesus was her last hope. She pushed through the crowds around him just to touch his garment, and was instantly healed. Remember the parable of the unjust judge and the widow who persevered in her quest for justice? She got it, finally. And in Matthew’s gospel, the Canaanite woman persevered in asking Jesus to heal her possessed daughter, even when those around him say, “Send her away—she’s not one of us, and she’s a pest!”

Sometimes these women asked for healing or justice for themselves, sometimes for others. They would have recognized one another as kindred spirit—people with such deep faith, they would not take no for an answer.

Whom do we know like that today? One answer comes readily to mind: women religious. People like Mary McKillop, the first Australian saint, who founded the Josephite Sisters; one bishop excommunicated her, another exiled her, but eventually the church recognized what everyone else had no trouble seeing: her deep faith and commitment to the poor. People like Mother Teresa or Sr. Joan Chittister. People like the four women who spoke up for the poor in El Salvador, and were raped and murdered as a result.

These days, the prophetic voices come more often from women. May they continue to persevere.

Guys, listen up. Your mothers didn’t raise you to be jerks.

MD Ridge
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Art by Martin Erspamer, OSB
from Religious Clip Art for the Liturgical Year (A, B, and C).
This art may be reproduced only by parishes who purchase the collection in book or CD-ROM form. For more information go

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