Women, Sainthood, and Power explores the life stories of an international gallery of female saints from the wide-angle lens of several intellectual disciplines and the close-up view afforded by keenly observed fine points of character. Oliva M. Espín combines multidisciplinary scholarly research with a novelist’s eye for detail to create vivid portraits of saints in their times and places. Using her own memories, Espín argues that there are lessons to learn today from the lives of these exceptional women. This book is recommended for scholars and students of psychology, religious studies, gender and women’s studies, history, cultural studies, and ethnic studies.
In this extensively researched exploration of a selection of Catholic women saints, Espin, (emer., San Diego State Univ. and emer., Alliant International Univ.) considers how these women accepted and deviated from their specific patriarchal cultural contexts. After a chapter describing the Catholic Church's process for canonizing saints, Espin considers Joan of Arc and Catherine of Siena as political subversives. She then discusses how the hagiography of the anorexic ascetics Rose of Lima and Mariana Paredes influenced colonial South America. Following the report on Teresa of Avila and a masterful discussion of Edith Stein as mystics of political resistance, she considers the pain and psychological distress of Therese of Lisieux. Her reflection regarding women proclaimed Doctors of the Church-Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, Therese of Lisieux, and Hildegard of Bingen-clearly recognizes that this honor is a pretense of equality bestowed by an institution that enforces inequality. The author concludes with brief sketches of North American women saints Frances Xavier Cabrini, Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton, Katherine Drexel, and Kateri Tekakwitha, and she identifies Henriette Delille, Mary Elizabeth Lange, Julia Greely, and Thea Bowman as African American women for whom a "cause for canonization" has been opened. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers through graduate students. * CHOICE * Women, Sainthood, and Power: A Feminist Psychology of Cultural Constructions is at once a deeply personal book and a scholarly analysis of a selection of Catholic, female, Catholic saints from the fourteenth to the twentieth century, ranging. The saints range from Catherine of Siena and Joan of Arc to Mariana of Quito, Tekakwitha, and Edith Stein. Oliva Espin uses interdisciplinary lenses of psychology, feminism, religious studies, and her own experience to weaves a fascinating tapestry of these women's stories of faith, resistance, and even defiance. Across six centuries, Espin highlights figures relevant for consideration today. -- Darleen Pryds, Franciscan School of Theology Oliva M. Espin offers readers of Women, Sainthood and Power a window into a group of female saints who have impacted her personal development and spirituality. Their lives are stories of faith, spirituality, and a belief in the power of being a woman. Espin poignantly presents their path to a powerful relationship with the divine. -- Mary Ann Gawelek, Lourdes University