On days when you need a lift, a few words of encouragement can be a blessing. If you are seeking inspiration, you can turn to Mothers, Sisters, Daughters: Standing on their shoulders by Edwina Gateley and Sandra Mattucci. Gateley offers brief biographies of 22 inspiring women, followed by a poem about each woman’s life work and its reverberations in the world. Each selection is accompanied by a portrait rendered by Mattucci.
The women featured in the book were all chosen because they “brought some light into our world.” The women include the famous, the sainted, and the little known; lives of the 20th-21st century, the middle ages, and biblical times. It is powerful to see the story of U.S.-born Rachel Corrie, who died in 2003 while demonstrating her commitment to peace, alongside the story of Brigid of Kildare, 5th-century Irish religious leader. We read about Miriam, sister of Moses, and then Annalena Tonelli, who lived a life of radical poverty while bringing health services to the poor in Africa. Each woman’s story manifests deep faith and commitment, and carries a strength of purpose. The book can be read through cover to cover, or you can choose one biography at a time from any place in the book.
This volume would provide a helpful focus for a women’s retreat or study group. It gives a starting point for readers who want to learn about women’s contributions in many arenas of social justice and human rights work. Mothers, Sisters, Daughters would make a suitable gift for women who are interested in history, inspirational stories, or poetry. May these women continue to inspire and uplift future generations.
Disclosure: Orbis Books kindly provided a copy of this book for review purposes.