US Catholic Faith in Real Life

This Will Be Remembered of Her

By Kristin Peterson | Print this pagePrint |
This Will Be Remembered of Her
By Megan McKenna (Eerdmans, 2010)

As Jesus was sharing a meal with friends just days before he would be crucified, an unnamed woman anointed his head with expensive perfume. Because of this simple act, Jesus tells his disciples, “Wherever the good news is preached in all the world, this will be remembered of her.”

Megan McKenna uses this statement as the focus of her book, subtitled Stories of Women Reshaping the World. Through folk tales, scripture passages, and stories of real women, McKenna honors the work that women have done throughout the world and throughout history.

The book is separated into different themes, with several sections emphasizing the connections between women and elements of the natural world such as water, trees, and crops. McKenna also shares stories of women who face suffering and death, work with others across divides, bring peace in the world, and advocate for the powerless in society. One chapter examines how women use words to inspire others, highlighting women as seekers of truth and dispensers of wisdom, instead of just as caregivers.

McKenna also identifies the lesser-known role of women as active leaders who push for change, featuring many examples of women who have worked on behalf of the powerless, from well-known figures such Rosa Parks, Dorothy Day, and Joan Baez to Marla Ruzicka, who was killed in 2005 while ministering to civilians in Iraq, and Marguerite Barankitse, who runs a home for war orphans in Burundi.

Rather than provide a litany of female leaders, McKenna combines reflections from scripture with the stories of real women, creating a more complete picture of what it means to be a woman. In doing so she inspires the reader to do her part to work for justice. Many stories about women are left out of the history books and forgotten in church, but McKenna recovers these heroines and the unique contributions they make in the world.

This article appeared in the January 2011 issue of U.S. Catholic (Vol. 76, No.1, pages 42-43).