Home > Culture > Praying with the Women Mystics

Praying with the Women Mystics

The Columba Press
RRP $19.95

In this simple book, Mary Malone reclaims the voices of twenty-six women mystics.

Their writings, which were often birthed from experiences of suffering, offer glimpses into the ways in which Christian women experienced and expressed their faith. Malone invites us to share something of the mystic journey through seventy-five prayer-poems from these women.

Praying with the Women Mystics consists of three parts. The first is an easy to read overview of the riches of women mystics largely unknown within the Christian tradition, and an explanation of the way in which their writing sought to give expression to their awareness of God and God’s love. Malone’s hope is that the recovery of these voices will release new sources of Christian wisdom for the benefit of the wider community.

The second part is a brief biography of each of the women. It was an educational delight to read these simple and informative stories of such women as Perpetua of Carthage (martyred in c.203); Dorothy Day (1897-1980) a mother from Brooklyn, New York; and Macrina (327-379) who influenced the vocational choices of her brothers Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa.

The third and largest part of the book is the prayer-poems of these women. Malone has re-interpreted many of them into contemporary contexts and language in order to make the writing accessible to people of faith today.

The prayer-poems connect with both reflective and active spirituality offering a resource for personal devotion and an invitation to share in another’s experience of the holy.  For those who appreciate the richness of feminine God language this book is a feast for the journey.

Reviewed by Carol Bennett, minister with the Toowong and Bardon congregations