There are far too few women saints honoured in the calendars of the churches. In a modern (!) calendar of saints and holy ones of the Church of England 80% of those honoured are men. (Click here for more on this)
For the next few days we are honouring a woman saint of the day and finding out about her and how her example inspires and encourages us today.
We begin with Honorata a fifth century saint. (Saint’s day January 11th) She dedicated her life to prayer and good works in a turbulent time in her land – modern day north Italy. During one raid by a Germanic chieftain Honorata was kidnapped and unjustly held captive. Her brother, St Epiphanius, arranged for a large ransom to be paid and Honorata was finally released. She spent the rest of her life quietly as a nun.
It is perhaps telling of how much of church history is written that far more is recorded of her brother’s life, than of Honorata’s.
Honorata’s life is reminder of the great number of women who today are unjustly held captive and who seek freedom from tyranny. Like Honorata many women are prisoners without ever having committed a crime. Amnesty International gives an example. Teodora suffered a stillbirth in 2007 in El Salvador. She was later sentenced to 30 years for ‘aggravated homicide’ under El Salvador’s total ban on abortions in a trial which was marred by irregularities. Eventually, after serving nine years, and after intense pressure from human rights bodies Teodora was released.
TODAY as we remember St Honorata:
- Pray for women like Honorata and Teodora who are unjustly imprisoned.
- Suggested action: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is a British-Iranian woman imprisoned in Iran. She’s serving a five-year prison sentence but she hasn’t committed any crime. Amnesty International seek help to get her home. Click here to read more