“50 Women Every Christian Should Know” (not just every woman)

It is not strange, my countrymen, that my voice is small,” Pandita Ramabai began when she had the audience’s full attention, “for you have never given a woman the chance to make her voice strong!”

But Michelle DeRusha makes the voices strong.

I hear them loud and clear in her latest book, 50 Women Every Christian Should Know.

It’s not just a collection of brief biographies, although it is that. It’s also a motivating voice for each of us to speak up now in our own times, like these 50 women did in their times. Each one differently. Often reluctantly. And many times scared. But speak up they did.


It shouldn’t have amazed me, but it did surprise me how far back in time that women were speaking up for their freedom to respond to God in their own ways. The first woman in the book is Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) and even then this radical woman was hearing, “Say and write what you see and hear.”

Now don’t get me wrong; this is not a book about rebels inciting trouble. It truly is a book of marvelous things that women have done throughout history for the love of Christ, some in bold ways, some in quiet ways. Some women I knew (Julian of Norwich, Susanna Wesley, Amy Carmichael); most I didn’t (Anne Askew, Jarena Lee, Josephine Butler).


But the book also sheds light on the backstories of these women. No one grows their faith in a vacuum. The more we understand someone’s story, the more we see God’s hand in their lives. I loved this tidbit about Mother Teresa that Michelle shares:

Mother Teresa remembered her mother’s response to her brother’s question about the strangers who shared their table: “Some of them are our relations, but all of them are our people.”

If I could still dictate what books my children read (which I can’t, alas), I’d put this on their required reading list and expect a book report at the end.

For the rest of us, I can only recommend it as worthy of your time, female and male. Books about women are often perceived as for women, but just as books about men can inform and inspire women readers, so books about women can inform and inspire men readers as well.

As believers, we all want to be more courageous in using our opportunities to love God more and love others better. These heroines encourage us to do just that.


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Michelle offers a FREE study guide here to accompany 50 Women. Michelle is also the author of Spiritual Misfit. [My review here]

Who is one of your heroines of the faith? Please share in the comments.

14 thoughts on ““50 Women Every Christian Should Know” (not just every woman)

  1. Michele Morin

    I just love reading a review for a book that I’ve also reviewed. My biggest take-away from the back stories of all these women is that SO many of them did what they did in a world with NO indoor plumbing, NO modern conveniences or appliances, and, in many cases whatever education they had was won at great personal cost. This was one of my favorites from last year, and I’ve referred back to it several times since I read it. Fun to get your perspective today!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Good to hear you enjoyed this book so much too, Michele. I agree with you that it’s amazing what all these women did in a time when times were so hard as it was. God’s grace lives on through all times!

  2. Cheryl Smith

    I would have to say that my dear Mom was one of my biggest heroines of the faith. She was the biggest, most fervent prayer warrior I have ever known. God called her home 3 years ago, and oh, do I miss her and her prayers! I have wanted to call her SO many times since her passing and ask her to pray for our needs and requests. I am encouraged by the Scripture in Revelation that says, “blessed are the dead who die in the Lord…and their works do follow them”. I am comforted to know that Mom’s faithful, precious prayers are still “following her” and us and God is still answering on our behalf! This looks like a WONDERFUL book. I am so thankful you made it known here, as I hadn’t heard of it yet, and it is definitely one I want to read. I love reading inspiring stories of what other women of God have accomplished down through the years. This is our time now. We have been handed the torch. May God ever find us faithful to say and write and do everything He is calling us to! Thanks for the post, Lisa, and God bless your book, Michelle!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Wow—I love reading this about your mom, Cheryl. What an awesome woman of God. And I love your hope that she continues to intercede on your behalf. God is so good to us. It sounds like your mom planted many wonderful seeds into your own life and ministries. If you do read the book, let me know what you think! I think you’d enjoy it as much as I did.

  3. Barbara H.

    I just scanned through the list of women in the table of contents – many of the names I am familiar with, many I am not. This is one I’ll have to consider for the future. I’d have a quibble with a name or two in the list, but then any 50 authors would probably have not quite the same lineup.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m guessing you’d probably be familiar with more of these women than most of us would because of your knowledge of biographies. Actually you could write a book like this yourself! It’s always interesting to me to learn more true stories of women (and men) of faith; I should read more biographies myself. 🙂

  4. Jenni DeWItt

    I agree, absolutely love this book! I picked it up expecting to be educated and instead I found myself connecting with each of these women. Michelle just brings them to life for us!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      That’s how I feel too, Jenni! I thought it would be more textbook, and although it is heavy with facts, Michelle made them interesting facts that felt more like storybook than textbook (except true!).

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