Single Women: Affirming Our Spiritual Journeys

Single Women: Affirming Our Spiritual Journeys

Single Women: Affirming Our Spiritual Journeys

Single Women: Affirming Our Spiritual Journeys

Synopsis

The twenty-two contributors to this volume find a common bond in their diversity, based on their desire to explore ways that single women can live more fully in a society that places such great emphasis on marriage and narrowly defines family as spouse and children. The contributors, ranging in age from 20 to 70, represent numerous vocations and spiritual traditions. Issues of prejudice, poverty, low self-esteem, fear, loneliness, and rage surface as single women tell their stories. Working through difficulties, many found great fulfillment in aloneness and reached significant literary and professional achievements based on strengths gained from successfully overcoming feelings of worthlessness. More than a few women found great sources of strength in deep personal and religious convictions.

Excerpt

This volume of essays is a welcome addition to a growing body of literature by women speaking in their own voices and recording different aspects of women's experience. While these writers all demonstrate the common theme that single women remain the most undervalued persons in any culture, by telling their stories they demonstrate not only the tremendous diversity of their experiences of oppression but also the diversity of positive identity as single women. They are finding their real authenticity and rootedness within themselves rather than searching outside themselves for approval and authority, either in a male partner or in the many social and religious institutions of society.

Every type of "single" is represented here: women who chose marriage and then found themselves single because of divorce or widowhood; women who chose the cloister and celibate lives only to be cast out because they did not fit the stereotype of submission to authority; women who remained single by default (no Prince Charming arrived to break the spell of singleness); and women who actually chose being single as their vocation.

The common thread in this diversity of experience is the idea that singleness must be avoided because it is synonymous with loneliness. But as the stories unfold, it becomes clear that loneliness is not limited to being single or to being alone. Many discovered that as they worked through the initial stages of being single, they were far less lonely than when they were isolated in abusive marriages or relationships. The realization that partnerships, marriages, or covenants within religious orders are merely social constructs designed by patriarchal religions as a means of oppressing women becomes the basis of liberation for these women. Some had to seek solitude in order to find themselves; others discovered talents they never . . .

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