When the teachings of Christ were implicitly followed, the lives of females improved dramatically…From the earliest times, Christianity sought to free women from demeaning pagan practices and unjust constraints. This was especially notable at a time when Imperial Rome was busy restoring old ancestral codes that rewarded citizens for marrying and bearing at least three children and sanctioned those couples who did not meet their reproductive quota…Spartan women enjoyed slightly more status and were given the opportunity to control property when men were at war. Rarely seen in public, Athenian women held very low status and married young. Greek girls received little or no education, and all women, regardless of age, were legally classified as children.

Against the social norm, women often accompanied Christ in His travels throughout His ministry…Jesus Christ broke with Jewish tradition by speaking to women in public and eating meals with them. He even allowed a woman with a gynecological disorder to be healed by touching the gem of his garment at a time when…women with discharges from menstruation or childbirth were considered symbolically “unclean”…

Christ’s vision of womanhood was certainly far different from the widely held Aristotelian conception of women as incomplete or “mutilated” men. Female Christians made a meaningful contribution to the ministry of the early Church by supporting Jesus, witnessing and testifying to the resurrection, carrying out mission work, prophesying, and ministering to other women.

Elizabeth Kuhns, The Habit: A History of the Clothing of Catholic Nuns


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