For readers looking for faith and guidance, women from nonsecular history can provide spiritual blueprints, as seen in a host of new books.

“It can be easy to think that the women in the Bible were living in a totally different world than we are,” says Allison Regina Gliot, acquisitions editor at Catholic press Pauline Media. “But some things never change and so many of the challenges they faced are relevant to our day and age.”

Coming from Pauline in August, Real Life with Mary: Growing in Virtue to Magnify the Lord by Kelsey Gillespy examines the virtues of Mary, including her life as a Catholic woman, wife, and mother. Gillespy posits that women can practice Christian discipleship through everyday activities such as folding laundry and parenting.

“How can someone say yes to Jesus and live in a way that reflects him,” Gillepsy writes in the book. “What does it look like to be a holy woman? A holy wife? A holy mother? How can someone’s life magnify Christ? Mary. She lived the answers.”

The Secret Life of Mother Mary: Divine Feminine Power for Personal Healing and Planetary Awakening by Marguerite Mary Rigoglioso (Findhorn, July) looks at lesser-known aspects of Mary’s life, such as her role as a leader in the early Christian community, and contends that a relationship with Mary can lead to healing and empowerment.

In Your Name Is Daughter: What the Unsung Women of the Bible Teach Us About Our Worth (Bethany, Feb. 2025), podcaster Amy Seiffert examines unnamed women in both the Old and New Testaments. Categorizing the women into groups including “The Unloved,” “The Prophets,” “The Marginalized,” and “The Grandmas,” Seiffert aims, according to the publisher, to “show women how they are an essential part in bearing God’s image to the world.”

Shifting away from the Bible, Shannon K. Evans, spirituality and culture editor at the National Catholic Reporter, explores the lives of saints in The Mystics Would Like a Word: Six Women Who Met God and Found a Spirituality for Today (Convergent, Sept.). Detailing the experiences of Teresa of Ávila, Margery Kempe, Hildegard of Bingen, Julian of Norwich, Catherine of Siena, and Thérèse of Lisieux, Evans makes a case for what the publisher calls a “more inclusive, surprising, and empowering faith.”

Evans addresses “whether the Christian tradition can fully embrace and empower women; questions about desire, sexuality, and embodiment; questions about identity and what it means to be a woman,” Matthew Burdette, an editor at Convergent says. “Crucially, her book suggests that though the church as an institution has historically let women down, it is also one with resources for a vibrant future of female spirituality.”

Looking ahead, religion publishers expect more titles that explore the lives and lessons of biblical women and other prominent Christian females. “These amazing women still have plenty to teach us and I believe readers are intuiting that and drawing strength from their powerful examples,” says Gliot, who notes the prevalence of questions about what it means to be a woman of faith and what true womanhood looks like. “As long as those questions are being asked,” she says, “I think the interest in learning from the women of the Bible will continue.”

Bethany’s Lee agrees. “There’s a growing recognition of overlooked female leaders in Christian history and biblical figures whose contributions have been marginalized or ignored,” she says. “These books elevate their voices, while also recognizing how God’s image is reflected most fully when it includes women.”

Return to main feature.