On March 8, 2012, the International Women’s Day was celebrated as way to honor the social, economic and political contributions that women have given our world. A single day? Really? Not a week? A full month? Just a paltry day?
When I think of some of my favorite heroines: Eleanor Roosevelt, Zelda Fitzgerald, Mamie Till-Mobley, Mother Teresa, my own mother, honoring them for one day only seems, I don’t know, discourteous. Customer appreciation sales at Macy’s last longer.
And it isn’t famous (or famously strong) women that deserve our respect or admiration. Revolutionary women are in our homes, in our companies and in our neighborhoods doing revolutionary work with no fanfare or historian following behind charting its social importance.
Jeannie Hanneman, founder of Elizabeth Ministry International (EMI), an outreach movement that offers encouragement, hope and healing on issues related to childbirth, sexuality and relationships, is one of those revolutionary women.
Following the example set by the Virgin Mary and Elizabeth, the goal of EMI is to visit with people dealing with such issues. The organization, which started in 1991 in Appleton, Wis., seeks to lift up the human person: to honor life, children, families and the community as a whole. (For more information on Jeannie’s ministry, click here.)
Visitors to EMI come because they are wrestling with unhealthy sexual behaviors. Married couples come for instruction on Natural Family Planning. There might be a fertility blessing or miscarriage healing ritual occurring in their chapel. Above all, broken people come to be mended and heard.
God bless people like Jeannie, who shed some light on a terraine that would otherwise be too dark to travel. And thank God for the other unrecognized heroines around us who use their wits, their hearts and their moxy to change the world. Cheers to them.
Photo: Danilo Rizzuti