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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Four faithful women

Book explores extraordinary lives

What kind of faith inspires certain people so strongly that they accomplish seemingly superhuman feats? Carol Lee Flinders offers some answers in Enduring Lives: Portraits of Women and Faith in Action (Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2006). She considers four women whose lives exhibit extraordinary efforts to plumb the depths of personal faith and then to direct the resulting energy outward.

Three are still living: Jane Goodall, primatologist and environmentalist; Helen Prejean, Roman Catholic nun and anti-death penalty advocate; and Tenzin Palmo, Buddhist nun and spiritual guide for Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. The fourth is Etty Hillesum, a young Jewish woman killed by the Nazis in 1943 who has become known through her journals for her resolve to reject hatred of the Nazis.


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