Women's History Month: On Clara and Clergy Robes

by Nell

The truth is that we know only a very minuscule number of women’s names who have made history. There are certain women throughout my growing up years with whom I was fascinated. Marie Curie, Clara Barton, Florence Nightingale, Martha Washington, Mary Todd Lincoln, Jacquelyn Kennedy Onassis were but a few of the women that I would read about every chance I could. But who instilled greatness into these women? Who nurtured them and taught them they had the capacity to change history? Who influenced their education, their self-worth, their determination? Women have been making history throughout time. Their names are not known. We do not mark their birthdays on the calendar and Google does not have a home page dedicated to them when their week of honor rolls around. Yet without them where would the great women-and men-of-history be?

I think of my friend Alyce. For years she dedicated herself to teaching cross cultural workers language and cultural sensitivity in Africa. I think of Atia who uses her embroidery skills to make a way for her family here in America with the desire that her children become doctors and engineers. I think of Annick who cared for the children of people in language school, my daughter being one. Without her loving dedication we would not have had the freedom to study. I think of Nadia, who sacrificed everything to get her sister out of their war-torn country to safety refusing to marry or care for herself until her sister was settled. I think of Lydia who dedicated herself to supporting the work and lives of a family she adopted. That family was my family.

I think of my grandmother. I am her namesake. She is actually mentioned in a history book about her hometown of Eunice, LA. The very first graduate of her school, she was the teacher who opened up history for the students at Eunice High School for decades. Who told her to go and get her education when it was unheard of for a woman? Who told her she could teach and influence generations of students who loved her? When her house was taken down, an article in the town paper lamented the passing of this symbol of incredible contribution to her community. But none of you have heard of Clara Gray, I would imagine.

Countless women have contributed to history by their love, diligence, dedication, intelligence, creativity, and spiritual depth. The majority of them had to work for any place or influence they had. They persevered so that our opportunities to influence history would be greater. This month at The Off Ramp and Threads by Nomad we celebrate the women who have contributed to making our society what it is today—and because of who we are and what we do, we want to specifically celebrate women clergy.

We want to say thank you to and celebrate the women who are stepping into their paths as leaders within the church, where they are often still unrecognized and unappreciated—we see you and we are grateful for you. We are doing this by offering a free blue and white mud cloth clergy stole with every custom clergy robe order while supplies last. If a woman in your life is a clergy person, consider getting a group of friends to go in together to offer her a custom clergy robe that will empower her as a woman in her role. (Most robes are made for men and women have to wear them.) Perhaps your church would like to sponsor this for a woman in its leadership? Or maybe a friend of yours is getting ordained and you want to support her in a special way? If you order a custom clergy robe during the month of March—Women's History Month—we will add a beautiful and one-of-a-kind stole when it gets delivered.

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