Today the church remembers a firebrand of a saint who threw off the shackles of patriarchy every chance she got: Saint Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Speaker, Feminist, and Woman’s Rights Advocate.
Saint Elizabeth was born in Johnstown, New York to strict Presbyterian parents in the first part of the 19th Century. Early into adulthood she married abolitionist Henry Brewster Stanton, and together they had seven children. She organized women across the country to fight for the right to vote, coming alongside other advocates like Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, and Amelia Bloomer.
Together they organized the first Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848.
She was extremely witty, a brilliant scholar, and a staunch abolitionist. She created the “Declaration of Sentiments,” an expansion of the Declaration of Independence that inserted the word “woman” and “women” throughout the document. Along with advocating for woman’s suffrage and against slavery, she also moved the needle on the right for women to own property and divorce their husbands.
She was a regular church attender, but a sharp critic of Christianity (and religion in general) which makes me think we would probably have been friends.
She died in 1902, never witnessing the 19th Amendment or realizing the right to vote. Nevertheless, she paved the way for that legislation to happen.
Saint Stanton is a reminder for me, and should be for everyone, that sometimes we don’t see the results we labor for, but we must labor on.
-historical bits from Pfatteicher’s New Book of Festivals & Commemorations
-icon written by Fr. Robert Lentz and can be purchased at trinitystores.com