The men called “Fathers of the Church” were teachers who guarded the faith taught by the apostles. But were there also early Mothers of the Church?

Agnes, Perpetua, Felicity, Macrina and Monica are among the many women honored today by the church as saints. Their lives, documented by the Church Fathers, proved influential in the first centuries of the church’s development.

Christianity took a revolutionary approach to the treatment of women, and St. Paul frequently preached to women, showing his respect for all who were “one in Christ Jesus.”

See our package of stories on this topic:

Women helped nurture young church under persecution

Women flexed intellectual, spiritual power in the early church

A survey of women of the New Testament