Carol Flinders reclaims from the dust of history inspiring portraits of St. Clare of Assisi, Mechthild of Magdeburg, Catherine of Siena, Julian of Norwich, Catherine of Genoa, and Teresa of Avila as "midwives of the Spirit." The author, who teaches courses in religious and women's studies at U.C. Berkeley, reveals how these European Catholics used their personal experiences of God to enlighten and enrich the lives of others. Their spiritual practices encourage us to look afresh at inwardness, suffering, grace, forgiveness, prayer, and expression of the deep self.

The author focuses in particular on what these medieval women have to say to contemporary women about finding their own voice and pursuing a path, even if it means going against the customs of the age. Flinders's presentation sparkles with energy and enthusiasm.