Michèle Sigg’s “Birthing Revival” Released
In Birthing Revival, Michèle Sigg sheds light on the seminal role French Protestant women played in launching and sustaining this movement of revival and mission during a period of intense missionary activity in Europe and North America. Out of the concerted efforts of these women arose a holistic mission strategy encompassing the home front and the foreign field. Parisian women, led by Émilie Mallet, established schools to provide infants with food, safety, and religious education. Mallet and her friend Albertine de Broglie led the women’s auxiliary of the Paris Bible Society to design and carry out a strategy for large-scale Bible distribution and fundraising. In 1825 de Broglie pioneered the women’s committee of the Paris Evangelical Mission Society, which used the Bible Society model to promote international missions across their many networks. In meetings, publications, and reports to the annual General Assembly, the women reflected on their calling in the work of mission and fully embraced their identity as “true missionaries.”
The success of women teachers and their presence as wives and mothers in the Lesotho Mission—exemplified by pioneering missionary wife Elizabeth Lyndall Rolland—proved that married couples serving together as models of Christian living were essential in opening the doors to missionary work in Africa. The story, and these women’s legacies, do not end in the field, however. Sigg demonstrates how the educational work of the missionary wives and their publications that shared the good news of growing faith in Lesotho sparked local revivals in France. When the enthusiasm of the Réveil waned in the metropole and divisions mounted among Protestants, a movement of deaconesses emerged to renew the faith of French Protestants.