An Anna Story

Feeling called to ordained ministry, Anna cut short her undergraduate studies at Albion College to go directly to Boston University School of Theology. While male seminarians roomed and boarded free, she had to make her own way, living off campus and working to pay for meals. She was more than once on the brink of starvation, living on nothing more than milk and crackers. Exhausted and weak from malnutrition Anna would often rest on the stairway, to catch her breath and garner strength before resuming her climb to classes. Today in the second floor stairwell of the School of Theology there is a window in memory of Anna, as you pass by you might pause and remember the days when Anna too paused on other stairwells, as she persevered for her faith and call.

“My class at theological school was composed of 42 men and my unworthy self, and before I had been a member of it an hour I realized that women theologians paid heavily for the privilege of being women. Throughout my entire course at Boston University I rarely entered the classroom without the abysmal conviction that I was really not wanted there.


On one occasion in class I came across the lesson where on the mountain top after Pentecost when the people declared the Christians were drunk and Peter defended them saying, ‘These are not drunken; this is the fulfillment of your own Scriptures of your own prophet, who said, ‘In the last days I shall pour out my Spirit upon all flesh and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy’” And I innocently said to the professor, ‘What does prophesy mean?’ ‘Well, he said, it depends on where it is used. In the New Testament such as this it is used wholly in the sense of preaching. When the word ‘prophesy’ is used in the New Testament it means that they shall preach’ ‘Oh’, I said, ‘then women did preach, did they not, at the time of Pentecost?’ He was bitterly opposed to women preaching and didn’t want me there. He said, ‘No, oh no, the women talked to each other.’ I said, ‘Yes, and what did the men do? Talk to each other?’ He said, ‘Oh no they preached.’ And I said, ‘But the two are connected by a conjunction, ‘men and women’ and when women talk they talk and when men talk they preach; is that the way it was?’ He said, ‘We will resume.’”