Her name was Elizabeth Pilenko. She was called Liza. When she married she became Elizabeth Kuzmina-Karavaeva. She divorced and married again becoming Elizabeth Skobtsova. However, when her second marriage was annulled she became a nun and took a new first name – Maria. From here on she was simply known as Mother Maria. Today we recognize this smoking, drinking, divorced, mother of three by two different men, as Saint Maria of Paris.
You and I can relate to this kinda Saint. She led a messy, normal life on her way to living out her extraordinary Greek Orthodox faith in God. You see, Maria believed as a Greek Orthodox imitator of Christ, that she should stand up for her Jewish brothers and sisters during WWII – and so she did. Two weeks prior to the end of Nazi terror in 1945 she was murdered in a concentration camp alongside those she stood to help. Her story is a startling parallel to Bonhoeffer’s and the same author that brought us the stirring biography of his life, now illuminates Maria’s in his recent book titled simply 7 Women.
Check it out. You won’t be disappointed. You and I could benefit from studying history and a deeper understanding of the men and women who’ve come before us and changed the world. In Metaxas’s new book you’ll study Joan of Arc, Susanna Wesley, Hannah More, Saint Maria of Paris, Corrie Ten Boom, Rosa Parks, and Mother Teresa. You will walk away inspired whether man or woman. You will walk away with a better understanding of who you are. You will walk away stirred to move. Good.
Leaders are readers. Read rich history, my friend. Study. Learn. Apply. Rinse and repeat. The more you read, the less you know (with certainty), and the more humbly you walk and lead. We could use a few leaders who understand they do not know it all, who want to widen their perspective, and are willing to stand after weighing the cost. Be ONE.