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Quaker Women's Mission: Into the Public Sphere

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  1. Quaker Women as Receptacles of God's Word
  2. Spreading the Word: the Sacred Mission
  3. Healing the World: the Secular Mission

Women played a conspicuous role in disseminating the Quaker message. Ecstatic when lost in their sense of oneness with the divine, they spoke and acted when the Lord moved them. They endured many hardships to enlighten people and accomplished the most remarkable deeds trying to help people. Yet, they did not consider their action as miraculous. They merely behaved the way God told them to, being the Lord's instrument on earth. 'The existence of a pure divine light in the heart of every human being' was at the core of the doctrine of the Inner Light. The notion of Inner Light was central to Quaker religious ideology. Yet, this concept was strongly criticised by seventeenth-century contemporaries, like John Milton, who declared that such a religious conviction would inevitably lead to spiritual anarchy. In the Familist tradition, Quakers asserted that Christ was manifesting Himself to every single believer. Moreover, Quakers borrowed and perpetuated the Familist belief that the Spirit was above the Scriptures, therefore uneducated men and women could have access to the Truth. The Inner Light was thus the light of Christ universal, which could be known by anybody of either sex, and this Light helped people find their way to God, as well as to their salvation. Women were as capable as men of receiving the Truth and spreading it throughout the world since God communicated with every soul.

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