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Reviewed by Astrid Iustulin for Readers' Favorite
In her honest and touching memoir, Lady Father, Rev. Susan B. Bowman recalls difficulties and prejudices she had to overcome before being ordained. She was the first woman to become a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia. Her account is an inspiration for all those persons, and especially women, who need the motivation to do something unusual but legitimate. Rev. Bowman’s story begins in the 1970s. She remembers her experiences with prelates, including the bishop who gave her the chance to follow her path, and later with her parishioners, who did not always trust her. As she points out, the ordination process is now different, but the debate about whether women should be ordained as priests is still an important topic of discussion.
Lady Father is a book that offers many reasons to reflect and, at the same time, it is an engaging read. As the debate on ordination is still a delicate topic, Rev. Bowman’s remarks are praiseworthy both for their insight and grace. There were many ways in which she could tell her story, but she chose the gentlest. She also knows how to present her experiences without being dull. Rev. Bowman’s courage and determination are evident from these pages as much as the personalities of the people she met on her journey. One thing I like is that Rev. Bowman does not focus only on unhappy events and difficulties, but she also recalls some moments of relief. In this way, the reading becomes easier and more realistic. No one’s life is only black and white and, acknowledging this, Rev. Bowman gives a sincere account. I am sure that everyone can learn something valuable from Lady Father.