Denison University presents "No Silent Witness: The Eliot Parsonage Women and Their Liberal Religious World" by Cynthia Grant Tucker.
Shifting the center of gravity from pulpits to parsonages, and from confident sermons to whispered doubts, this family narrative humanizes the Eliot saints, demystifies their liberal religion, and lifts up the largely unsung female vocation of practical ministry.
Spanning 150 years from the early 19th century forward, the narrative probes the women’s defining experiences: the deaths of numerous children, the anguish of infertility, persistent financial worries, and the juggling of the often competing demands that parishes make on first ladies.
Here, too, we see the matriarch’s granddaughters scripting larger lives as they skirt traditional marriage and women’s usual roles in the church. They follow their hearts into same-sex unions and blaze new trails as they carve out careers in public health service and preschool education.
These stories are linked by the women’s continuing battles to speak and make themselves heard over the thundering clerical wisdom that contradicts their reality. A wealth of photographs, genealogical charts, and a family roster deepen the reader’s engagement with this ambitious biography.