Author: Rev. Dr. Bonnie Ring
After a lifetime of lay and ordained ministry in New York and California, Bonnie is culminating her career with the publication of Women Who Knew Jesus, the subject of retreats she has led for 20 years. In her poignant descriptions of all the women who encountered Jesus, including his mother, Bonnie brings the wisdom and understanding she has accrued from 40 years as a Licensed Psychologist and more than 20 years as an Episcopal Priest, Spiritual Director and Retreat Leader. Designed so that readers become engaged in the experiences of those women and with Jesus’ response to them, her book parallels her journey of faith in the company of those women during the second half of her life. Each woman is treated individually and sensitively to convey the impact that Jesus had on her. Opportunities exist throughout the book for the reader to add her own reflections and insights. Raised amid the arts and politics of midtown Manhattan, Bonnie Ring became a Christian at 14, when her Dalton High School class visited a Convent and the Priest said that God had been waiting to welcome her home. Her response was immediate and deep. She has devoted her life to living out God’s all-inclusive love through multi-racial and multi-cultural activities, psychotherapeutic care and experiential educational programs for adults that build community and lead to personal growth. Educated at Vassar College and New York University, Bonnie completed Masters and Doctoral degrees in Adult Education from Boston University, with additional graduate study at UCLA in Applied Behavioral Sciences and UCSF in Human Sexuality. She received a Masters of Divinity from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific and taught there as Adjunct Faculty in Pastoral Theology. She has been recognized by Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who Among American Women and Who’s Who in the West. She offers Psychotherapy and Spiritual Direction in Berkeley and Moss Beach, California and leads retreats.
As you come to know each of the women that Jesus knew, you may be surprised to discover how quickly your own stories are evoked by hearing theirs and how similar you are to some of them so they become role models for your own journey of faith and witness. In each of these encounters, you will meet Jesus and come to know him as they did, perhaps for the first time. To enrich your experience, there are questions to ponder and memories of your own to recover. These Bible stories help us see parts of ourselves, both the parts we like and the parts we would prefer to deny, hide or eliminate. As you proceed, two attitudes will be helpful: a willingness to let these biblical women speak with their own voices and an openness to hearing what you may not have heard before. These stories can help us uncover the richness of our own stories and see them for the sacred wonder that they are. First century mores barred women from interacting with men outside their family or marriage; yet, Jesus appears to have been unafraid to approach women, to listen to them, heal them and affirm God's love and acceptance of them. Often without a name, these women had convictions about Jesus and a sense of security with him that surpassed that of his male disciples. Their stories show us that social equality existed among Jesus' male and female followers. Each woman who met him went away from him changed. The existence of so many Biblical stories about women is a sign that the history of God's salvation cannot be told without women's active participation and the life of Jesus cannot be told accurately without the women who encountered him.