During a visit to Professor of History Emeritus Emma Lapsansky-Werner’s “History and Principles of Quakerism” class this week, Friend in Residence Marcelle Martin talked about what she sees as her ministry, helping people “pay attention to spiritual experiences they have had and might have pushed aside, and helping them to be open to more of those experiences.”
Martin, a writer and scholar who is completing a book about the Quaker spiritual journey and writes the blog A Whole Heart, also told some intriguing stories about early Friends, particularly the valiant women who pushed the boundaries of the time to live their faith. Among these was the intrepid itinerant preacher Mary Fisher, who was imprisoned many times both in England and the North American Colonies, and who set sail for the Ottoman Empire in 1658 to bring the Quaker message directly to the Sultan.
These Quaker women inspire her, and drive her research, Martin told the class: “What was it about their spiritual experiences that made them so powerful and courageous, and helped them to make an impact on their society?”
Martin offered more stories from Quaker history today during a talk in the Quaker Collection at Magill Library titled “Leadership from Within: Learning from Early Friends.” This is one of a number of events tied to this year’s Friend in Residence program, first launched in 2011, which brings a prominent Quaker to campus for an extended stay.
During her time here, which coincided with Religion and Spiritual Life Week on campus, Martin also visited Professor Darin Hayton’s class, “Geographies of Witchcraft and the Occult in Early Modern Europe, ” and facilitated an improvisational movement workshop.