SACRIFICIAL OFFERINGS:  A Dramatic Gathering of Women

 Coralie Cederna Johnson’s Sacrificial Offerings is an honest and inspirational glimpse into one woman’s search for meaning.  Cederna Johnson invites the reader on her personal journey, bringing to life various women throughout history who sought leadership in their religion or simply to practice their religious or spiritual beliefs.  She provides these female figures voice, absent as they are from the pages of most history books.  It is through this dramatic gathering of women, primarily of the Christian tradition, that Cederna Johnson ignites a feminist questioning of the patriarchal religious tradition that has relegated women to the private sphere and left them entirely out of preaching, teaching, and interpretation of religious tenets.

After revealing tales of female religious iconoclasts, pioneers, and martyrs through vignette in the play “Sacrificial Offerings,” in the second half of the book, Cederna Johnson then shares reflections on various religious traditions, revealing her personal questions in the areas of religious faith, spirituality, and spaces for women within both.  She asks ontological and ethical questions and examines the nature of religious authority and the conception of the divine.

The book ends with the heart-breaking story, “Healing the Heart,” which, although inspired by a personal tragedy, Cederna Johnson ends the tale and her text with hope: that which can be found through spiritual faith.

 By Dr. Jennifer L. Martin, The University of Mount Union








 SACRIFICIAL OFFERINGS:  A Revelation and Enlightening Journey

Sacrificial Offerings was a revelation, and an enlightening journey through history featuring strong, independent, and faith driven women. For example there is Bridget Bishop, betrayed by her husband, she is hanged for witchcraft in 1692, Gladys Aylward, who interceded on behalf of the Chinese women and the archaic practice of binding the feet of female children in the 1930 s, or Kateri Tekakwitha who entered a convent to become a nun but even then was not fully allowed to participate in the sisterhood of God because of her Mohawk background. These women defied their families, their faith, even the threat of death to do what they believed was right.

Ms. Johnson introduces these women by giving us their essence in a play of monologues representing these strong characters; she also delves into the different religions and the place of women in each. From the Spiritual Heritage of the Lakota’s to Witchcraft, Santeria, and early Christianity, she discusses the pure beliefs of its followers. And with all religion, it is in the truest form where the beauty exists not the corrupt interpretations of nonbelievers.

I enjoyed the journey that Ms. Johnson took me on, and especially learning of the faith of the women she highlighted. Her discussion on the stigma of original sin and its use to discredit women through history will put you in the discussion. What do you feel about a woman’s subservience to man? Is second place in society all a woman can hope for? Is it truly engrained in history, religion, and society?

Ms. Johnson will have you considering all these questions but the one thing that will make the biggest impact is the strength and perseverance of these women to overcome, transcend, and achieve. And I promise, this book will give pause, but truly inspire any reader, male, and female alike.

I highly recommend Sacrificial Offerings, and so will you.

By Yolanda Renee, Author & Reviewer

 Author Photo Official MD