Warning: If you have a visual impairment, use the manuscript transcript version including the Lucy Maud Montgomery’s foot notes and contextual annotation references.

Chapter 31 - (VERSO)

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thrilling to preach splendid sermons and stir your hearer’s [sic] hearts. Why can’t women be ministers, Marilla? I asked Mrs. Lynde that and she was shocked and said it would be a scandalous thing. She said there might be female ministers in the states and she believed there was but thank goodness we hadn’t go[t] to that stage yet in Canada yet and she hoped we never would. But I don’t see why. I think women would make splendid minsters. When there is a social to be got up or a church tea or anything else to raise money the women have to turn in and do the work. I’m sure Mrs. Lynde can pray every bit as well as Superintendent Bell and I’ve no doubt she could preach too with a little practice.”

“Yes. I believe she could,” said Marilla drily. “She does plenty of unofficial preaching as it is. Nobody has much


sepia photo of a woman with white hair and a dark dress posed in a photo studio

"Why can’t women be ministers, Marilla?": Mrs. Lynde would have been horrified to know that in the United States, in 1880, Anna Howard Shaw (already a medical doctor; pictured here) was ordained by the Methodist Protestant Church.

The Annotated Anne cites the ordination of Antoinette Louisa Brown, in 1853 in the Congregational Church, as the first North American female ordination (p. 328, n. 3). It was not until 1936 that Lydia Emelie Gruchy was ordained as the first woman minister of the United Church of Canada. Even the United Church did not allow married women to be ministers until the 1950s. In many states in the US, in many provinces in Canada, and in countries around the world, the ordination of women for Protestant ministries is still controversial. One interesting argument for the ordination of women is that Mary Magdalen was the first woman minister; as witness of the crucifixion and resurrection, she was the one who brought the first "good news" about Jesus to the (other) disciples.


"women have to turn in and do the work": Was Montgomery making a laughing reference to her own story, published originally in Western Christian Advocate on September 16, 1903, 14–15? "The Strike at Putney Church" shows what happens when the women of the church refuse to do the usual work expected of them after they have been told by the church elders that a famous visiting woman missionary will not be allowed to speak from the church pulpit since she is a woman. It was republished in National Magazine (May 1909) and in Westminster (May 1914), in her lifetime. The short story was made into a successful play in 1990 by Eliza Jane Wilson, was performed on the Confederation Centre of the Arts main stage, and appears frequently in amateur theatrical productions.