Born to Italian parents, amid poverty, in Ohio, Mother Angelica and her siblings were raised by her mother after her father abandoned them. Initially a factory worker, she later became a Poor Clare nun and also founded the Eternal Word Television Network, which streamed Catholic-oriented programs.
Born to Congregationalist parents, Mary Baker Eddy had a difficult life, from losing her brother at 20, being widowed at 22, and then surviving a divorce. Remembered as the pioneer of Christian Science, she propagated faith healing and believed the cause of all illnesses lie in the human mind.
Frances Xavier Cabrini was an Italian-American nun who founded a Catholic religious institute called the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The institute played a major role in supporting Italian immigrants to the US. In 1946, Frances Xavier Cabrini became the first American citizen to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church.
Ann Lee is remembered as the founder of the Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing, also known as the Shakers, for their ritual of shaking during worshipping. Born to a blacksmith in England, she initially worked at a textile mill and later ushered her movement into the U.S.
American mystic and spiritual author J. Z. Knight claims she had channelized a spirit she calls Ramtha. She founded the Ramtha's School of Enlightenment, where she teaches Ramtha’s preachings, though she has courted controversy for her anti-semitic, homophobic, and unscientific comments. She believes Ramtha heals better than medicine.
Apart from achieving the feat of being the first Asian-American to become a rabbi and a cantor, Angela Warnick Buchdahl has also amazed everyone with her musical skills. A Yale alumna, she was featured in the documentary 18 Voices Sing Kol Nidre, which explored the musical history of Jewish synagogues.
Katharine Jefferts Schori made headlines when she became the first woman to be the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church. Initially a Catholic, she joined the Episcopal Church at 8. A Stanford alumna, she also boasts of a PhD in oceanography and has worked with the National Marine Fisheries Service.
Born to a blacksmith in Illinois, Minnie Vautrin was determined to explore the world, in spite of her parents’ inability to afford her education. She thus joined the Foreign Christian Missionary Society’s mission to China. She is remembered for saving thousands of Chinese women during the Nanking Massacre.
Rachel Faye Wright, better known as Daya Mata, was an American spiritual leader. She served as the president of Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), a worldwide spiritual organization established by Paramahansa Yogananda. During her presidency, which lasted more than 55 years, Daya Mata worked towards the betterment of the organization.
Simone Campbell is an American lawyer, lobbyist, Roman Catholic Religious Sister, and executive director of NETWORK. She is credited with establishing the Community Law Center, where she served as the lead attorney for 18 years since its founding in 1978. From 1995 to 2000, she served as her religious institute's General Director and supervised its activities in many countries.
Mother Mary Alphonsa was an American religious leader and writer. A Roman Catholic social worker and religious sister, Mother Mary Alphonsa is credited with founding the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne. In 1914, her contribution was recognized by the National Institute of Social Sciences, which honored her with a medal. In 1925, Bowdoin College granted her an honorary Master of Arts.
The first Protestant minister of the U.S., Antoinette Brown Blackwell was had started preaching at Congregational church meetings from the tender age of 9. Not allowed to graduate and later denied a chance to speak at the World’s Temperance Convention, for being a woman, she rallied for women’s rights.
Irish-born nun Julia McGroarty later moved to the US and became one of its leading educators. Part of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, she was the first American to be the superior of the order. She also established Washington’s Trinity College, which later became the Trinity Washington University.
Irish-born Mother Teresa Lalor co-founded the first monastery of the Visitation Order in the US, with Leonard Neale, the first Catholic bishop of the US. She had also assisted him in charitable activities during the 1797-98 yellow fever epidemic. She was also the first superior of the Visitation Order.