Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Maeyken Wens, Antwerp, 1573

A story from the Bishop's Retreat (where I am Mon-Wed this week), told by our presenter Tex Sample:

Maeyken Wens felt the call to ministry, but no one would ordain her. She started preaching in the street, but was arrested by the authorities: "If you will recant and promise not to preach again, we will release you to your husband and children. If you don’t, you are going back to jail." She refused and languished in jail for months. Brought back before the magistrate, she was offered a last chance: Recant and promise never to preach again, or you will be burned at the stake. She refused. The next day, before walking from the jail to the stake, they screwed her tongue to the roof of her mouth because they were afraid she would start to preach. After the burning, the family went back through the site and sifted through the ashes until they found the tongue screw. Once again, an instrument of torture and death became a symbol of salvation and a witness to grace.

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