Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122-1204 CE)
Eleanor of Aquitaine was Queen of both France and England and the mother of several kings. She is primarily known as a patroness of the arts, and her famous court popularized courtly love and chivalry. It is said that during the Second Crusade, she and her ladies-in-waiting rode bare-breasted into battle to distract the Saracens.
Julian of Norwich (1342-1416 CE)
Julian of Norwich was a visionary and mystic who wrote the masterpiece Revelations of Divine Love. In 1373, Julian had visions from God that she later wrote down. She expanded on the theme of God’s love and compassion for everyone. She compared a mother’s forgiving love to God’s love, empowering contemporary women.
Christine de Pizan (1364-1430 CE)
When Christine de Pizan’s husband died of the plague, Christine began writing to support herself and her family. She became the first woman in Europe to write professionally. Her work, The Book of the City of Ladies refuted the medieval view of women. The Book of the Three Virtues. was a manual for women in the middle ages.
Margery Kempe (1373-1438 CE)
Margery Kempe was a mystic who dictated her autobiography, the first of its kind in the English language. She received visions from God and often proclaimed her beliefs in public. This behavior led to a conflict with the Church, which repeatedly tried her for heresy. It is worth noting that she was never convicted.
Joan of Arc (1412-1431 CE)
Joan of Arc was a visionary and military leader. She was a poor country girl who was 13 when she received a vision from three saints who instructed her to overcome the English invaders and crown the Dauphin. She persisted until she was allowed to join in the war effort. Joan lifted the siege of Orlean and continued to fight. When she was 19 years old, The English burned her at the stake for heresy.