Madonna Kolbenschlag died January 29 in Santiago, Chile, while attending a meeting of the School of Ecofeminist Spirituality and Ethics. She was 64.
Kolbenschlag was a member of the Catholic Sisters of Humility of Mary, a feminist theologian, author of six books on the spiritual and psychological liberation of women, a working psychotherapist, and social philosopher. In 1996, she founded the Women's International Electronic University. With teachers in more than 90 countries, the university operates on the philosophy that women are effective social multipliers of economic and cultural development - "educate a woman and you educate the world."
At Sojourners we knew Kolbenschlag as a teacher who deepened our understanding of the interdependent nature of gender, race, and class oppression. She was gentle, funny, beautiful, and brilliant. Her book Kiss Sleeping Beauty Goodbye helped many of us become the women we are today. In it she wrote to men, "In shedding the husk of your reflected masculine glory, you will discover what many women already know - what it means to be a no-thing....My conversion to feminism is an unfinished, incomplete experience unless it leads to your liberation....If I give up my princess ways, will you give up your princedom?"