What have you personally learned from the ammas?First, I have learned to experiment. When these women decided to leave their lives — some of them were learned, some were fairly wealthy, some were prostitutes — they made a choice to try to create something new with one another and with God. There were a variety of models. Some were solitaries. Some were living in community. Some were solitaries who lived in huts, yet came together regularly for worship and meals. Initially, there was no single monolithic pattern. At midlife, I know that many women are trying to find patterns for living that are congruent with their experience and their faith. And sometimes we need examples from women’s history to help us find what fits.