Skip to main content

FunTimes Magazine

“Our Spiritual Mothers” series

Oct 16, 2023 12:00PM ● By Marilyn Kai Jewett

Lois Fernandez at an Odunde Festival. Photo courtesy of the Lois Fernandez Foundation

Greetings Brothers and Sisters

This is the first in a series I'm writing for Ark Republic website on women who were leaders of various African Diasporic spiritual traditions who are now our ancestral mothers. Their work left immense legacies in Philadelphia, the nation and the world. “Our Spiritual Mothers” series tells the history of women who made significant contributions to spiritual systems and religious communities.

In spite of the patriarchy that exists in many societies including this one, women are the spiritual teachers of the family/community and are entrusted with protection of the soul while it's in the womb before birth.

Regardless of your personal beliefs, these women are just as important as people like Revs. Richard Allen and Absolom Jones, Elijah Muhammed, Father Divine and others. 

The contributions of these powerful women must be respected, documented and celebrated. They are a part of our history that all Black people should know.

This series begins with: Iya Lois and Iya Laura Fernandez, who brought the Yoruba spiritual tradition to Philadelphia’s African American community. Baba Obalumi Ogunseye, who introduced Yoruba culture to the Fernandez Sisters is my godfather in Ifa (ee-fa).

Read the whole article here.

Marilyn Kai Jewett is a veteran journalist reporting and living in Philadelphia. Her interests are culture, business and politics. She is a Yoruba priest of 22 years.