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Intense religious experiences have been the catalyst for reams of text throughout the history of the written word. This applies to Birgitta of Vadstena in the fourteenth century, and it also applies in the modern day, with the Norwegian writer Sigrid Undset’s 1924 conversion to Catholicism being of profound significance to her writing.

The attitude of the Christian Church to women who have written, evangelised, sermonised, prophesised, or in other ways served as a mouthpiece for God, has been extremely changeable over the centuries: sometimes accepting, sometimes condemnatory or playing the waiting game. Women might have been excluded from preaching the word as a member of the clergy, but they were active hymn writers. Towards the end of the seventeenth century in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, an increasing number of women saw their hymns printed in official hymn books.