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Summoned contains the stories of six famous women from history, each on a spiritual path. I have selected specific women who, through their positive vision, significantly altered their society. Each woman tells her story from first person point of view as I imagined it. For each of these women there was a turning point, a fork in the road, when they were summoned by a power greater than themselves to take steps that changed the conventional course of their lives and altered society. Once summoned, each woman felt...
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Summoned contains the stories of six famous women from history, each on a spiritual path. I have selected specific women who, through their positive vision, significantly altered their society. Each woman tells her story from first person point of view as I imagined it. For each of these women there was a turning point, a fork in the road, when they were summoned by a power greater than themselves to take steps that changed the conventional course of their lives and altered society. Once summoned, each woman felt there was no turning back, no matter how difficult the path. Once on the path, each woman was guided step by step. In retrospect, it all fit into place although when the women were taking each individual step, they did not perceive the ultimate goal or the far-reaching beneficial effects their actions would have upon society. Telling their stories, they reflect back to encourage and empower the women of today to have the courage to trust their instincts and intuition, the vehicle through which a higher power speaks. I, likewise, in the writing of this book, felt summoned and guided in the steps I took although I had no idea of the ultimate outcome. Whenever I attempted to do it my way, I met with resistance, conflict, and confusion. However, when I opened myself and allowed the words of these women to come through, I moved forward easily.
Traditional biographies are written in third person, present the facts of their subjects' lives, and provide a critical analysis. This book is different. While I researched traditional resources, my intuition told me to use the first person point of view. Each woman in this book speaks in her own voice and tells "her story." They come from different walks of life and are examples of what is possible. The power of these women is the power of every woman if she has the courage to follow her inner voice, instead of blindly following the dictates of society. The voices are stories of hope and possibility for the women of today. Each of these woman was an ordinary person who accomplished extraordinary things by trusting and following her inner voice. You can do the same by following your inner voice.
For the last one hundred years, American society has focused on the production of goods and on appearance rather than the quality of life and family relationships. Science and technology have been the twin gods of the modern world and the focus has been on validating evidence produced by the experimental method. The natural feminine energies of intuition, vision, empathy, and creation have been regarded as unnecessary, sentimental, and extraneous to the progress of the human race. As we enter the new millennium, these are the very energies needed to heal our society.
The book contains a bibliography of the books I read so that any woman reading the book may find information she needs to further investigate, study, and strengthen her personal awareness of these six women. Women must break free of the limiting stereotypes that have fettered them and get into action. Spiritual growth is a process, so let us begin.

I wish to thank Karen Marie Riggio for her participation in creating the first version of this book that was titled The Woman's Way but was never published.

May the readers of Summoned be instilled with courage, strength, faith, and fortitude.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597131278
  • Publisher: Goose River Press
  • Publication date: 6/18/2012
  • Pages: 82
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Toni Ortner has had fourteen books published by fine small presses. She lives in Brattleboro, Vermont where she is a board member of Write Action, a nonprofit advocacy group that seeks to strength a community of writers in the tri state region of South Eastern Vermont. She hosts the Write Action Radio Show the fourth Sunday of each month on 107.7 FM from 5-6 pm where she interviews writers and they read their work. The show can be streamed from

Summoned by Goose River Press and Writing with Our Blood by Moon Publishing Company were published in 2012. In 2013 A White Page Demands Its Letters and Traveling, a Perspective will be published by unbound

Her website is if you need more information about how to order her books as either soft cover or e books.
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  • Posted June 28, 2014

    Let me start out by saying that I adore this little gem of a boo

    Let me start out by saying that I adore this little gem of a book. Books in general have an uncanny way of coming into our lives at the precise moment we need them most, and Summoned fell into my lap while I found myself at one of life's proverbial crossroads, knowing what had to be done and which path I would ultimately take and yet questioning it (and doubting and fearing, etc.) all the same.
    Enter Toni Ortner's Summoned. Sliced into six sections, Summoned essentially explores the seminal moments in the lives of six women - Joan of Arc, Saint Teresa of Avila, Maria Curie, Rachel Carson, Mother Teresa and Elizabeth Kubler-Roth - when they were "summoned" by some higher power to their true calling, and the countless sacrifices and leaps of faith that were required of them along the way. The importance of a book of this nature at this particular point in history should not be understated. To begin with, at a time when humanity itself seems to be at a crisis of faith, what better way to examine the very nature of faith (and by faith, I am implying a power that transcends mere religious affiliation or inclination) than through the actions of its most selfless minions, women who were not seeking any personal gain or recognition but merely striving to fulfill their purpose here of earth? Not lost on me - a proud male - either, is the undeniable fact that the majority of those knights of faith that history has smiled kindly upon and admitted into its pantheon have been men. We all know of Galileo, after all, but how many of us know of Hypatia? The reasons for this exclusion of sorts don't need to be aired here - but it should be noted nonetheless, since we tend to smile upon the familiar out of habit and our inherent nature to conform.
    But Summoned's true power and poignancy extend far beyond this. Ortner remains in the background and, as she points out in the preface, allows the voices of these remarkable women to channel through her without any pretensions or adornments. In fact, one of the more remarkable aspects of these remarkable women, revisited throughout, is very much connected to the limpid tone in which their sagas are rendered: none saw themselves as extraordinary or their acts as manifestations of some extraordinary ability, but rather the fruits of surrendering oneself selflessly to a higher calling, and a willingness to open one's heart to the unthinkable and sacrifice everything for one's faith. Each was forced to endure adversity, doubt, fear and unimaginable suffering - and each ultimately discovered the courage and fortitude to persevere within the inner sanctum of their own faith. While reading Summoned I had the sense that I often get on my early morning walks with my dog after a huge snowfall when everything is so very still and clear and the landscape heartbreakingly fragile and trembling with something nameless that somehow binds us, bridges the centuries and reminds us that we're all of the same source, struggling to find our way and purpose in a seemingly indifferent world that can swallow us whole if we chose to keep our eyes and hearts closed. And yet that struggle, as Summoned insists without ever insisting, is precisely why we're here, "each soul on earth is unique and has been born for a specific purpose that he or she alone can fulfill. This is the turning point of each human being, as it had been for me."
    This reminder alone should find its way onto every bookshelf.
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