Mary Daly: a life lived OUT loud

mary daly

I received this email just minutes ago.  I am saddened at the passing of [wikipop]Mary Daly[/wikipop].  Her contribution to feminism (both theory & theology) was tremendous.  She certainly paved a way for me to live OUT loud.  May her spirit endure!

With a heavy heart, yet grateful beyond words for her life and work, I report that Mary Daly died this morning, January 3, 2010 in Massachusetts. She had been in poor health for the last two years.

Her contributions to feminist theology, philosophy, and theory were many, unique, and if I may say so, world-changing. She created intellectual space; she set the bar high. Even those who disagreed with her are in her debt for the challenges she offered.

When I return from vacation at week’s end I will post more. But I want WATER colleagues, of which she was a stalwart one, to know this now. She always advised women to throw our lives as far as they would go. I can say without fear of exaggeration that she lived that way herself.

May her spirit soar and her ideas endure.

Mary E. Hunt
Hoechenschwand, Germany


    Jan 4, 2010

    I am so profoundly sad at the loss of Mary Daly, who is probably the most influential feminist on my life and work. Her words completely freed me, and I always admired her never ending fight on behalf of women everywhere. She never let me down, she never gave in, she never compromised her principles.

    I had the privilege of meeting her many times, and will treasure all her books. I took her strategies out in the world, and with her practical help, was able to do even more in the world than I ever would have without her undying inspiration.

    She was the intellectual of intellectuals, she was the role model of role models, and I believe she was the greatest radical lesbian thinker of the 20th century. I am shocked by her death, but I knew it had to come. Thank goddess for all the feminist blogs who are doing honor to her name, because we can all write free of patriarchy, free in the knowledge that we celebrate her life outside malestream news.

    I know she and the goddess are really going to look after all of us. My heronine, Mary Daly!!

  2. Kathleen Williamson UNITED STATES
    Jan 4, 2010

    I have been complaining for years that scholars, including feminists, have written Mary Daly out of history. The trend for decades has been to borrow from and build on her groundbreaking work without giving her credit, as if acknowledging her would be stigmatizing in some way because she was so controversial. There is no room for trendiness in feminism and scholarship. Synchronistically, just last night I posted an old NYTimes review of the Wickedary on my facebook page. Then today, the news of her passing.
    I don’t owe my feminism to Mary Daly, as I was born with it. But I do owe the first seeds of the articulation of my feminism to her. After reading Gyn/Ecology in 1979, I was inspired to many roads of education and empowerment, and belonged to that tribe of feminists who sported a double battle axe as a charm. And her writings were the acorns for me, and many other women, for mighty oaks that continued to shed acorns forever. Let her work be revisited, studied, and keep “spinning” as did she. Thank you Scholar Warrior, Thank you.

    • Audrey UNITED STATES
      Jan 5, 2010

      Thanks Kathleen for reminding me that feminists are uncomfortable with Mary Daly, because she was so radical. The woman who tells the truth in patriarchy is one of the most dangerous feminists. Daly reminded us about patriarchal erasure of women throughout time, she recovered forgotten foresisters who had been written out of first wave feminism like Matilda Joselyn Gage.

      I would love to hear from all Daly’s former students and from the women who worked directly with her. Let’s celebrate the life of this woman of courage, and let’s honor her by never forgetting her.

  3. Ruth Rocchio UNITED STATES
    Jan 4, 2010

    I was saddened to read this news today. Mary’s work has been and is still a very jolting and awakening experience. I will read them again, savoring the brilliance and soaking in the liberation she called forth for all womyn.

  4. Susan Powter UNITED STATES
    Jan 5, 2010

    Atmospheric now…

    Fresh air, every day I will breathe Her and howl Her words forever….

    What a privilege She is….

    Susan Powter

  5. Robin Einzig UNITED STATES
    Jan 6, 2010

    I wrote about Mary Daly’s death, which I mourn, on my blog as well.

    I then had both the wonderful and unfortunate privilege of my blog being featured on the website of, the largest website in the city of Boston, and host to the local newspaper, the Boston Globe. Sadly, this means that, unlike the stream of comments I might get from my “regular” readers (I am so jealous reading your comments), I got quite a few very angry men who were sure to stop in just to make sure they spewed their “man-hating nutcase” reviews of her life.

    If anyone on here is so inclined, I’d love to have some of your comments echoed on my blog. It would do my little heart good, as I reflect on this woman’s powerful legacy, made all the more visible by the reaction to her death.


  6. Rage on Mary!!!
    what are you doing on the other side???
    Thank you for the light and the clarity.
    we love you,
    donna, undine and baubo

  7. p.s., does anyone know where coti is??? When we last spoke to mary, she wasn’t sure herself???

    • Xochitl UNITED STATES Windows XP Google Chrome 7.0.517.41
      Nov 2, 2010

      Hello sister friends of Mary Daly :) Cottie is with an Amazing radical feminist friend named Kim in western Mass. Cottie is doing wonderfully and can be found on facebook! She’s quite social! :-)


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