Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Religion & Culture / Religious Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Ronald Grimes

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


The stories of women's religious lives are essential to understanding religion. This thesis records and interprets two Russian Mennonite women's religious lives, using methods of feminist ethnography. The first chapter is a video which presents Agatha Janzen and Katja Enns talking about their childhoods in the Soviet Union in the 1920s and 305, their flight to Germany during World War ll, and their subsequent emigration and life in Canada. Chapter 2 tells and interprets Agatha's and Katja's experiences of marriage during the war, and the effect of their status as widow (Agatha) and single mother (Katja) upon their entry into the Canadian Mennonite church. Chapter 3 discusses the structure and content of the women's stories about the war, and the ways they have integrated their war stories into their religious life. Chapter 4 considers the ways Agatha and Katja are Mennonite today, looking especially at the role of prayer, preaching, and personal relationships in their lives. The last chapter discusses the process of deciding what is religious about a life, the merits and tensions of feminist ethnography, and the implications of video for life history. Reflections on the effects of this work on Kalja, Agatha, and me conclude the study.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season