Heroes of the Faith: Anne Bradstreet

Heroism isn’t about achievements; in my view it’s about what you attempt to achieve and how you attempt it. And that makes seventeenth-century Puritan poet Anne Bradstreet a hero.

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Anne was born in England in 1612 to a well-educated and religious family. Although she never attended school, Anne was educated by her father (who was the steward of the Earl of Lincoln) and by reading through the Earl’s library. Converted in her teens, Anne was married at the age of sixteen to Simon Bradstreet with whom she had the happiest of marriages.

The Bradstreet family had become Puritans, seeking to follow its belief that both lives and churches should be run on a biblical basis. However, by the 1620s it seemed evident that persecution for the Puritans loomed. The result was that many Puritans dreamt of sailing to America where they could be free to live and worship as they wanted. The first group to do this were the Pilgrim Fathers who arrived in 1620 on the Mayflower. Eight years later, Anne, reluctantly leaving behind culture and comfort, followed them with her husband and her parents.

When, after a hazardous three-month voyage, the ship reached what is now Massachusetts, the voyagers found an unhappy situation. Many pilgrims had died, many were sick and all were close t