History, photos and stories of these unsung heroes of the Church
In the Episcopal Church, Deaconesses were faith-filled women who were the early pioneers of servant ministry. Being "set apart" as a deaconess was one of the few ways women could serve the Church in the years before the ordination of women.
It's been recorded that four deaconesses were ordained by Bp. William Whittingham of Maryland in September, 1857. At the time, women in the USA were not ordained as deacons. In 1970, the last of some 500 deaconesses were ordained. That same year, General Convention voted to ordain women as deacons instead.
Deaconess bios are occasionally posted in the Association for Episcopal Deacons' facebook group.