(list initially compiled by World Pulse magazine)  

1. Joan Chittister, "The Renegade Nun" -one of the most outspoken advocates for women's ordination and leadership in the Catholic church.

If the people will lead, eventually the leaders will follow.

2. Amma, "The Hugging Mother" -her hugs are part of her spiritual practice, which views love as the root of action, and physical embrace as a basic expression of human love from which we nurture compassion for the world.

We are all beads strung together on the same thread of love. To awaken this unity--and to spread to others thhe love that is our inherent nature--is the true goal of human life.

3. The Visionary Elders, Internat'l Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers -dedicated to reviving ancient ways and wisdom to heal a planet out of balance; includes women from: U.S., Gabon, Nepal, Brazil, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Tibet.

Women united in close circles can awaken the wisdom in each other's hearts.

4. Daisy Khan, "The Voice of Unity" -founded, WISE: Women's Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality--a social justice movement led by Muslim women.

We are all different rivers leading into the same ocean, and the ocean represents God almighty.

5. Cynthia Jurs, "The Global Healer" -founded, Earth Treasure Vase Global Healing Project; they journey to sites of great need and bury earth treasure vases consecrated by Buddhist monks and filled with prayers and healing offerings.

It is our collective awakening that is going to bring us into a new era of enlightened activity.

6. Zainah Anwar, "The Equality Defender" -founded, Sisters in Islam; argues that the Syariah laws women are subjected to in Malaysia and other Muslim countries are not God's laws, but laws created by men in power who interpreted the Koran to serve themselves. This group pushes legal reform and education to the public.

I believe in a God that is kind, just, and compassionate. Anything done in the name of Islam must be just and compassionate.

7. Venerable Mae-Chee Sansanee Sthirasuta, "The Bridge Builder" -founded, Sathira-Dhammasathan Center, a women's meditation center in Bangkok. She is also the co-chair of the Global Peace Initiative of Women.

If a woman develops herself spiritually, she will possess the energy to move the universe.