Did you know the name Matryoshka means “little matron,” or “mother” in Russian?

Do you have a set of nesting dolls?


My friend, Kathy Gould, who manages a charity fund ministering to families and children in Ukraine, gave me these dolls years ago. They enjoy pride of place on the top shelf of my bookcase now.

I wrote about these dolls in a blog post published in December 2013. The largest one, encasing all the others, tells the story of Christ’s nativity, the WORD becoming flesh, the wonder of the incarnation. The first chapter of the Gospel of Matthew traces the lineage of Christ from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob through Joseph, Mary’s husband, the Mary who as a virgin gave birth to Jesus, called Christ, the embodiment of the human and the divine.

Un-nested, they form a sloping line across my table, narrating the life of Christ from birth through The Last Supper, the Crucifixion and Ascension.


Sue Monk Kidd and Matryoshka Dolls

In her book The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, Kidd (author of The Secret Life of Bees) speaks of endless renewal and ongoing transformation as the generations evolve.



What her grand-daughters heard her say:

I told them  “ , , , how our unfolding line of mothers and daughters. How we’re nested in one another and birthed one another. I told them we were connected not only through blood, tissue, and female likeness, but [also] through feminine heart, memory, and soul. “

She references C. G. Jung when she quotes him here: “Every mother contains her daughter in herself and every daughter her mother and every mother extends backwards into her mother and forwards into her daughter.”


Rather like nesting dolls, don’t you think?


Citation for the quote from Jung:  Jung, C. G. and C. Kerenyi, Essays on a Science of Mythology, Bollingen Series 22 (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press 1963) 162.


Grandmother Sadie Landis Metzler, on her wedding day; Grandfather Abram Metzler




Matryoshka Dolls and You

  • Do you know the name of your grandmother / great-grandmother / or great-great grandmother on either side of your family?


  • What significance do these women have in your memory, or in your life?


  • If you have a set of Matryoskha dolls, what name would give to the first (largest) doll? The last one?


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I will take a short break from blogging until January 2019. In the meantime, do savor this joyous season!