St. Thomas of Aquinas also referred to Mary Magdalene as the apostle of the apostles. Women were highly respected for being the ones who actually stuck around when the **** went flying, so to speak. Aquinas gets part of his seemingly contradictory views on women from Aristotle, the views that hold women in higher regard come from a theological standpoint in his theory of the rational soul. At least that's how I understand it from briefly looking into it. I don't know if it really interests me enough to look into it further at this point but if it does with you I recommend getting the whole picture.