It gives me great pleasure to introduce this issue, my first since being appointed co-editor of the journal.
Our lead article, “Pilgrims of the Night: The American Catholic Church Responds to the Post-World War II Displaced Persons Crisis,” comes to us from Todd Scribner (USCCB). In this fascinating piece, he describes how church officials in the United States mobilized political support and material resources to aid the resettlement of those displaced by the war. These efforts laid the foundation for the establishment of Catholic Relief Services, the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic Church in the United States.
Our next two articles together turn our attention to the development of Catholic parish and monastic life in rural regions of the United States during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The first, “John Ireland, St. Eloi Parish, and the Dream of an American Catholic Church” by Anita Talsma Gaul (Southwest Minnesota State University), tells how the struggle to establish a parish in the small town of Ghent, Minnesota stemmed not only from internal, inter-ethnic discord, but also from a more fundamental disagreement between immigrant communities and church leaders over the character that the “American” church should take. The second, “Monastic Evangelization?: The Sacramental Vision of America’s Early Benedictine Monks” by Paul G. Monson (Marquette University), revisits a dispute between two pioneering Benedictines, Boniface Wimmer and Martin Marty, to reveal how their differing visions for monastic life in the United States nevertheless shared a common missionary impulse.
Alongside these articles, this issue includes an essay by Debra Campbell (Colby College) in which she reflects on her experience “Teaching the Catholic Novel: What Took Me So Long?” and a cover essay by Wendy M. Wright (Creighton University), which explores the visual theology of a Marian altar located at one parish in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. These two pieces bookend our regular selection of book reviews and our semi-annual listing of dissertation abstracts.
Finally, we congratulate our many authors who received awards from the Catholic Press Association. We thank them and all the contributors who helped American Catholic Studies earn first place for general excellence among scholarly magazines. [End Page iii]