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New Women of the Old Faith

Gender and American Catholicism in the Progressive Era

Kathleen Sprows Cummings

Publication Year: 2009

Cummings highlights four women: Chicago-based journalist Margaret Buchanan Sullivan; Sister Julia McGroarty, SND, founder of Trinity College in Washington, D.C., one of the first Catholic women's colleges; Philadelphia educator Sister Assisium McEvoy, SSJ; and Katherine Eleanor Conway, a Boston editor, public figure, and antisuffragist. Cummings uses each woman's story to explore how debates over Catholic identity were intertwined with the renegotiation of American gender roles. By examining female power within Catholic religious communities and organizations, she challenges the widespread assumption that women who were faithful members of a patriarchal church were incapable of pathbreaking work on behalf of women.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xviii

Finishing this book brings with it the long-anticipated pleasure of thanking the many colleagues and friends who have helped and guided me along the way. I am grateful, above all, to everyone associated with the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-16

In 1897, Right Reverend Patrick Ludden, the bishop of Syracuse, New York, shared his thoughts on the study of the past. ‘‘Too often,’’ he observed, ‘‘it is his story, not history.’’ At the time, the bishop was exhorting historians to maintain absolute objectivity, to refuse to allow...

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1. Chiefly among Women: The Old Faith, the New Woman, and the Creation of a Usable Past

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pp. 17-58

In 1875, ‘‘An American Woman’’ published an article in the Catholic World that represented an outraged response to a comment made by William Gladstone, the former (and future) prime minister of Great Britain. Speaking of the growth of the Catholic Church in England, Gladstone...

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2. Enlarging Our Lives: Higher Education, Americanism, and Trinity College for Catholic Women

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pp. 59-100

In November 1900, Sister Julia McGroarty presided over the opening of Trinity College for Catholic women in Washington, D.C. McGroarty, the American provincial superior of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur (snd), had by that point dedicated more than fifty years...

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3. The Wageless Work of Paradise: Catholic Sisters, Professionalization, and the School Question

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pp. 101-156

In 1905, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia sponsored an essay contest on Christian doctrine, a subject that had recently become the cornerstone of the curriculum in the city’s Catholic schools. Mary Donohue, a student at Cathedral Girls’ High School Centre, received...

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4. The Morbid Consciousness of Womanhood: Catholicism, Antisuffrage, and the Limits of Sisterhood

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pp. 157-196

Katherine E. Conway, a journalist and author based in Boston, frequently commented on the constellation of issues that constituted ‘‘the woman question’’ in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century America. Like most other Catholics, Conway...

Notes

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pp. 197-238

Bibliography

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pp. 239-262

Index

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pp. 263-278


E-ISBN-13: 9781469605999
E-ISBN-10: 1469605996
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807832493
Print-ISBN-10: 0807832499

Page Count: 296
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2009

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Catholic Church -- United States -- History.
  • Women in the Catholic Church -- United States -- History.
  • Sex role -- Religious aspects -- Catholic Church -- History.
  • Sex role.
  • Progressivism (United States politics).
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