Re-Evaluating the Role of “National” Identities in the American Catholic Church at the Turn of the Twentieth Century: The Case of Les Petites Franciscaines De Marie (PFM)
- The Catholic Historical Review
- The Catholic University of America Press
- Volume 95, Number 3, July 2009
- pp. 515-545
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Ethnic divisions and nationalism dominate the scholarship on the Church’s efforts to incorporate immigrants in the decades around 1900. By studying nuns’ perceptions of their place in the Church in their own words, the author argues that female religious may not have prioritized ethnic distinctions as highly as their male counterparts did. Examining how founding members of the Petites Franciscaines de Marie (PFM) understood their ethnic identity in relation to their identity as nuns, this article challenges prevailing interpretations of nationalism among ethnic Catholics in the United States, while suggesting the importance of incorporating women’s views into a fuller understanding of church history.