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738BOOK REVIEWS did not comprehend the power of a modern state powered by an aggressive ideology and controUed by a man obsessed with furthering his racist and nationaUst agenda, which was shared, at least partiaUy, by the majority of the citizenry . HUdebrand's Ufe and reflective essays can iUustrate for us what happens when phUosophers and theologians do not adopt a critical stance to their own churches and states. Donald J. Dietrich Boston College American St.Mary's ofNatchez: The History ofa Southern Catholic Congregation, 17161988 . Volume 1 : The /iïstory;Volume 2: Signs ofParish Life. By Charles E. Nolan. (Natchez, Mississippi: St. Mary's CathoUc Church. 1992. Pp. xxxvi, 402; x, 403-732. $39-95 the set.) In the faU of 1986, the parish councU of St. Mary's of Natchez asked Dr. Charles E. Nolan, archivist of the Archdiocese of New Orleans and author of the South Central section of the 1987 Notre Dame Study of CathoUc Parish Life, to write a history of St. Mary's from 1888 to 1988. Early Ln L992, St. Mary's CathoUc Church pubUshed his work in two volumes. With iUustrations, bibUography, a fifty-one-page index, and eighty-one pages of notes, the final product is huge. St. Mary's of Natchez is, of course, an atypical Southern CathoUc congregation , for its story is long and varied and includes the centennial in 1888 (thus the terminal dates proposed in 1986) of the erection of the parish of San Salvador del Mundo by Louisiana's Spanish governor, Estaban Miro. Part 3, "Historical Overview (1888-1988)" surveys the period foreseen in that proposal. The reactions of the community to the World Wars, the Depression, the integration crisis (during which local church leadership was heroic), andVatican CouncU II are interpreted. During this century Natchez had to accept the loss of preeminence in Mississippi effected by the raUroad's replacement ofthe steamboat. Natchez, the proud city on the bluffs, was siupassed by upstartJackson, the raUhead . Ln L948 Bishop Richard D. Gerow sorrowfuUy moved to Jackson, and Ui L977Jackson became the see city and St. Mary's was no longer a cathedral. What marks St. Mary's ofNatchez as a significant contribution was the determination of Dr. Nolan and his coUaborators to work from a post-Vatican CouncU II understanding of the Church. Theirs was to be a comprehensive history of a parish community, not an account of the brick and mortar achievements of a series of pastors. The thesis ofJay Dolan's Notre Dame Study of the parish as "the hinge on which the reUgious world" ofAmerican CathoUcs turns was central to the work. There is a feeling that the team enjoyed their task, BOOK REVIEWS739 made feasible by computer technology; however, the suspicion lingers that word-processors and computer disks contributed to the length, thus tempting the reader to skim rather than to read. The goal of writing for two distinct sets ofreaders, "St. Mary's parishioners and the wider scholarly community"(p. xxi), an almost impossible mission, certainly inflated the text. Nonetheless, scholars wiU use the extended notes, especiaUy those of the colonial and antebeUum sections, and parishioners the masterful index, initiated by parishioner Robert Shumway. Ln his mtroduction, Nolan expresses the hope that St.Mary's in Natchez will serve as "a base line for comparison—a CathoUc parish against which to measure and evaluate other reUgious congregations." Perhaps. But it is a rare American parish community which can evoke memories comparable to an early French fort destroyed Ui the 1729 massacre with shattering consequences for the lower MississippiVaUey;to a late eighteenth-century Spanish mission staffed by Irish missionaries; a nineteenth-century American frontier diocese and mother of Mississippi CathoUcism thanks to such benefactors as the Lyons Society ofthe Propagation of the Faith and a Natchez free person of color, FeUcite Pomet Girodeau (1790-L862); and finaUy a twentieth-century experience as a former see with a Gothic Revival church in a river city renowned for its romantic antebeUum plantation glory. Earl F. NnmAus Xavier University ofLouisiana They Came to Teach: The Story of Sisters Who Taught in Parochial Schools and Their Contribution to Elementary Education in Minnesota. By AnnabeUe Raiche...


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