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BOOK REVIEWS739 made feasible by computer technology; however, the suspicion Ungers 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 wUl use the extended notes, especiaUy those of the colonial and antebeUum sections, and parishioners the masterful index, initiated by parishioner Robert Shumway. In his introduction, 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 widi shattering consequences for die 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, FeUcité Pomet Girodeau (1790-1862); 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. Ndjhaus 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, CSJ., and Ann Marie Biermaier, O.S.B. (St. Cloud, Minnesota : North Star Press. 1994. Pp. xvi, 271. $1995 paperback.) Perhaps the most impressive feature of this volume is the amount of material it encompasses. The finished work represents six years of research and writing by a core group of twenty sisters. The book they have produced is predominantly a reference work, and it fulfills that role weU. (Any researcher who has approached the archival holdings of many reUgious communities wUl have great respect for the immense amount of work involved in gathering the accurate and comprehensive data included here.) Nine Minnesota-based reUgious communities, as weU as numerous orders whose members are or have been missioned in Minnesota schools, have cooperated in the task of tracing and documenting the role of sisters in die parochial school system ofthe state. They Came to Teach covers die years 1851 (the date of the inception of the CathoUc elementary schools) to 1950 (their peak year,foUowed by decline) to 1990 (the approximate time ofthe transfer of leadership from die reUgious orders to the laity). The book—a coffee tablesized volume—provides Usts of Minnesota CathoUc elementary schools, names 740BOOK REVIEWS of the sisters who taught in these schools throughout the years, a good bibUography , and a brief index. CompUers of the book achieve a neat mix of factual data and anecdotal history . They Came to Teach includes one entire section devoted to "Profiles": sketches ofrepresentative sisters whose careers Ulustrate the broad range of activities in which religious communities were engaged. Written Ui large letters over every page are two words: dedication and sacrifice. Statistics do not always capture the spirit which empowered these reUgious teachers, but thetf individual stories and the abundant photographs which accompany them do. The book itselfis organized chronologicaUy, but its forward movement is broken by the expansion ofspecific topics. The result is some inevitable repetition. Nevertheless, The Came to Teach is fun to leaf through, valuable to research, and—for many CathoUcs—nostalgic to peruse. Sister Mary Richard Boo, O.S.B. College ofSt. Scholastica Duluth, Minnesota Cosmos in the Chaos: Philip Schaff's Interpretation of Nineteenth-Century American Religion. By Stephen R. Graham. (Grand Rapids: WiUiam B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 1995. Pp. xxv, 266. $22.00 paperback.) The 1880's was a banner decade for the founding of scholarly societies. The Society of BibUcal Literature saw the Ught of day in 1880, the American Historical Association a few years later in 1884, and the American Society of Church History Ui yet four more years, 1888. Americans had been busy making history; perhaps it was now time to contemplate history. Pragmatic America was being puUed and tugged...


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