In 1955, Sister Mary Emil Penet, I.H.M., chairman of the national Sister Formation Conference (SFC), received a $50,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to support an SFC initiative to upgrade bachelor's curriculum for the 93,000 sisters who staffed U.S. Catholic schools. Penet recruited fifteen sisters with graduate degrees to design a new, "model" liberal-arts curriculum for sisters with an original sequence of courses in philosophy and the social sciences that would prepare sisters to be "apostles of social justice." Dubbed the Everett curriculum, the new program included the social-justice sequence, and the SFC recommended it to all 377 orders in the U.S. When, a decade later, the Second Vatican Council asked religious institutes to re-write their constitutions, the curriculum had already influenced many sisters' ideals. This piece illuminates the intellectual and social sources behind Sister Mary Emil's vision for sisters—a vision dually rooted in the pro-labor "Catholic Action" movements of the Depression era and the neo-Thomist philosophy of her mentors at Marygrove College and St. Louis University.


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pp. 725-754
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