Abstract

Abstract:

In 1932 the Jesuit missionaries in Alaska sponsored the creation of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Snows, a sisterhood of Native women religious. By most accounts the women were good and effective sisters: they taught the catechism and English to fellow Alaskan Natives, clergy with whom they labored admired their work ethic, and their convent house diaries reflect a dedication to their vows and their community. However, in 1945 the Jesuit Vicar Apostolic for Alaska suppressed the sisterhood. The Jesuit leadership cited financial concerns and poor health in their decision, but it was more complicated. This article first narrates the efforts to establish and sustain an indigenous sisterhood in Alaska and then recounts the obstacles faced by the sisters and their supporters. These obstacles were multilayered, related to race, gender, and logistics; additionally, these obstacles reveal the unique challenges of the Alaskan mission field. Unfortunately, these challenges kept the SOS from having a real chance to succeed. In this way, the story of the SOS mirrors much of the history of women religious in the United States but refracts that image through additional lenses of race and the colonial frontier.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
2161-8534
Print ISSN
2161-8542
Pages
pp. 57-91
Launched on MUSE
2020-10-11
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.