Abstract

Abstract:

During the nineteenth century, the Holy Childhood Association enrolled thousands of North American Catholic children in a project to save Chinese babies by baptizing them before death. Using archives from Quebec and the United States, this essay builds on recent calls to explore supernatural frameworks in order to broaden which people and societies are included under the rubric of globalization. Excavating the largely forgotten cosmology of Holy Childhood supporters, it therefore sets out, first, to highlight the global commitments of thousands of Catholics with limited objective mobility. Second, it flips North American history to center Quebec as continental hub, through which Holy Childhood supporters imagined their expansive power. It then lingers on the association's evocative, and remarkable, suggestion that dead "pagan" babies became angel guardians of their donors. This study reframes nineteenth-century North American expansionism in a few key ways. It highlights the central role of France, and therefore Quebec, for Roman Catholics while clarifying underlying frictions as North Americans reproduced and contested European power. And it explores the Holy Childhood's baby-saving program as a distinctive kind of "Catholic globalism," which was different from, but also in conversation with, "secular" humanitarianism.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6490
Print ISSN
0003-0678
Pages
pp. 827-851
Launched on MUSE
2020-12-22
Open Access
No
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