For far too long Catholic teaching sisters have been denied their rightful place in the history of education. It is only during the past twenty-five years that researchers in many countries have begun to reveal the fundamental role played by these women in the schooling of children of both the masses and the elite during the 19th and 20th centuries.
This essay provides for the first time a detailed overview of the historiography of the teaching sisters in Western Europe, North America, Latin America and Australasia, surveying scholarship since 1985. It reviews the literature on six major themes: contribution to schooling, teaching orders and schools, educational philosophy, content and practice, life and lived experience of teachers and students, the professionalization of teaching, and changes in the composition of the teaching staff. Very rich in bibliographical references, this book is indispensable for all further research on this significant but underexplored group of women teachers.