Introduction

in Contested identities
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This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book begins in with the evolution of religious life in England, paying particular attention to early monastic life, and then continues with an analysis of the growth of women's religious congregations in England. It compares women religious of England and Wales with Irish, French, North American and Australian women religious to provide an understanding of the similarities and differences in religious life. The book considers how the training for religious life shaped the identity of women religious. It presents the development of a congregation's corporate identity which brought together a disparate group of women under the banner of religious life. The book looks specifically at class and ethnicity and the women who entered religious life. It concludes by identifying the source of authority for the congregation and the individual sister.

Contested identities

Catholic women religious in nineteenth-century England and Wales

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