Gender and space
in Irish women and the creation of modern Catholicism, 1850–1950
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Chapter 5 investigates women’s roles in devotional places and spaces. This was an age in which Catholic officials urged that women’s roles be essentially domestic and private and when, increasingly, women’s bodies were contained and controlled in disciplined spaces, including the Catholic chapel. Still, women resisted the civilising mission of the ‘devotional revolution’ by maintaining their commitment to vernacular landscapes and traditions. They also made themselves essential to the construction and upkeep of newly built chapels and became the main congregants at the chapel-mass. By demanding a central place in religious spaces, women complicated the divide between private and public and challenged the patriarchal consensus.

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