This chapter discusses the sources, methods and approach that are used in the
book. It begins by outlining the significance of the ‘personal’ for the
study. I speak about my own religious, sexual and familial background and
the effect this has had on the project. I argue that an open, reflexive
approach places the reader in a privileged position from which to evaluate
the testimony of the interviewees. A new Catholic-feminist methodology is
advanced which emphasises the need to take Catholic women seriously as
authors of their own life stories. The chapter then moves on to offer
important information about the way the oral history material was gathered.
In this section of the chapter, how the interviewees were recruited, the
interview process and the question of ‘representivity’ are addressed. It
argues that rather than seeing the subjective nature of spoken testimony as
a limitation, it is this very attribute which can help reframe
understandings of ‘the personal’ within Catholicism.