Brian Heffernan
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The conclusion summarises the main findings of this Dutch Discalced Carmelite case study for the use of scholars of the female religious life more widely. It makes eight points: victim spirituality was central to the history of modern women religious and there are non-reductionist ways of analysing this; the public performance of the cloistered life involved an enduring paradox that marked many of its aspects; the conciliar and post-conciliar renewal of the religious life was a project mainly promoted by the clergy; contemplative nuns appropriated renewal and attempted to steer it into ways that reflected their own priorities; reformism and traditionalism, as responses to the challenge of renewal, should be historicised as competing but not dissimilar manifestations of a new, ‘expressive’ concept of the religious life; there was a degree of continuity in the religious life of Carmelites that defied the turn to self and the notion of expressive religion; historical analysis of prayer must be alert to its polysemic nature; and prayer can and must be historicised as performance of self.

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Modern Carmelite nuns and contemplative identities

Shaping spirituality in the Netherlands


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