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Author: Cara Delay

Irish Women and the Creation of Modern Catholicism is the only book-length study of lay Catholic women in modern Irish history. Focusing on the pivotal century from 1850 to 1950, it analyses the roles that middle-class, working-class, and rural poor lay women played in the evolution of Irish Catholicism and thus the creation of modern Irish identities. This project demonstrates that in an age of Church growth and renewal stretching from the aftermath of the Great Famine through the early years of the Irish Republic, lay women were essential to all aspects of Catholic devotional life, including both home-based religion and public Catholic rituals. It also reveals that women, by rejecting, negotiating, and reworking Church dictates, complicated Church and clerical authority. Irish Women and the Creation of Modern Catholicism re-evaluates the relationship between the institutional Church, the clergy, and women, positioning lay Catholic women as central actors in the making of modern Ireland. It also contests views that the increasing power of the Catholic Church caused a uniform decline in Irish women’s status after the Great Famine of the 1840s, revealing that middle-class, working-class, and rural poor lay women fought with their priests, dominated household religion, and led parish rituals, thus proving integral to the development of a modern Irish Catholic ethos and culture.

Theories, concepts and new perspectives

Bringing together leading authorities on Irish women and migration, this book offers a significant reassessment of the place of women in the Irish diaspora. It demonstrates the important role played by women in the construction of Irish diasporic identities, comparing Irish women's experience in Britain, Canada , New Zealand and the United States. The book considers how the Catholic Church could be a focal point for women's Irish identity in Britain. It examines how members of the Ladies' Orange Benevolent Association (LOBA) maintained a sense of Irish Protestant identity, focused on their associational life in female Orange lodges. The book offers a lens on Irish society, and on countries where they settled, and considerable scope for comparative analysis of the impact of different cultures and societies on women's lives. It reviews key debates in Transnational Studies (TS) and Diaspora Studies (DS) before discussing the particular contribution of DS in framing 1990s study of migrant and non-migrant Irish women. Feminist and queer theory scholarship in Irish DS has begun to address the gender and sexual politics of diaspora by attending to the dynamics of boundary expansion, queering and dissolution. The book suggests that religion can be both a 'bright' and a 'blurry' boundary, while examining how religious identities intersect with ethnicity and gender. It also includes the significance of the categories of gender and generation, and their intersection with ethnicity in the context of the official London St Patrick's Day Festival.

Living spirituality

Between 1598 and 1800, an estimated 3, 271 Catholic women left England to enter convents on the Continent. This study focuses more particularly upon those who became Benedictines in the seventeenth century, choosing exile in order to pursue their vocation for an enclosed life. Through the study of a wide variety of original manuscripts, including chronicles, death notices, clerical instructions, texts of spiritual guidance, but also the nuns’ own collections of notes, this book highlights the tensions between the contemplative ideal and the nuns’ personal experiences. Its first four chapters adopt a traditional historical approach to illustrate the tensions between theory and practice in the ideal of being dead to the world. They offer a prosopographical study of Benedictine convents in exile, and show how those houses were both cut-off and enclosed yet very much in touch with the religious and political developments at home. The next fur chapters propose a different point of entry into the history of nuns, with a study of emotions and the senses in the cloister, delving into the textual analysis of the nuns’ personal and communal documents to explore aspect of a lived spirituality, when the body, which so often hindered the spirit, at times enabled spiritual experience.

Domesticity and the women’s movement in England, 1928–64

This book explores the contribution that five conservative, voluntary and popular women’s organisations made to women’s lives and to the campaign for women’s rights throughout the period 1928 to 1964. The five groups included in this study are: the Mothers’ Union, the Catholic Women’s League, the National Council of Women, the National Federation of Women’s Institutes and the National Union of Townswomen’s Guilds. The book challenges existing histories of the women’s movement that suggest the movement went into decline during the inter-war period only to be revived by the emergence of the Women’s Liberation Movement in the late 1960s. It is argued that the term women’s movement must be revised to allow a broader understanding of female agency encompassing feminist, political, religious and conservative women’s groups who campaigned to improve the status of women throughout the twentieth century.

This book provides an analysis of the way in which these five voluntary women’s organisations adopted the concept of democratic citizenship, with its rights and duties, to legitimate their demands for reform. Their involvement in a number of campaigns relating to social, welfare and economic rights is explored and assessed. The book provides a radical re-assessment of this period of women’s history and in doing so makes a significant contribution to on-going debates about the shape and the impact of the women’s movement in twentieth century Britain. The book is essential reading for those interested in modern British history and the history of the women’s movement.

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Elizabeth Crawford and Jill Liddington

Abbreviations used in the Gazetteer AFL Actresses’ Franchise League ASL Artists’ Suffrage League CathWS Catholic Women’s Suffrage Society CLWS Church League for Women’s Suffrage CUWFA Conservative and Unionist Women’s Franchise Association FCLWS Free Church League for Women’s Suffrage ILP Independent Labour Party LSWS London Society for Women’s Suffrage (NUWSS) MPU Men’s Political Union for Women’s Enfranchisement. MLWS Men’s League for Women’s Suffrage NCSWS New Constitutional Society for Women’s Suffrage NIPWSS National Industrial and Professional

in Vanishing for the vote
Byron and Italian Catholicism
Bernard Beatty

This chapter documents the evolution of Byron’s personal and poetic relationship with Catholicism from what was presumably his first real encounter with it at Newstead Abbey in 1798 through to the final cantos of Don Juan and the figure of Aurora Raby. Detailing and exploring Byron’s experience of Italian friars, priests, cardinal legates, a pope and, most importantly, Italian Catholic women, the chapter suggests that, in Catholic Italy, spiritually, Byron found ‘something sensible to grasp at’. Ranging across Byron’s poetic career, the chapter sees the poet begin as a John Knox in response to Catholicism but progressively become not only a thinker of theological precision but also a ‘sympathetic outsider’ and, indeed, even an insider to Italian Catholic experience

in Byron and Italy
Barbra Mann Wall

This chapter analyses shifting dynamics within medical missionary work in Nigeria, from support for British colonialism to humanitarianism. It explores Irish Catholic missionaries as nurses, midwives and physicians from c.1937-1970, to the end of the Nigerian Civil War in 1970. It uses unpublished documents to disentangle, although not disconnect, modern missionary work from colonialism. Using gender as a category of analysis it focuses on women’s work during the Nigerian civil war compared to men’s activities, and how the media focused on one but not the other. By giving voice to the “silenced” in history it argues that there was a significant Nigerian presence in relief work during the war, differing from most research which focuses only on the work of whites. Significantly, in the 1960s and 1970s, Catholic mission hospitals became sites for shifts in the understanding of mission during periods of violence and upheaval. As Catholic women renegotiated their place in an emerging decolonised world, complex relationships developed among Irish sisters, Nigerian nuns, priests, Nigerian chiefs and international peacekeepers. Whereas in the 1930s and 1940s, Catholic sisters saw Africa as a fertile ground for converts, over time the Catholic mission tradition liberalised to promote humanitarianism.

in Colonial caring
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David Geiringer

marriage in the post-war years, was not convinced by ‘repressive’ explanations of why Catholics persisted with NFP, or indeed their faith in general. Neither were Catholic women themselves. Catholic sexualities were certainly shaped by the governing structures of the clergy, doctrine and guilt, but not determined by them. Despite the wryly pessimistic tone, Lodge shows how Catholic men and women exerted a

in The Pope and the pill
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Carmen M. Mangion

objectives were clearly articulated in congregation constitutions which decreed that women religious laboured ‘for the salvation of souls’. As women religious, they were called to evangelise. Connecting these activities to their missionary identity is straightforward, but adding to their cache of identities a ‘professional identity’ can be, problematic and discomfiting. This difficulty is not associated solely with Catholic women religious. As Kathryn Gleadle observed in her work on nineteenth-century British women radicals and Unitarians, ‘Evangelical notions of women

in Contested identities
Cara Delay

, and strength, and all goodness to her dear ones, as well as to all who come within the reach of her influence.2 As this passage suggests, the gendered norms of the post-famine era highlighted women’s ‘natural’ roles as wives and mothers. Authors urged Irish Catholic women to focus their life’s efforts on the domestic sphere. There, women would create a peaceful and civilised religious space where they would influence their husbands, educate their children, and secure the future of the Irish Catholic nation.3 Education helped to create and enforce these norms. By the

in Irish women and the creation of modern Catholicism, 1850–1950