Notre Dame de Namur of Wigan by featuring photographs of ‘Britain’s Most Modern House’. The new convent included ‘modern conveniences’ such as a lift, and sisters were residing in their own bedrooms with hot and cold running water, a mirror and a wardrobe cupboard. The article concluded by suggesting that ‘Picture windows and oil-fired central heating destroy forever the dark, cold and cheerless convent image.’ 70 Catholic critique of convent austerity reflected some of the public attitudes to the rigours of religious life.
Figure 5.2 Canonesses of the Holy
particular British context and contextualises the changing dimensions of women’s religious life in Britain within the historiographies of post-war Britain, Catholicism in Britain and the Second Vatican Council, exploring how religious bodies engaged in modernisation and reinvigorated (or not) their global presence. The aftermath of the Second World War led to a slow and cautious reconstruction, an austerity Britain with rationing and queues and the introduction of the welfare state. Full employment, growing affluence, youth culture, educational opportunities and increased
many social groups, unsettled by wartime upheavals and austerities. Enclosed nuns appeared most affected by both poverty and a waning interest in religious life. The autonomous governance structures of contemplative orders such as the Poor Clares, Benedictines and Bridgettines encouraged a seclusion and self-sufficiency that nourished a contemplative lifestyle. Each community was financially and operationally self-supporting, ruled by an abbess and lived behind cloistered walls. Some relied on dowries, others on benefactions and alms; and as much as possible they
peace, the stones will cry out’. That is to say, if the clergy grow dumb in showing the secular branch in word as in deed that the way is hard, then like the stones they will shout out, harshly and with a certain austerity, that Christ is God and man, who should be imitated in his order by all of the faithful. And thus, Christ made up his church out of three parts. 77 He wanted the first, which is the clergy, to be priests, and for them to be associates of deacons and be integrated with them. The achievement of that integration would lead to the perfection of the