The voices of Catholicwomen in Ireland,
This chapter sets out to detect the voices of those Catholicwomen who
managed to make themselves heard by a wider audience than family and
friends in Ireland in the years between the Act of Union and independence/partition. It looks at women whose words and deeds had an impact
in the so-called public sphere – organisational management, work
which gave them authority over others (teaching, nursing, social work/
philanthropy) campaigning, politics and writing. In paying attention to
Identity is contingent and dynamic, constituting and reconstituting subjects with political effects. This book explores the implications of Protestant and 'British' incursions for the development of Irish Catholic identity as preserved in Irish language texts from the early modern period until the end of Stuart pretensions. Questions of citizenship, belonging, migration, conflict, security, peace and subjectivity are examined through social construction, post-colonialism, and gendered lenses from an interdisciplinary perspective. The book explains the issue of cultural Catholicism in the later middle ages, by way of devotional cults and practices. It examines Catholic unionism vis-a-vis Victorian politics, military and imperial service, the crown, and the position of the Catholic Church with relation to the structures of the state in Ireland. In particular the North American experience and especially the importance of the USA for consolidating a particular interpretation of Irish Catholic nationalist identity, is explored. Children studied in English Catholic public schools like Stonyhurst and Downside where the establishment Irish Catholics and rising mercantile classes sought to have the characteristics of the Catholic gentleman instilled in their progeny. The book sets out to detect the voices of those Catholic women who managed to make themselves heard by a wider audience than family and friends in Ireland in the years between the Act of Union of 1800 and independence/partition. It considers what devotional interests both Gaelic Irish and Anglo-Norman actually shared in common as part of a wider late medieval Catholic culture.
Voluntary women’s organisations and the representation of housewives, mothers and citizens
this aspect of the MU’s work, its engagement with
the notion of citizenship for women and its agency in participating in
national campaigns to secure a better future for its members, which will
be discussed and evaluated in the following chapters.
The CatholicWomen’s League
The increasing number of middle-class women participating in philanthropic, religious and educational work during the late nineteenth century
resulted in the proliferation of mothers’ meetings, new voluntary women’s
groups and organisations for young women. By the end of the century
a number of
of The CatholicWomen’s League
Magazine that a debate on equal pay for equal work had taken place at a
meeting of the Westminster Diocesan Branch and the motion in favour
had been carried by a large majority.96 There is no evidence to suggest,
housewives and citizens
however, that either group ever contemplated a national campaign in
order to bring about this legislative change.
The TG also refused to support officially the EPCC’s campaign on the
grounds that it was a political question. The Guild did
Voluntary women’s organisations and the women’s movement 1950–64
Britain 1945–1964 (London: Rivers Oram Press, 1999), p. 3 cited in Langhamer, ‘The
Meanings of Home’, p. 361.
6 WL, 5/FWI/A/2/2/07, Box 40, NFWI Archive, Annual Report 1955, BL, Mothers’ Union
Handbook, 1955, BL, National Union of Townswomen’s Guilds Annual Report, 1955, The
CatholicWomen’s League Magazine, 499 (March–April 1955), p. 2, BL, ‘Memorandum
Submitted by the NCW to the Royal Commission on Marriage and Divorce’, Paper No.
83, Thursday 6 November 1952.
7 The Mothers’ Union Workers’ Paper (July 1950), p. 68.
8 WL, 5/FWI/A/2
her worldwide devotion after her death in 1897 and
through the globalisation of her cult in the first three decades of the twentieth century.2
Focusing on the pivotal part played by Father Thomas Nimmo Taylor (1873–1963)
in the beatification process, and the part played by other bishops and clergy throughout
Britain, including both Lancashire and London, this chapter also explores the role of
ordinary Catholicwomen and men in the ‘making’ of devotion to this now ubiquitous
saint. British Catholics were foundational to the evolution of the fin de siècle cult of the
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.
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.
Abbreviations used in the Gazetteer
Actresses’ Franchise League
Artists’ Suffrage League
CathWS CatholicWomen’s Suffrage Society
Church League for Women’s Suffrage
CUWFA Conservative and Unionist Women’s Franchise Association
FCLWS Free Church League for Women’s Suffrage
Independent Labour Party
London Society for Women’s Suffrage (NUWSS)
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
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.