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Carmen M. Mangion

identity formation is contingent upon culture, and within any one culture a diversity of subcultures exists. From this, we can posit that within the metaculture of Victorian life, Catholic women’s religious congregations formed one of many subcultures. An analysis of this subculture provides us with the tool for understanding the identity of women religious.18 The interaction between the individual nuns and the congregation, and the influence of the dominant culture in which they lived, shaped how their identity was created and maintained as well as how it shifted over

in Contested identities
Carmen Mangion

; articles and advertisements directed towards the Modern Girl addressed beauty, hair, skin and clothes. 14 As established in the previous chapter, the 1940s and 1950s Modern Girl had more diverse employment opportunities than her predecessors. 15 She was encouraged to find meaningful work: to teach, to nurse, to engage in social work. 16 Young women imbibed ‘the egalitarian and collective sentiments of social welfarism’ alongside the ‘equally powerful discourse of individualism and personal responsibility’. 17 By the 1960s, the discourse of youth subcultures brought

in Catholic nuns and sisters in a secular age
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Carmen Mangion

matters of politics or practices of faith. Catholics in Britain characterised themselves with a range of identities: as ‘recusant’ Catholics; English, Irish, Scottish or Welsh Catholics; convert Catholics; and from the 1950s European and colonial immigrant Catholics. Social class divides were a part of this mix. The extent of this ‘fortress church’ can be debated, but there is little disagreement that the disintegration of a separate Catholic subculture was hastened after the Second World War. 72 Catholicism remains almost invisible in post-war British histories

in Catholic nuns and sisters in a secular age
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Post-war modernity and religious vocations
Carmen Mangion

and the home front and in educational institutions. 26 The persistent denunciations against ‘mixed marriages’ suggests these long-term liaisons also perpetuated fears of the breakdown of a Catholic subculture. 27 The Catholic laity was growing in numbers and diversity from the 1940s with an influx of Catholics, converts and immigrants from Ireland, Eastern Europe and the colonies. Vocation story How did this changing social world influence the young women who entered religious life? This section examines young women’s attitudes towards their religious vocation

in Catholic nuns and sisters in a secular age
Carmen Mangion

thought, particularly before the Second Vatican Council, the world was perceived to be tainted by opportunities for sinfulness. Religious life was seen to embody the sacred ideal of a ‘higher calling’ that sanctified suffering, valorised sacrifice and rejected modernity. The ideal of many in the Catholic hierarchy was of a ‘fortress church’ that preserved a Catholic subculture and encouraged all Catholics to remain within Catholic institutions and structures for the preservation of their souls. 3 Such separateness often demonised the ‘modern world’ and encouraged the

in Catholic nuns and sisters in a secular age
Abstract only
Carmen Mangion

was a palpable hurt when they recounted feelings of rejection in the current lack of interest in religious life or the departures of aspirants. Is there a radical paradigm shift in the future? One recent study of new entrants to religious life in the United States suggests that a subculture of millennials who might be open to religious life will be difficult to attract unless extant religious institutes do a better job of understanding their beliefs, values, desires and preoccupations. 94 New types of religious intentional communities seem more attractive to

in Catholic nuns and sisters in a secular age