lives but also in their interactions with priests.33 Priests, however, often found troublesome women threatening to their own authority and to the order of the parish. Legends and stories were part and parcel of the oral life of the laity in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and they provided rural Catholics with rich material for their powerful rhetorical performances.34 Oral narratives document the local effects of the ‘devotional revolution’, testifying to the resistance and thus lay–clerical conflicts that resulted from the Church’s reorganisation

in Irish women and the creation of modern Catholicism, 1850–1950
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training. Not only did it teach practical domestic skills, but it taught, especially for those women of a higher class, humility and obedience. It weeded out postulants who were not suited for religious life. Dutiful performance of manual labour showed the resilience of the postulant. Necrologies lauded women who achieved this level of self-abnegation. Theresa Hadfield’s necrology indicates that ‘nothing appalled her, not even manual labor of which she knew very little; 14 The Little Office of Our Lady is a liturgical devotion to the Blessed Virgin. It is a shorter

in Contested identities

, performance, and the lay-clerical relationship in modern Catholic Ireland’, Journal of British Studies 53: 2 (April 2014), pp. 426–52. 25 Ignatius Murphy, The Diocese of Killaloe, 1850–1904 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 1995), p. 400. 26 Corish, The Irish Catholic Experience, p. 201; Joseph Nugent, ‘Producing priestliness’ (PhD dissertation, University of California Berkeley, 2004), pp. 15–16; Joseph Valente, The Myth of Manliness in Irish National Culture, 1880–1922 (Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2010); Delay, ‘“Language which will move their hearts”’; and

in Irish women and the creation of modern Catholicism, 1850–1950
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estimation of their bishop, by being more orderly and better behaved than the children of a neighbouring parish’.114 When bishops wrote about the results of their examination in their diaries or visitation notes, they were quick to evaluate, and compare, children’s performances. Bishop David Moriarty wrote in 1855 that the children in Tralee were ‘so badly instructed’ that he ‘confirmed only two privately’. In 1860, however, there were signs of hope: the ‘many grown persons’ still performed badly, but the 614 children were knowledgeable about the catechism. By the 1864

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

meaning out of ordinary objects. They also created their own religious hierarchy; although careful not to overlook Jesus, they placed ‘Our Lady’ at the top of this hierarchy. By recalling the ‘sense of drama’ associated with the building of the May altar, Taylor also alluded to the ways in which Catholic girls performed both their gender and their faith, as well as the reality that they made the home the site of these performances. Building shrines and altars fostered girls’ devotion to the tangible aspects of their faith. In the case of Marian altars, they also helped

in Irish women and the creation of modern Catholicism, 1850–1950
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Anthology of Women’s Writing Volume IV, p. 602. 61 Má ire Ní  Ghuithí n, Bean an Oileá  in (1986), in The Field Day Anthology of Women’s Writing Volume IV, pp. 1406–7. 62 Alice Taylor, Country Days (New York, NY: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1993), pp. 12–13. 63 Wolf, An Irish-Speaking Island, pp. 220–1. 64 O’Dwyer, Mary: A History of Devotion in Ireland, p. 210. 65 Rev. Michael D. Forrest, M.S.C, The Rosary (New York, NY: The Paulist Press, 1926), p. 13. Patricia Lysaght, ‘Attitudes to the rosary and its performance in Donegal in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries’, Bé

in Irish women and the creation of modern Catholicism, 1850–1950
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tradition, lasting through the early twentieth centuries in some remote parts of the north, south, and west, keening (an oral lament) was an essential component of the wake. Practiced exclusively by women, keening epitomises gender and space 187 Irish women’s traditional autonomy and power in death rituals. Not only in Ireland but also across time and space, ‘ritual lamentation has been part of the role performance of women and a central element of their culture’.55 In Ireland, keening, which anthropologist E. Moore Quinn calls a ‘form of verbal explosiveness

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

. Prayer was integral to religious life as a support to both inner spirituality and the ministerial work of a religious institute. The times of prayer were clearly demarcated in the horarium; community and silent prayer were allocated to particular times of the day and linked to the common life of a community. For enclosed, contemplative orders, the performance of the Divine Office at specific times throughout the day and night was essential to their identities as religious. Religious congregations with active ministries such as teaching and nursing were not bound to

in Catholic nuns and sisters in a secular age