for the Month of May’, various catechetical pamphlets, and a ‘Holy Week Book’ of devotions.98 At the same time, Catholic periodicals, such as the Catholic Bulletin, the Catholic Record of Waterford and Lismore, and the Irish Rosary featured detailed information about Catholicism and Church activities, from pilgrimage announcements and clerical obituaries to lists of women who contributed funds to the building of a new chapel. Some, such as the Irish Monthly, also published fiction and poetry with a suitable message.99 From the 1830s to the 1860s, James Duffy printed

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

precisely as literacy rates rose, contained devotional essays, poetry, and fiction centred on the Blessed Virgin.19 Reading material on the Virgin was ubiquitous by the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. The Song of Bernadette, published by Franz Werfel, became a best-selling novel in the 1940s.20 Teeming with warnings about modernity, these periodicals urged Irish women to find a suitable example in the Virgin Mary. The Southern Star in 1931 warned its readers that the dangers of the age in which they lived were unique. ‘There has never been a time in all the history of the world

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

353/6, Mary Power Laher to McCabe, 17 July 1882. 59 On the increasing power of the Church, see Larkin, ‘The devotional revolution’, pp. 625–52; Corish, The Irish Catholic Experience; and Keenan, The Catholic Church in Nineteenth-Century Ireland. women, priests, and power 235 60 Stuart McLean, The Event and Its Terrors: Ireland, Famine, Modernity (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2004), p. 130. Midnineteenth-century Irish poetry, literature, and imagery solidified the woman- (and often mother-) as-victim trope; see McLean, The Event and Its Terrors, p

in Irish women and the creation of modern Catholicism, 1850–1950
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the settlement in England of the olden conventual establishments, the Nuns were shunned and feared by the common people, except only those who came within the scope of their charity.9 This curiosity created what Philip Ingram refers to as a ‘professional leisure industry’10 which fed the insatiable desires of Protestants: plays, fiction, biographies, poetry, tracts and public lectures titillated the inquisitiveness and fears of the public.11 This curiosity could lead to situations that proved 8 Carmen M. Mangion, ‘Centre of a Maelstrom: Anglican Sisterhoods in

in Contested identities
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’, allowed women to speak and even shout.56 As they keened the dead, Irish women ‘incorporated extemporaneously composed, sung, oral elegiac poetry, interspersed with choruses of loud, wailing cries’.57 In Irish tradition, keening also was bound to the image of powerfully supernatural women: the goddess Brigid and the Banshee or otherworldly death messenger.58 In 1907, John Millington Synge, while visiting the remote Aran Islands, observed the keen as follows: After Mass this morning an old woman was buried. … While the grave was being opened the women sat among the flat

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