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Catholic women religious in nineteenth-century England and Wales

Roman Catholic women's congregations are an enigma of nineteenth century social history. Over 10,000 women, establishing and managing significant Catholic educational, health care and social welfare institutions in England and Wales, have virtually disappeared from history. In nineteenth-century England, representations of women religious were ambiguous and contested from both within and without the convent. This book places women religious in the centre of nineteenth-century social history and reveals how religious activism shaped the identity of Catholic women religious. It is devoted to evolution of religious life and the early monastic life of the women. Catholic women were not pushed into becoming women religious. On the basis of their available options, they chose a path that best suited their personal, spiritual, economic and vocational needs. The postulancy and novitiate period formed a rite of passage that tested the vocation of each aspirant. The book explores the religious activism of women religious through their missionary identity and professional identity. The labour of these women was linked to their role as evangelisers. The book deals with the development of a congregation's corporate identity which brought together a disparate group of women under the banner of religious life. It looks specifically at class and ethnicity and the women who entered religious life, and identifies the source of authority for the congregation and the individual sister.

The Empire of Clouds in north-east India

In 1841, the Welsh sent their first missionary, Thomas Jones, to evangelise the tribal peoples of the Khasi Hills of north-east India. This book follows Jones from rural Wales to Cherrapunji, the wettest place on earth and now one of the most Christianised parts of India. It is about the piety and practices, the perceptions and prejudices of people in early nineteenth century Wales. The book is also about the ways in which the religious ambitions of those same people operated upon the lives and ideas of indigenous societies of the distant Khasi Hills of north-eastern India. It foregrounds broader political, scientific, racial and military ideologies that mobilised the Khasi Hills into an interconnected network of imperial control. Its themes are universal: crises of authority, the loneliness of geographical isolation, sexual scandal, greed and exploitation, personal and institutional dogma, individual and group morality. In analysing the individual lives that flash in and out of this history, the book is a performance within the effort to break down the many dimensions of distance that the imperial scene prescribes. It pays attention to a 'networked conception of imperial interconnection'. The book discusses Jones's evangelising among the Khasis as well as his conflicts with church and state authority. It also discusses some aspects of the micro-politics of mission and state in the two decades immediately following Thomas Jones's death. While the Welsh missionary impact was significant, its 'success' or indeed its novelty, needs to be measured against the pre-existing activities of British imperialists.

Medicine, and oral and print culture

in Wales from the first editions of 1658 and onwards as late as the nineteenth century.40 Deeply rooted in oral traditions, and also written using dialects local to Carmarthenshire and Glamorgan, the brevity of Prichard’s verses made them easy to commit to memory and equally easily disseminated verbally.41 Many elements of oral culture also drew strongly from the printed word. Through oral channels such as minstrelsy and public recitation of ballads, even the unlettered poor could access a far greater range of ideas than might be expected.42 In medical terms, much

in Physick and the family

. 4 Augustus Earle, Wentworth Falls (1830) Britain’s relationship with Australia and New Zealand in the latter part of the eighteenth and the first half of the nineteenth century was broadly external in the sense that it was one between a major colonizing power and its colonized ‘other’. The England-Wales

in Cultural identities and the aesthetics of Britishness
The Welsh in Asia, c.1700–1815

the nineteenth century and in the first decade of the twentieth century. 5 Gwyn Alf Williams has argued that imperialism played a fundamental role in the emergence of modern Wales. The development of large-scale coal and metallurgical industries meant that by the 1790s South Wales played an integral part in the Atlantic economy. The influence of colonial markets helped to drive substantial migration within and immigration to Wales, inducing a spate of linguistic, social and cultural changes that continue to define the

in Wales and the British overseas empire

some extent in nineteenth century Ireland and Wales, but the collapse in Gaelic-speaking in northern Scotland was much greater and more rapid than in either Wales or Ireland. Between 1891 and 1901, for instance, the bilingual population as a proportion of the entire population fell by 5.3 per cent in Wales, remained stable in Ireland but declined by over 18 per cent in Scotland, and this pattern was maintained throughout the first half of the twentieth century. Between 1931 and 1951, the proportion of the bilingual population was reduced by no less than 66 per cent

in Clanship to crofters’ war
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, was a shared responsibility, and we should not necessarily see women as the sole providers of medical care and treatment within the home. At all levels of Welsh society, the main arena for sickness was undoubtedly the sufferer’s home. There were few formal places of medical care available in Wales beyond the home until the nineteenth century. The lack of large towns in Wales meant that, unlike even provincial English towns such as Bristol, where the infirmary appeared as early as 1736, formalised medical care was not an option for the majority of the population.3 In

in Physick and the family
Patagonia as a land of broken Welsh promise

constituent of that identity and of the decision to emigrate to Patagonia. Writing about emigrants to America from Treherbert in the Rhondda Valley during the second half of the nineteenth century, for example, André Poulin underlines that ‘the migration question provoked a particular controversy in Wales’, and that it was ‘very quickly assimilated to debates about language’. 10 Despite the fact that Wales

in Imperial expectations and realities
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’s religious and moral vocation were reconciled uneasily with the notion of the female professional.’ Religious activism, even if parochial, extended the boundaries of their identity and propelled many women religious into roles as administrators, educators and health care professionals.3 These professional roles became an important facet of their 1 2 3 An earlier version of this chapter was published as Carmen M. Mangion, ‘“Good Teacher” or “Good Religious”?: The Professional Identity of Catholic Women Religious in Nineteenth-Century England and Wales’, Women’s History

in Contested identities
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Professional stress and suicide

particularly weak in the early nineteenth century when there could be a substantial shortfall of suicides reported against inquests held.11 Its efficacy as an indicator of registered suicide can be checked for the later nineteenth century, however, against the statistics compiled by William Ogle for 1873–82. Local registrars in England and Wales were required to send notification of practitioners’ deaths to the Medical Register Office, to ensure that the published Register governed by the General Medical Council was updated, and Ogle used these returns to determine that

in Medical misadventure in an age of professionalisation, 1780–1890