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Catholic nuns and sisters in a secular age

Britain, 1945–90

By Carmen M. Mangion

Catholic nuns and sisters in a secular age

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Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4046-3
  • Pages: 344
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: December 2019
  • BIC Category: HISTORY / Women, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain / 20th Century, RELIGION / History, Society & social sciences / Gender studies: women, Humanities / 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000, Humanities / British & Irish history, Humanities / History of religion, Religion
  • Series: Gender in History

Description

This is the first in-depth study of post-war female religious life. It draws on archival materials and a remarkable set of eighty interviews to place Catholic sisters and nuns at the heart of the turbulent 1960s, integrating their story of social change into a larger British and international one. Shedding new light on how religious bodies engaged in modernisation, it addresses themes such as the Modern Girl and youth culture, '1968', generational discourse, post-war modernity, the voluntary sector and the women's movement. Women religious were at the forefront of the Roman Catholic Church's movement of adaptation and renewal towards the world. This volume tells their stories in their own words.

Reviews

'A significant contribution to British social and cultural history, it adds a gendered and religious perspective to the understanding of social movements which emerged in the mid-twentieth century. The result is a landmark publication.'
History of Women Religious of Britain and Ireland

'Mangion skilfully deploys the stories of individual women religious to map the institutional changes taking place around them. [She] brings the women to life, revealing their hopes and fears, their humanity, how the ordinary can become extraordinary. An accessible book that achieves its aims and should have a wide appeal.'
Socialist History

'As the nuns and sisters who navigated this tumultuous period pass from living memory into historical memory, Mangion has produced a landmark study. This book is a marvel, in terms of its prodigious research, keen interpretation and lucid prose.'
Kathleen Cummings, University of Notre Dame

'This book is highly recommended. It is an illustration of how oral testimonies combined with a variety of sources can give historians a vivid insight into the changes that women religious underwent in the period 1945-90. A rewarding read, both in method and content.'
Jan De Maeyer, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

'Carmen Mangion's study is an original addition to the social and cultural history of post-war Britain. Deploying a wide range of source materials, Catholic nuns and sisters in a secular age provides us with a rich understanding of the impact that social changes and attitudinal shifts had on convent cultures - and in the process challenges a number of widely held beliefs about Catholic women religious in the modern era.'
Susan O'Brien, St Edmund's College, University of Cambridge

'This is an outstanding project which makes a highly significant contribution not only to the history of nuns and religious sisters in post-war Britain, but to the international history of Catholicism and the social and cultural history of the United Kingdom in the second half of the twentieth century.'
Susannah Riordan, University College Dublin

'Catholic Nuns and Sisters in a Secular Age, Britain 1945-90 adopts an innovative approach to the exploration of the lived experience of Catholic women religious in this period. Their experience is considered as part of a movement, organised for social change. This is related to other social movements of the time. A significant contribution to British social and cultural history, it adds a gendered and religious perspective to the understanding of social movements which emerged in the mid-twentieth century. [.] The result is a landmark publication.'
History of Women Religious of Britain and Ireland

Contents

1 Introduction
2 Before the Council: post-war modernity and religious vocations
3 The modern girl and religious life
4 Governance, authority and '1968'
5 Relationships, generation discourse and the 'turn to self'
6 The world in the cloister and the nun in the world
7 Local and global: changing ministries
8 Becoming a woman
9 Conclusion
Index

Author

Carmen M. Mangion is Senior Lecturer in Modern History at Birkbeck, University of London

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