How Nuns Shaped Catholic Culture and American Life, 1836-1920
Carol K. Coburn
Focusing on the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, one of the largest and most diverse American sisterhoods, Carol Coburn and Martha Smith explore how nuns directly influenced the lives of millions of Americans, both Catholic and non-Catholic, through their work in schools, hospitals, orphanages, and other social service institutions. Far from functioning as passive handmaidens for Catholic clergy and parishes, nuns created, financed, and administered these institutions, struggling with, and at times resisting, male secular and clerical authority.
A rich and multifaceted narrative, Spirited Lives illuminates the intersection of gender, religion, and power in nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century America.