Now showing 1 - 5 of 5
  • Publication
    'Je suis d'aucune Nation': the recruitment and identity of Irish women religious in the international mission field, c. 1840-1940
    (Taylor and Francis, 2013-07-08)
    This article examines the lives of Irish-born women religious around the world in the period 1840–1940. Ireland sent thousands of nuns overseas as teachers and missionaries, to work in schools, orphanages and hospitals in Sub-Saharan Africa, South East Asia, the Americas, Australia and Europe. Looking at contemporaneous views of missionary work, recruitment to religious life and the social conditions for Irish women during and after the years of the Great Famine, the article determines some of the attractions of religious life for Irish women, and the expression of their Irish identity to be found in convents internationally. The article concludes with comments on the bifurcated identity of Irish women religious who, though first and foremost members of particular religious orders, were often identified by others as 'Irish Nuns'.
      2113Scopus© Citations 16
  • Publication
    The legacy of a pioneer of female education in Ireland: tercentennial considerations of Nano Nagle and Presentation schooling
    This article examines some of the legacy of the Irish education pioneer Nano Nagle, foundress of the Presentation congregation of nuns. The congregation spread rapidly in the nineteenth century, not only in Ireland but also in Newfoundland, India, England, Tasmania, Australia and continental North America. This year, Presentation schools globally mark the tercentenary of Nagle’s birth, and it is therefore timely to consider approaches to writing about her life and her contribution to education. The article discusses existing biographical studies of Nagle and argues that a more nuanced study of this educator and her legacy is possible, through the careful and systematic use of convent archives and oral histories. The article considers how such research can offer new perspectives on the agency and innovation of individual teaching Sisters, and on ways in which these women became resilient and adaptable, in order to function effectively within a patriarchal Church.
    Scopus© Citations 2  588
  • Publication
    “Un-Irish and un-Catholic”: sports, physical education and girls’ schooling
    (Taylor & Francis, 2019-03-07) ;
    This article charts the development of physical education and sports in girls’ schools in Ireland during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It notes how early developments were undoubtedly influenced by traditions and practices in English public schools, with games such as hockey and cricket becoming popular in Irish girls’ schools. The “Swedish” gymnastics movement, which became popular the 1870s, led to the introduction of callisthenics and drill in many Irish schools. By the turn of the twentieth century, drill and dance displays had become a highlight in the convent school calendar of events. Official policy following the introduction of the Revised Programme for National Schools (1900) placed unprecedented emphasis on the importance of physical education. While many embraced these developments, others were critical of girls’ involvement in competitive games and sports, particularly those considered “foreign” and “un-Irish”. Drawing on convent school archives, official sources, and newspaper articles, this article provides new insights into the evolution of physical education and sports in Irish girls’ schools.
    Scopus© Citations 6  399
  • Publication
    The 'mission' of nuns in female education in Ireland, c. 1850-1950
    (Taylor and Francis, 2012)
    This article provides a review and critique of scholarship on female education in Ireland, arguing that researchers have provided a consensual narrative in which women religious (nuns) played a central role in providing academic education to girls and higher education to women. The tendency has been to claim the activities of women religious as part of the impetus that drove the organised women’s movement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and that brought about a 'revolution' in female education. But there remains a need to stand back from this decidedly secular 'cause and effect' narrative, and turn a critical eye on the urge which congregations themselves identified as central to their mission in education. This is a revisionist perspective, qualifying and modifying claims made elsewhere by this author, and challenging the way in which the work of nuns in education has been interpreted as a part of the female education 'revolution'. Recognising the spiritual impulse within religious orders that found expression in acts of duty, vocation and mission, the article concludes that convent education had purposes that were quite distinct from those prescribed by official 'state' education programmes and examination systems, and that these purposes demand greater scrutiny in order to provide a more balanced understanding of female education in Ireland.
    Scopus© Citations 17  1015
  • Publication
    Rebels with a cause: obedience, resistance and convent life, 1800-1940
    (Taylor and Francis, 2013)
    This article examines the biographies and personal records of nineteenth-century Catholic nuns who worked in education, with a view to determining how they reconciled their individuality with the demands of religious life. Their resistance to rules, and the ways in which they wrestled with the vow of obedience, is examined. The roles of the Novice Mistress and the Superior in teaching and managing the members of their religious communities are explored, with particular reference to three orders of women religious.
    Scopus© Citations 7  735