Colleen Gray is adjunct professor, Canadian history, Queen's University.
The Congregation de Notre-Dame, Superiors, and the Paradox of Power, 1693-1796by Colleen Gray
Gray focuses on the
Nuns have often been portrayed as nascent feminists wielding an exceptional amount of power. In this formative study of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame - a religious community of uncloistered women established in Montreal in 1657 - Colleen Gray presents a more nuanced view of the foundations and exercise of power within the convent.
Gray focuses on the social, administrative, political, and spiritual dimensions of the lives of three Congrégation superiors - Marie Barbier, Marie-Josèphe Maugue-Garreau, and Marie Raizenne. By exploring the implications of the hierarchies of power within the convent and providing a thorough analysis of the convent's relationship with the social, religious, and governmental structures that surrounded it - taking into account both medieval and Catholic Reformation Europe and seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Canada - Gray reveals the paradoxes inherent in the position of a female superior within the male-dominated sphere of both the church and the larger secular community.
The Congrégation de Notre-Dame, Superiors, and the Paradox of Power, 1693-1796 not only reconstructs a vanished world but also provides great insight into the organization of institutional structures and the complex aspects of power within them.
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