Catherine Spalding, SCN: A Life in Letters

Catherine Spalding, SCN: A Life in Letters

by Mary Ellen Doyle


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At the age of nineteen, Catherine Spalding (1793—1858) ventured into what would become a lifetime of leadership with the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth (SCN) — one of the most significant American religious communities for women. As a cofounder and first superior of the order, she dedicated her life to developing and improving health care, services for orphans, and education on the early frontier. Her contributions had a lasting impact on Catholicism, the state of Kentucky, and the many people whose lives she touched.

Mary Ellen Doyle supplements her definitive biography of the influential educator and humanitarian, Pioneer Spirit, with this meticulously edited and annotated volume. The collected correspondence illustrates Spalding's exemplary character and the scope of her day-to-day life as an administrator. Together, the letters reveal a new picture of Spalding's personality and drive, her insights, her trials, and her world as mother superior. The collection also gives readers a valuable glimpse of antebellum life in Kentucky and the wider south.

Doyle presents the correspondence chronologically, following Spalding through key stages in her career from the founding of the SCN to her final years, as she turned to quieter cares. She provides essential historical context and information about Spalding's various correspondents, and she also analyzes the significance of letters missing from the collection. Catherine Spalding, SCN brings the SCN founder's words to a broader audience and offers readers new perspectives on both the world in which she lived and frontier faith.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813168845
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Publication date: 12/09/2016
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Mary Ellen Doyle, SCN, is formerly a professor at several colleges, primarily Spalding University. She is the author of numerous books, including Pioneer Spirit: Catherine Spalding, Sister of Charity of Nazareth.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Chronology of Mother Catherine's Life xix

The Correspondence

1 Foundation Years, 1812-1838 3

2 Mother and Administrator, 1838-1844 33

3 Louisville Mission, 1844-1850 101

4 Development at Nazareth, 1850-1856 175

5 Final Years, 1856-1858 269

Acknowledgments 291


A Recipients of Letters from Mother Catherine 293

B Cosigners of Letter to Bishop Flaget, July 6, 1841 299

Sources and Bibliography 309

Index 313

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