Sisters: Catholic Nuns and the Making of America

Sisters: Catholic Nuns and the Making of America

by John J. Fialka

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Sisters: Catholic Nuns and the Making of America by John J. Fialka

In the 1800s, nuns moved west with the frontier, building hospitals and schools in immigrant communities. They provided aid during the Chicago fire, cared for orphans and prostitutes during the California Gold Rush, and brought professional nursing skills to field hospitals on both sides of the Civil War.

In the 1900s, nuns built the nation's largest private school and hospital systems, and brought the Catholic Church into the Civil Rights movement. As their numbers began to decline in the 1970s, many sisters were forced to take professional jobs as lawyers, probation workers, and hospital executives because their salaries were needed to support older nuns, many of whom lacked a pension system. Currently there are about 65,000 sisters in America, down from 204,000 in 1968. Their median age is sixty-nine.

Nuns became the nation's first cadre of independent, professional women. Some nursed, some taught, and many created and managed new charitable organizations, including large hospitals and colleges. Sweeping in its scope and insight, Sisters reveals the spiritual wealth that these women invested in America.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312325961
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 12/17/2003
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 835,248
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.86(d)

About the Author

John J. Fialka is a reporter with the Wall Street Journal's Washington bureau. He lives in McLean Virginia.

Table of Contents

1.Spirited Women1
2."The Walkin' Nuns"20
3.Fanny and Her "Swans"36
4.Mother Exodus48
5."The North Ladies"58
6.Tale of Two Cities71
7.Mother and the Magdalens83
8.Wild in the West92
9.Cui Bono?106
10.Serfs and Turf119
11.Life in God's Mansion132
12.Breaking Mencken's Law145
13."There Should Be Uniformity"155
14.The Little Buds169
15.The Way We Were178
16.The Way We Weren't189
17.Over the Top199
21.Fighting for Life250
22.Becoming History262
23.Blasting Out of the Rough275
24.God of the Small284
26.The Road to St. Cecilia's311
27.No Time for Dancing325

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