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By Anne M. Butler

Roman Catholic sisters first traveled to the yankee West as companies of social providers, schooling, and clinical advice. In Across God's Frontiers, Anne M. Butler lines the ways that sisters challenged and reconfigured modern rules approximately ladies, paintings, faith, and the West; additionally, she demonstrates how non secular existence turned a motor vehicle for expanding women's organization and power.
relocating to the West brought major adjustments for those girls, together with public employment and carefully unconventional monastic lives. As nuns and sisters adjusted to new situations and immersed themselves in rugged environments, Butler argues, the West formed them; and during their labors and charities, the sisters in flip formed the West. those woman spiritual pioneers equipped associations, brokered relationships among Indigenous peoples and encroaching settlers, and undertook different occupations, frequently with out prepared investment or direct aid from the church hierarchy. A finished heritage of Roman Catholic nuns and sisters within the American West, Across God's Frontiers finds Catholic sisters as dynamic and inventive architects of civic and spiritual associations in western communities.

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At St. Catherine’s school in New Mexico, when one of the older Native boys slipped out of the building and deliberately frightened a group of sleeping Indians, the ensuing ruckus terrified an Irish caretaker. In the morning, the superior listened to the long complaint of the outraged Irishman and dutifully took the offending student aside for a scolding. ”64 In times of danger and fear, nuns typically called on their well-­developed sense of humor to dispense with the tension. Even disastrous events, such as the December 1907 fire that destroyed the girls’ dormitory and threatened the rest of the campus at St.

Mother St. Pierre, however, seized on her appointment and emerged as an aggressive expansionist who traveled widely, built connections in Mexico, ruled her congregation with an intensely personal manner, and solidified the place of the San Antonio Incarnate Word sisters in the Southwest among Anglos and Mexicans. When Mother St. Pierre died in 1891, having fallen out with clergy overseers, she had opened schools, hospitals, and orphanages across Texas and Mexico; she was forty-­ six years old. Mother St.

After the boarding students presented a tableaux of the Nativity, with one student as the infant Jesus, the presents were passed to the children. Recitations, songs, and music rounded out the entertainment. The following holiday season, the superior granted the nuns, whose duties scattered them about the school, several days of recreation during the vacation, causing Nuns for the West : 27 one to note, “We are so seldom united . . ”60 These celebrations held more cultural meaning for the nuns than for their Native students, but the pleasure of distractions and gifts charged life with shared laughter.

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