The History of Women Religious in the United States

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The History of Women Religious in the United States

  • Professor, Syracuse University
18 Lectures (7 CDs) Including Electronic Study Guide
Audio CD Set:

Regular Price: $159.95

Special Price $63.95

Audio Download:

Regular Price: $159.95

Special Price $63.95

Availability: In stock

Regular Price: $159.95

Special Price $63.95

Availability: In stock.

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Audio Sample:

The year 2009 marks the bicentennial of the founding of the first apostolic sisters in the United States: St. Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton's Sisters of Charity.

To a great extent, when we think about what the Catholic church in America is all about, we think about the contributions of sisters- the parochial school system, hundreds of hospitals, untold numbers of charitable organizations founded and staffed by sisters. These ministries have transformed the lives of millions of Catholics and the social and humanitarian character of the nation itself.

Now, you can explore the remarkable personal stories of these sisters, and the great ministries and institutions they made possible. This vital history has until now been largely inaccessible. Through reading hundreds of books, visiting over 6-dozen congregational archives, and interviewing countless sisters, Professor Thompson is able to share with you a wealth of knowledge and insight.

Through 18 lively rich lectures, you'll explore the origins of women's religious life, the often treacherous foundlings of the first North American communities, the lives of pioneer nuns, ethnic and assimilation issues, tensions with clergy, Vatican II and its impacts, current circumstances, and much more.

You will find this course surprising, fascinating, well researched, and enjoyable.


Your Free Electronic Study Guide! When you order this course, we will send you a free electronic study guide that you can access in 3 convenient ways:

1) You can check your order confirmation email. It will include a link that enables you to download your guide.
2) The back of your program package also contains a copy of this link. You can access your guide by simply entering this URL into your browser.
3) Your case of CDs or DVDs will contain a copy of your electronic guide on CD. Simply insert this disc into your computer's CD/DVD drive to access your guide.

Topic Titles
Topic Titles
  • Discovering Foremothers: Origins of Women's Religious Life
  • From Enclosure to Apostolate: the Counter-Reformation Impulse
  • New World Initiatives: Spanish and French Colonial Precedents
  • From New Orleans to Maryland: Religious Roots in North America
  • Patterns of Founding: Transplantation, Adaptations and New Births
  • Early Struggles and Sacrifices
  • Living the Life of a Pioneer American Nun
  • What Did They DO? New Country, New Conditions, New Ministries
  • Ethnicity and Assimilation: Preserving the Old Culture and Americanization
  • Charism and Personality: Individuals as Shapers of Communities
  • 'Father' Didn't Always Know Best: Relations and Tensions with the Clergy: Part I
  • 'Father' Didn't Always Know Best: Relations and Tensions with the Clergy: Part II
  • Success and Standardization: Myth and Reality of 'Traditional' Religious Life
  • World of our (Grand?) Mothers: Sisters on the Brink of Vatican II
  • Vatican II and its Aftermath: Why Did Things Change SO Much?
  • Quantity or Quality? Where Did All the Sisters GO?
  • Reaction and Response: Adjusting to New Circumstances to the Future- or IS There a Future for Women's Religious Life in America?
About Your Presenter

Dr. Margaret Susan Thompson is a professor of history at Syracuse University, where she also holds appointments in the departments of religion, political science, and women & gender studies and is also a Senior Research Associate at Campbell Public Affairs Institute. She has an AB from Smith College, and an MA and PhD in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has written and spoken extensively on the history of women's religious life in the United States. Her research has taken her to the archives of over 60 congregations across the U.S. Dr. Thompson is also an expert on presidential and legislative history, and a former American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow. Her upcoming book, The Yoke of Grace: American Nuns and Social Change, 1809-1917 will be published by Oxford University Press.

Customer Reviews (0)
I am impressed with her scholarship and grasp of the reality of women religious and their life.
Margaret Thompson has excellent information, I am impressed with her scholarship and grasp of the reality of women religious and their life. Review by Sr. Mary (Posted on 9/4/2015)
Meaningful and Enjoyable
Dr. Thompson’s extensive research in the archives of over 60 congregations of women religious is crystallized and shared very meaningfully in her lectures. Thompson tells the amazing story of many of our foremothers and the small circles of women around them who changed the face of the Church in the United States. I enjoyed every lecture; outstanding memories include the discussion of charism and call to ministry, the challenge to name in our history which were the most inspirational times and which were the most successful, and what those conclusions reveal. Finally, listening to these lectures expands as well as undergirds an appreciation for the present exhibit of the history of women religious: “Women and Spirit.” Review by Sister Imelda Maurer, C.D.P. (Posted on 10/1/2012)
Fascinating, Inspiring and Witty
Margaret Thompson's tapes are an outstanding contribution to the understanding of many issues across the fields of American history, history of American Catholicism, history of Sisters in USA and Canada, women's studies. The stories are fascinating, inspiring, witty, and in some cases shocking and poinant. Thompson's development of issues such as motivation, mission effectiveness, and style of authority is done through the power of narrative and creative integration of primary sources. Colleagues, friends, and students have borrowed my copies after hearing about these women.

Review by Joann Wolski Conn (Posted on 10/1/2012)
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