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Habits of Compassion: Irish Catholic Nuns and the Origins of New York's Welfare System, 1830-1920 (Women in American History) [Paperback]

by Maureen Fitzgerald
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

February 27, 2006 0252072820 978-0252072826
"Habits of Compassion" is a study of Irish-Catholic Sisters' tremendously successful work in founding charitable organizations in New York City from the famine through the early 20th century. Maureen Fitzgerald argues that it was these nuns' championing of the rights of the poor - especially poor women - that resulted in an explosion of state-supported services and programs. Unlike Protestant reformers who argued that aid should be meagre and provisional (based on means-testing) to avert widespread dependence, Irish-Catholic nuns argued instead that the poor should be aided as an act of compassion.Positioning the nuns' activism as resistance to the cultural hegemony of Protestantism, Fitzgerald contends that Catholic nuns offered strong and unequivocal moral leadership in condemning those who punished the poor for their poverty and unmarried women for sexual transgression. Fitzgerald discusses the communities of women to which the nuns belonged, the class-based hierarchies within the convents, the political power wielded by these female leaders in the city at large, and how, in conjunction with an Irish-Catholic political machine, they expanded public charities in the city on an unprecedented scale.

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Habits of Compassion: Irish Catholic Nuns and the Origins of New York's Welfare System, 1830-1920 (Women in American History) + People and Their Peace + What Comes Naturally: Miscegenation Law and the Making of Race in America
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Product Details

  • Series: Women in American History
  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press (February 27, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252072820
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252072826
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,559,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5.0 out of 5 stars Women of the cloth December 24, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What a beautiful book of how simple nuns were able to help women and children in the 1880's. Even though it was a male-priest dominated society, these uneducated women, clothed in black that only showed their face and hands and living under a medieval dictate were able to thrive. As a child I was taught by this order in New York City and always knew that these quiet women were a force to behold. Thank you, Sisters of Charity for quietly relieving the city's poor. Your history was and will never be taught in the Catholic schools. I always knew you could do anything you put your mind to.
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