Roman Catholic Nuns in England and Wales, 1800-1937

A Social History

By Barbara Walsh

There is still considerable ignorance about the life and work of female religious communities in England and Wales. The influence of women who developed professional careers in education, health and social care, while at the same time dedicating themselves to religious life, is presented here with a wealth of material relating to their work. Many widely held misconceptions about nuns are dispelled by the author's analysis of the growth and distribution of the religious orders and congregations, the scope and scale of their work and the ensuing financial and recruitment demands. Nuns and sisters took hands-on responsibility for the building, running and staffing of large and complex institutions, hospitals and schools. Their services were not solely confined to the needs of the expanding Roman Catholic community but had an impact on the surrounding society at many levels. This book makes a novel contribution to our understanding of the provision of welfare services by non-state agencies. It explores the socio-economic origins of recruits and the importance of the contribution made by the nuns, many of them Irish women migrants, to educational and social development in England and Wales. Fully illustrated, it also provides maps and valuable tabulated data to open up this field of research for social history scholars and others interested in the achievements of these women.


248 pages

Publication Date: 11/1/2002
Format: Cloth
ISBN: 9780716527459