Calling the Family Together

Cynthia Grant Tucker

in No Silent Witness

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780195390209
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199866670 | DOI:

Series: Religion in America

Calling the Family Together

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The scene is St. Louis, where William Greenleaf Eliot (1811–1887) has brought his bride, Abigail Adams Cranch (1817–1908), the namesake of her great aunt who lived in the White House. Raising a family and keeping them safe, the younger Abby's principal calling, becomes a rigorous test of her faith as she loses nine of her fourteen babies. When two of her sons are ordained and leave to shepherd their own flocks on opposite coasts, Abby's letters chase after them, throwing a wide net of motherly news from home and affection. She also keeps the family together by guarding the boundaries that set them apart from the unthinking people of faith and others less suited to share their social position. Her perceptions and fears of Catholics and foreigners, people of color, and blue‐collar workers betray a female complicity in liberal religion's hedging on its promised practice of parity and inclusion.

Keywords: Abigail Adams Cranch (1817–1887); William Greenleaf Eliot (1811–1887); Catholics and foreigners; people of color; blue‐collar workers; motherly love; guarding the boundaries; parity and inclusion

Chapter.  13498 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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