Journal Article

Canadian Women Religious' Negotiation of Feminism and Catholicism

Christine L. M. Gervais

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 73, issue 4, pages 384-410
Published in print December 2012 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online July 2012 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI:
Canadian Women Religious' Negotiation of Feminism and Catholicism

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How do women religious, who embrace both feminist orientations and Catholic traditions, negotiate these seemingly incompatible directions? I draw on interview data from 26 women religious from eight religious communities in the province of Ontario, Canada, to demonstrate that while they experience considerable tension between feminism and Catholicism, they also manage to integrate the two orientations. In doing so, the sisters transform their spiritual, governance, and activist practices. The findings illustrate how women religious, a population that is often assumed to be traditional and loyally compliant with their church, actually challenge some of their institutional religion's precepts and engage in feminist-based transformative strategies to effect change both within and outside the Roman Catholic Church.

Keywords: Canada; Catholicism; feminism/feminist scholarship; gender; identity; qualitative methods; spirituality; women religious

Journal Article.  11317 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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