Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Ann Carey’s Sisters in Crisis: The Definitive Guide

Among the more important books released by Ignatius Press recently is an updated edition of Ann Carey’s Sisters in Crisis. Originally published in 1997, the initial study closed before the more dramatic efforts of the Vatican to reform women religious in the United States. The new 2013 edition, Sisters in Crisis Revisited: From Unraveling to Reform and Renewal, brings the chronicle up to date, including the Apostolic Visitation of Women Religious and the response to it, and the investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).

Carey’s work is no mere overview. It does not simply summarize the conclusions reached long ago by knowledgeable Catholic insiders. The author has done both comprehensive and meticulous research into the patterns of religious life in the United States between about 1950 and the present, enumerating the stresses and strains caused both by explosive growth in the mid-20th century and by the revolutionary secularization of religious culture as the century wore on. The reader gains a clear idea of why the Vatican was talking about the renewal of religious life even before the Second Vatican Council, why that renewal was very slow to be undertaken, and how a spirit of rebellion and dissolution overtook many religious communities after the Council, during the last third of the century.

UNITED STATES

Catholic Culture

By Dr. Jeff Mirus August 27, 2013

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