This book offers a comprehensive examination of the generations of women who entered religious life in the United States after 1965. It provides up-to-date demographics for women's religious institutes; a summary of canon law locating religious life within the various forms of life in the Church; an analysis of Church documents on religious life; and data on the views of post-Vatican II entrants regarding ministry, identity, prayer, spirituality, the vows, and community. Beginning each chapter with an engaging narrative, the authors explore how different generations of Catholic women first became attracted to vowed religious life and what kinds of religious institutes they were seeking. By analyzing the results of extensive national surveys, the authors systematically examine how the new generations of Sisters differ from previous ones, and what those changes suggest about the future. The book concludes with recommendations for further understanding of generations within religious life and within the Church and society.
Because of its breadth and depth, this book will be regarded by scholars, the media, and practitioners as an essential resource for the sociological study of religious life for women in the United States.
Mary Johnson is a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur. She is Professor of Sociology and Religious Studies at Trinity Washington University in Washington, DC, and, before that, taught for nineteen years at Emmanuel College in Boston. Patricia Wittberg is a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati and Professor of Sociology at Indiana University-Purdue University. Mary Gautier is Research Associate Professor at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University.
Introduction ; Chapter 1: Religious Life in the United States: Toward a New Demographic Definition ; Chapter 2: Navigating the Contemporary Religious Landscape: Discerning Distinctions with a Difference ; Chapter 3: Priest and Prophet: Tensions in the Theories and Practices of Religious Life ; Chapter 4: Generations and their Cultures: Challenges and Possibilities ; Chapter 5: Identity: Distinguishing Elements ; Chapter 6: Prayer, Spirituality, and the Vows: The Common Core ; Chapter 7: Community and Ministry: Balancing Life and Work ; Chapter 8: Conclusion: Inviting the Future ; Appendix I: Research Studies Used in This Book ; Appendix II: Surveys ; Notes ; References ; Index
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