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 L. Gautier is Senior Research Associate and Research Associate Professor at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University.
"[New Generations of Catholic Sisters] is well-written and provides a needed analysis of recent female entrants to religious life."--Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
"This book is an outstanding example of sociology at the service of life! The authors have engaged a topic of vital interest to all segments of the Church--apostolic women's religious life--and analyzed its current state, potential future, and ultimate significance with remarkable insight. A must-read for anyone who cares about the 'new evangelization.'" --Doris Gottemoeller, R.S.M., Past President of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
"Seldom does one encounter a work with such broad resources and balanced analysis as is provided by the authors of New Generations of Catholic Sisters
. They examine the topic of vocations to women's religious congregations from every conceivable angle, concluding with a striking section on implications for the future. This book is essential reading for women religious and for all who have benefitted from the ministry of sisters." -Katarina Schuth, O.S.F., Endowed Chair for the Social Scientific Study of Religion, University of St. Thomas, Minnesota
"Over the years, I've read and heard a lot of consternation, prognostication, and simplifications about Catholic sisters. But, alas, I have not come across much empirically astute and theoretically nimble analysis of them--until now. With their rich data, thoughtful comparisons (especially among generational cohorts) and plain good sense, this team of scholars provides us with an extremely nuanced and well-written account of U.S.-based nuns today." -Jerome P. Baggett, author of Sense of the Faithful: How American Catholics Live Their Faith
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