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Monica Lynn Mercado
Colgate University (Hamilton, NY 13346-1386)
The Young Catholic: Girlhood and the Making of American Catholicism, 1836-1911

Research and writing a book on the experiences of young Catholic women in the United States during the 19th century.

Breaking from histories of 19th-century U.S. Catholicism that center anti-Catholic narratives about women and girls, my book project The Young Catholic: Girlhood and the Making of American Catholicism, 1836-1911, refocuses on Catholics’ own understandings of themselves. Using a rich but overlooked set of print and manuscript sources (the vast output of a vibrant U.S. Catholic publishing industry and the convent school pedagogies, book clubs, and reading retreats that grew up around it) I illustrate the formation of a Catholic cultural identity and argue for the special role of young women as makers of class and status for their upwardly mobile, second- and third-generation Catholic families. Given a recent resurgence of interest in the world of the convent school, and contributing to the rich historiography of U.S. Catholic laywomen, this project gives voice to the girls shaped in religious institutions, whose futures were expected to shape the Roman Catholic Church in America.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
History of Religion; U.S. History; Women's History

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/10/2019 – 8/9/2019