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Anna Insolio Corwin
Saint Mary's College of California (Moraga, CA 94575-2715)
Holding the Hand of God: ‘Successful Aging’ in A Catholic Convent

Writing of a study of Catholic nuns as they confront issues related to aging and the end of life.

Epidemiological research has found that Catholic nuns experience greater physical and psychological health outcomes than their peers. Nuns not only experience longer lives than their contemporaries, they also experience greater physical health and psychological health outcomes as they age. The proposed book focuses on the everyday lives of nuns to explore how prayer and social support shape the nuns’ experiences of aging, uncovering how everyday social interactions shape how these exemplars of ‘successful aging’ approach pain, illness, and the process of growing older. Through linguistic analysis of social interactions in the convent, the research illuminates how the nuns’ interactions with the divine and with each other promote the physical and psychological health benefits they experience as they age, ultimately finding that the nuns uphold a model of aging that encourages an acceptance of decline, and an ideology of aging that contrasts with the successful aging paradigm.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Anthropology; Linguistic Anthropology

Awards for Faculty

Research Programs

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2019 – 1/31/2020