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Products for Grant FT-56922-09

FT-56922-09
Catholic Women in Modern America: Gender, Race, Religion and the National Council of Catholic Women, 1918-1929
Jeanne Petit, Hope College

Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=FT-56922-09

“Up Against a Stone Wall: Gender, Power and the National Catholic Community Houses” (Article)
Title: “Up Against a Stone Wall: Gender, Power and the National Catholic Community Houses”
Author: Jeanne Petit
Abstract: This article is about the rise and fall of the National Catholic Community Houses, institutions created by the National Catholic War Council (NCWC) and run by Catholic laywomen. It explores how Catholic laywomen sought to take advantage of the opportunities the post World War I era offered to create a viable national institutions and how forces outside and within their Church undermined their efforts. I delineate three interrelated problems these women faced. First, while the bishops and priests of the NCWC did willingly support the creation of women-run institutions, they stopped far short of the idea of making them women-controlled institutions. Second, while the women who ran the houses had ambitions that they would take their place as equals in the world of social work, their defensive attitudes undermined by their efforts to build useful networks with Protestant and secular social workers, as well as Catholic nuns, who had far greater experience in the field. Finally, Catholic laywomen struggled to run these national institutions within local dioceses and parishes where priests and bishops aggressively protected their territory. The combination of these factors meant that Catholic laywomen who ran the National Catholic Community houses were continually running into stone walls.
Year: 2012
Primary URL: http://https://acs.journals.villanova.edu/article/view/1428/0
Primary URL Description: American Catholic Studies Website
Secondary URL: http://https://muse.jhu.edu/article/483730/figure/img04
Secondary URL Description: Project Muse
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: American Catholic Studies

“What Challenges Did Catholic Laywomen Face When They Took up Social Work in Post-World War I East St. Louis?” (Web Resources)
Title: “What Challenges Did Catholic Laywomen Face When They Took up Social Work in Post-World War I East St. Louis?”
Author: Jeanne Petit
Abstract: This web project provides sources and analysis for the National Catholic Community house in East St. Louis, Illinois, between 1918-1923. This house was started by the National Catholic War Council and taken over by the National Council of Catholic women. The women social workers in the house worked to Americanize immigrants and provide housing to working women.
Year: 2010
Primary URL: http://womhist.alexanderstreet.com/eslncch/abstract.htm
Primary URL Description: subscription website

“Working for God, Country, and “Our Poor Mexicans”: Catholic Women and Americanization at the San Antonio National Catholic Community House, 1919-1924” (Article)
Title: “Working for God, Country, and “Our Poor Mexicans”: Catholic Women and Americanization at the San Antonio National Catholic Community House, 1919-1924”
Author: Jeanne Petit
Abstract: The article discusses the role that the National Catholic War Council (NCWC), which was renamed the National Catholic Welfare Council (NCCW) played in establishing the community center known as National Catholic Community House in San Antonio, Texas from 1919 through 1924, with a particular focus on its efforts to Americanize Mexican immigrants within the city. The role that American Catholic women played in the Community House, including in regard to educator, administrator, and Executive Secretary of the NCCW Agnes Regan, is discussed.
Year: 2015
Primary URL: http://web.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?vid=3&sid=05eccb86-b298-4661-8a8c-3a2b9c2fdfaa%40sessionmgr4006&hid=4114&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=101551799&db=31h
Primary URL Description: JSTORE
Access Model: subscription
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Journal of American Ethnic History
Publisher: University of Illinois Press

“‘Up against a Stone Wall’: Gender, Power and the National Catholic Community Houses” (Conference/Institute/Seminar)
Title: “‘Up against a Stone Wall’: Gender, Power and the National Catholic Community Houses”
Author: Jeanne Petit
Abstract: This paper explores the struggles American Catholic women faced when they tried to create national organizations for Catholic women. During the suffrage era, a time when women’s organizations were gaining unprecedented political and social influence, American Catholic laywomen wanted their voices recognized in the national debates of the day. They faced, however, both structural and cultural barriers in their attempts to do this. I will focus on three interconnected problems the women who worked on the Community House project had to confront. First, and most significantly, these laywomen had to battle both passive and active resistance of the patriarchal hierarchy who undermined the women’s control over Community Houses. Second, they had to negotiate complex parish and diocesan politics as well as deal with priests and bishops who resisted any attempts of outsiders to have influence over the Catholics in their jurisdictions. Finally, they had to fight for respect from other women activists who viewed Catholics as backward, anti-feminist and possibly un-American. Ultimately, these problems stymied the ability of Catholic laywomen to achieve their potential on the national stage.
Date Range: 2011
Location: American Historical Association Meeting, Boston, MA

“Religion, Race, and Catholic Women’s Community Work in San Antonio, Texas, 1918-1924” (Conference/Institute/Seminar)
Title: “Religion, Race, and Catholic Women’s Community Work in San Antonio, Texas, 1918-1924”
Author: Jeanne Petit
Abstract: This paper will examine the racial dynamics in the religious work of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) and the women of the National Catholic War Council (NCWC). During World War I, the YWCA established an immigrant aid station to do outreach work among Mexican Americans in San Antonio, Texas. Fearing that the evangelical Protestant group would try to proselytize Hispanic Catholics, the Women’s Committee of the NCWC established a National Catholic Community House in San Antonio soon after. Both organizations sent native-born, Euro-American women to run their programs, but these workers expressed strikingly different attitudes towards the Mexican Americans among whom they were working. The YWCA women framed their work as one of breaking down racial barriers. As one YWCA field worker said, “there is no more important work that can be done in the South and Southwest than the obliteration of racial prejudice which now exists between American and the Mexican immigrant.” The women who ran the National Catholic Community House, on the other hand, established policies that maintained racial hierarchies. When one NCWC worker was seen in public with a young Mexican-American man, her superior said, “This is a great mistake in this community as the Mexicans are not accepted as equals, and anyone seen in public with them handicaps herself and brings criticism on the work.”
Date Range: June, 2011
Location: Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, Amherst, MA

“Competing for the Souls of Catholic Immigrants: The Immigration Work of the National Council of Catholic Women, 1918-1929” (Conference/Institute/Seminar)
Title: “Competing for the Souls of Catholic Immigrants: The Immigration Work of the National Council of Catholic Women, 1918-1929”
Author: Jeanne Petit
Abstract: This paper examines how laywomen of the NCCW engaged in immigration work. I begin with an analysis of the local work NCCW women did with Italian and Polish immigrants in the post World War I period and then turn to the ways NCCW women participated in national immigration debates in the 1920s. As Weadick’s quote reveals, the women of the NCCW were motivated by desire to protect immigrants from non-Catholic influences. But the speeches, reports, and private correspondence of the NCCW members reveal other motives as well. They sought to be as respected as other native-born American reformers when it came to debates about Americanization, restriction and quotas while proving to the all-male hierarchy that Catholic women needed a national presence in order to defend Church interests. Overall, by competing for the souls of Catholic immigrants, the women of the NCCW were also making a case for their right to speak as both American citizens and as essential members of the American Catholic Church.
Date Range: June, 2014
Location: Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, Toronto, ON

“Protestants, Catholics, and Jews in World War I America: The 1918 United War Work Campaign” (Conference/Institute/Seminar)
Title: “Protestants, Catholics, and Jews in World War I America: The 1918 United War Work Campaign”
Author: Jeanne Petit
Abstract: This paper examined the ways the YMCA, the Knights of Columbus, and the Jewish Welfare Board became involved in war work during World War I and ultimately participated in an interfaith fundraising campaign, called The United War Work Campaign.
Date Range: 2015
Location: Organization of American Historians, St. Louis, MO


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