The Common Good

Nuns on the Frontier

In the current controversy between the Vatican and U.S. religious women, a short history showing that it’s nothing new. Professor emerita of history Anne M. Butler tells the story:

In the 19th century, Catholic nuns literally built the church in the American West, braving hardship and grueling circumstances to establish missions, set up classrooms and lead lives of calm in a chaotic world marked by corruption, criminality and illness. Their determination in the face of a male hierarchy that, then as now, frequently exploited and disdained them was a demonstration of their resilient faith in a church struggling to adapt itself to change.