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A Glimpse of American Catholic Life in the 1940's PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Saturday, 27 February 2010 08:19
Cottage cheese breakfast at 4 am in Colorado Springs, a skinny caramel latte while blogging in Salt Lake City at 8, lunch in Los Angeles. I'm trying to take in the astonishing way of life that technology makes possible this morning.

While I share this revealing passage in a National Catholic Reporter article this morning that shows another facet of real life in 1940's American Catholicism (see my recent post "A People Without A History")

"In 1945, when Mary Paul heard God’s call to religious life, she could not enter any community of women religious in her hometown of Philadelphia, including the Sisters of Mercy. Not because her vocation was untrue, but because she was a person of color. At the time, women of color in the city were referred to three orders: the Oblate Sisters of Providence in Baltimore, the Franciscan Handmaids of Mary in Harlem, N.Y., or the Sisters of the Holy Family in New Orleans -- communities comprised mostly of women of color. Paul entered the Baltimore order. Her story is the story of many other women of color who were refused entrance to so-called “white” communities."

Just a year later, however, Mother Mary Bernard became the superior of the Merion Regional Community of the Sisters of Mercy in Philadelphia. Bernard asked her novices to pray for the entrance of a “colored sister” into the community. And in 1956, after being educated by the Mercy sisters in high school, Sr. Cora Marie Billings, Paul’s niece, entered the community and Bernard’s prayers were answered."

 

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