Tuesday Book Review: Catholic Nuns and the Making of America

By | Dec 8, 2009

While Catholic Nuns and the Making of America primarily centers around the Sisters of Mercy, the author, John Fialka really wanted to tell the history of Catholic Sisters’ contribution to our country.  He chose the Sisters of Mercy as an example of the continued wealth that more then 400 orders brought to our history.

While I found some of  Fialka’s writing to be a bit dry, the subject matter was anything but.  Bringing together the words of the Sisters themselves with statistics and history, gives life to what otherwise might be a dry recitation.  It’s not just all the hospitals and schools run by the Sisters, but their individual devotion to their students and patients.  For much of our history, often the only health care or education for the poor came from selfless Sisters who spent untold hours working in desperate conditions to provide for their charges.

Fialka also delves somewhat into the causes of the current loss of numbers in American religious life, as well as what hopes there are for the future of religious life in America.  More than anything, though, the book celebrates the greatness of what so many Sisters have provided to all of us, Catholic or otherwise. Fialka’s book is well worth the reading time. If you’re a woman discerning your vocation, this book will be a treasure.

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