This groundbreaking exposé of the mistreatment of nuns by the Catholic Church reveals a history of unfulfilled promises, misuse of clerical power, and a devastating failure to recognize the singular contributions of these religious women.
The Roman Catholic Church in America has lost nearly 100,000 religious sisters in the last forty years, a much greater loss than the priesthood. While the explanation is partly cultural—contemporary women have more choices in work and life—Kenneth Briggs contends that the rapid disappearance of convents can be traced directly to the Church’s betrayal of the promises of reform made by the Second Vatican Council.
In Double Crossed , Briggs documents the pattern of marginalization and exploitation that has reduced nuns to second-, even third-class citizens within the Catholic Church. America’s religious sisters were remarkable, adventurous women. They educated children, managed health care of the sick, and reached out to the poor and homeless. They went to universities and into executive chairs. Their efforts and successes, however, brought little appreciation from the Church, which demeaned their roles, deprived them of power, and placed them under the absolute authority of the all-male clergy.
Replete with quotations from nuns and former nuns, Double Crossed uncovers a dark secret at the heart of the Catholic Church. Their voices and Briggs’s research provide compelling insights into why the number of religious sisters has declined so precipitously in recent decades—and why, unless reforms are introduced, nuns may vanish forever in America.
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|Title of eBook: Double Crossed|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Doubleday Publishing|
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|Parent title||Double Crossed|
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Making Waves in Kansas
Toting a small hoe and pruning sheers, Sister Agatha Grosdidier crept her way along the flower beds straddling the massive stone Ursuline convent in Paola, Kansas, bending to paw the earth and clip a useless twig. She was lean and large boned with a broad, handsome face. A plain black head covering that fell back to the nape of her neck-a veil-was the only outward sign that she was a nun. The profusion of roses, irises, tulips, jonquils, wild sweet Williams, poppies, bluebells, and tiger lilies, among others, was her doing. Her love of tending flowers dated back to her childhood spent on a Kansas farm. It was a passion that she later saw as helping her to nurture children in the classroom.
When she wasn't digging in the dirt, Sister Grosdidier answered the convent phone or sewed aprons. In 1995, she was ninety-five years old, the eldest of the sisters. For nearly seventy-five of those years, she had been an Ursuline sister in Paola, a farming town forty miles south of Kansas City. Her chronology coincided remarkably with the history of the sisters' community. She was born five years after the Paola community's founding by thirteen nuns and three postulants, or trainees, and had lived to celebrate its hundredth anniversary in 1995.
Sister Grosdidier was the kind of sturdy survivor who attracts accolades such as "remarkable" or "awesome." She was astonishingly robust, with a sparkle still dancing in her eyes. Her health had been so resilient that an insurance man, noting that no claims had been filed under her name, called the convent to ask if Sister Agatha was still alive. She loved tacos, spicy foods, and c