Gregory Linder

RELG-315 American Catholic History

Father Linh


Irish Catholic Girls in the Early Americas

The text that Colleen McDannell has put together seemed to be a very interesting document. It seems harsh some of the things out of this selection but when looked into it seems logical and reasonable.

An American author Mary Anne Sadlier wrote many things in the 1800's. Such works including "Bessy Conway" and "The Irish Girl in American" have helped Irish immigrants succeed in America. These books were composed to help keep Irish Catholics on the right path and to stay away from dances and pubs. These books were meant to inspire many Irish Catholics especially the Girls in society. The messages that were sent to these American citizens are to say your prayers, attend Sunday mass, and work hard and save your money. This was a good idea on the author's part. It not only told people what they should be doing, but it told them for their own life habits should be for following a life of Christ.

I happen to agree and disagree with the way these books were approached and marketed to the people. I think that the processes that are tried on the people are good because they keep them all in line. If there was not a book to tell people what was good and bad people would not worry about life's boundaries and go all crazy doing whatever they want. This would not be good in the eyes of the lord and they way that they practice their religion. So I understand why these books were put into place. I think that these writings were aimed at young girls to keep the purity of their lives intact. The society that was presently at the time did not want to have girls being promiscuous and flaunting themselves in the light of sin. They believed however that a woman could change others by changing herself. So with this belief they wanted women to be in control of their lives that is another reason why this was wrote to keep them in line and give some sort of a guide line.

Catholic mores were something that was talked about in a negative light in the book. This section talked of strong critiques of Irish Catholic culture. These catholic women must walk a narrow tight rope or rules and expectations. It also talked about how moral values to catholic women must aspire martyr like endurance. I agree with that at the time but if you were to look at things in the light of today these values would not be the same at all.

In analyzing these writings I find it interesting but logical. I understand why the author wrote them probably because she felt responsible for the women of the time.