Growing Up Catholic in Mid-Twentieth-Century America
Mary Ellen O'Donnell uses examples from her own family's experiences to frame this story of change within an American Catholic life. Her analysis of the literature about pre-Vatican II Catholicism points to a perceived insular environment infused with religious authority in multiple contexts. The book includes a chapter about each of the three distinct, but linked, settings considered in the study—the institutional parish/school, the family home and the ethnic neighborhood. These places offered discrete introductions to and lessons about the faith, but they combined to constitute an enveloping Catholic world. As the larger institution of the Church was changing across the decades of the mid-twentieth-century, a generation of Catholics was being formed through particular details within daily routines. Ingrained Habits, through the literature it surveys, brings us to the classrooms and confessionals, kitchens and bedrooms, sidewalks and stoops where it happened.
"Ingrained Habits offers readers a new way of understanding what it meant to grow up Catholic in the mid-twentieth century. Using a variety of memoirs and novels—some of which are relatively unknown to many—O'Donnell offers a fresh approach to documenting the ways Catholicism in the United States was lived in the school, the home, and the community during the years immediately preceding Vatican II. The book is a welcome addition to the growing field of American Catholic Studies. -"—Margaret McGuinness, Professor of Religion, La Salle University
"Deftly captures the cultural memory of those who grew up with the structures and sway of mid-century Catholicism. Drawing on memoirs and other personal accounts, O'Donnell reveals how the experiences of parish, family, and neighborhood helped to forge an indelible sense of Catholic identity among members of that generation. It's a story whose cultural repercussions have had a profound influence on the history of U.S. Catholicism and which continues to bear on contemporary debates within the church today. –"—Thomas Rzeznik, Seton Hall University
Other Titles in HISTORY / United States / 20th Century