Catholic Women of Congo-Brazzaville explores the changing relationship between women and the Catholic Church from the establishment of the first mission stations in the late 1880s to the present. Phyllis M. Martin emphasizes the social identity of mothers and the practice of motherhood, a prime concern of Congolese women, as they individually and collectively made sense of their place within the Church. Martin traces women's early resistance to missionary overtures and church schools, and follows their relationship with missionary Sisters, their later embrace of church-sponsored education, their participation in popular Catholicism, and the formation of women's fraternities. As they drew together as mothers and sisters, Martin asserts, women began to affirm their place in a male-dominated institution. Covering more than a century of often turbulent times, this rich and readable book examines an era of far-reaching social change in Central Africa.
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