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The New Orleans Sisters of the Holy Family: African American Missionaries to the Garifuna of Belize by Edward T. Brett
A lucid study of an African American sisterhood’s evolving concept of mission during a century of service
Utilizing previously ignored archival documents along with extensive personal correspondence and interviews, Edward T. Brett has written a history of the 110-year mission of the Sisters of the Holy Family to the Garifuna people of Belize. It is the story of an intrepid group of vowed African American religious women from New Orleans who learned how to effectively negotiate with the dominant white male power structure both within and outside of the Catholic Church. In so doing, they were not only able to survive but to thrive and make major contributions to their church and their race.
It is also a study of the successes and failures of the Holy Family Sisters’ venture into foreign missionary work and their century-long changing concept of what it means to be a missionary. The component of the book that deals with race makes it especially compelling, says Diane Batts Morrow (University of Georgia): “[Brett] analyzes in nuanced fashion how the common African descent of both the missionaries and their target population simultaneously facilitated and complicated their interactions. Scholarly works examining African American women religious remain exceedingly rare. This book adds to this worthwhile but extremely underserved area a unique focus on their missionary activities.”
Skillfully grounding his study in three streams of scholarly discourse—U.S. foreign mission history, African American Catholic history, and the history of women religious—Brett confronts the controversial issues of race, color, patriarchy, and class directly and with compassion.
Edward T. Brett is professor of history at La Roche College. He is the author and co-author of a number of books, including The U.S. Catholic Press on Central America: From Cold War Anticommunism to Social Justice, also published by the University of Notre Dame Press.
The New Orleans Sisters of the Holy Family: African American Missionaries to the Garifuna of Belize
Edward T. Brett
ISBN: 978-0-268-02230-3 / paperback edition 2012, $30.00
ISBN: 978-0-268-07588-0 / Ebook Perpetual Ownership, $21.00; Ebook 30-day Ownership, $7.00
To order The New Orleans Sisters of the Holy Family: African American Missionaries to the Garifuna of Belize, visit http://undpress.nd.edu/book/P01552
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