Title"Nun's the word"
NameRoegiers, Natasha (author), Pellegrin, Nicole (chair), Swenson, Jim (co-chair), Allamand, Carole (internal member), Diamond, Josephine (internal member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
Christianity and literature--Belgium--History--19th century,
Catholic Church--Belgium--History--19th century,
Belgium--Church history--19th century
DescriptionMy dissertation research proposes a transdisciplinary investigation encompassing historical and literary analyses of religious biographies of nuns that contributed to and participated in the recatholicization of Belgium throughout the 19th century. Specifically, I examine the rhetorical strategies used in early 19th century Belgian biographies of founders and restorers of post-revolutionary congregations and how they were pivotal in the restoration of the Catholic faith contributing toward Belgium's independence in 1830 and toward the political victory of Catholics in Belgium by 1884.
My literary analysis examines how the writing of religious biographies recatholicizes while acknowledging the problematic issues of control and authority in writing. This research reveals a specific Belgian religious rhetorical strategy that promoted Belgian identity as inseparable from being Catholic. As platforms to political and social agendas, the religious biographies reveal an evolution in offensive and defensive rhetorical strategies toward Enlightenment dechristianization by placing emphasis on the reader's intellectual reasoning. As spiritual platforms, the innovative use of images and words produce a devotional text that engages the reader in his spirituality. The results of this research will then question the traditional classification of these religious texts in the genre of 'biography' and ponder whether they should in fact be part of Belgian literature or biographical history canons.
My historical investigation reflects upon the social and political effects of spiritual biographical writing and seeks to analyze what the lives of nuns indicate about the revolutionary, post-revolutionary, and independent period in Belgium from 1789-1933. Specifically, it will reveal how and why congregations flourished following their suppression during the revolution; what changes were implicated in the re-foundation of some pre-revolutionary congregations; what new visions of newly founded post-revolutionary congregations helped redefine the Catholic Church's mission; and lastly why religious women rather than the traditional biographical figure of clergy members became the new muse for Catholic restoration.
In my dissertation I argue that religious biographies were not only used as weapons to counteract the anti-catholic agendas, but also served to incite nationalistic ideals under very discreet, unsuspicious titles such as, The Life of Julie Billiart, Founder of the Institute of Notre-Dame of Namur.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 349-351)
Noteby Natasha Roegiers
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work