This book begins with Right Reverend Patrick Ludden's thoughts on the study of the past. “Too often,” Ludden observed, “it is his story, not history.” At the time, the bishop was exhorting historians to maintain absolute objectivity, to refuse to allow their “ontological training, religious prejudices, social environment or political predilections” to influence their interpretation of past lives and events. This advice may appear quaintly naive in a postmodern age, but the admonition of this nineteenth-century prelate still rings true in another context: historians of U.S. Catholicism continue to write “his” story, overlooking women as historical actors.
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