April 2010

in GRAF Newsletters
April 1st, 2010

@ Phyllis M. Martin (*) is the author of “Catholic Women of Congo-Brazzaville: Mothers and Sisters in Troubled Times” (Indiana University Press, 2009; 280 pages, photos, maps – ISBN-13: 978-0-253-22055-4) The book 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. The author 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. She 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, women began to affirm their place in a male-dominated institution.