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Our Lady of Perpetual Help, gender roles, and the decline of devotional Catholicism.

For twenty years following 1930 Catholic women and men flocked to St. Philomena church in Pittsburgh's east end to participate in the novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. In doing so, they joined with thousands of other Catholics across America performing devotions to perhaps the most popular religious icon of the twentieth century.(1) Though the priests at St. Philomena had long encouraged parishioners to support the devotion, it grew to great popularity when the pastor, Father Meighan, began the perpetual weekly novena in 1930.(2) From that point on, Catholics could attend any series of nine consecutive Wednesday services which included a sermon, public prayers and hymns, blessing of the sick, benediction, and then veneration of the painting at the Communion rail.(3) They attended in greater and greater numbers. Eventually, the ritual proved so popular that Father Meighan had to schedule five separate meeting times each Wednesday to accommodate the pressing demand. At its height of popularity, parishioners attended at 8:30 in the morning, 3:00 in the afternoon, and at 6:00, 7:00, or 8:00 in the evening. He encouraged other parishes to begin devotions to Our Lady of Perpetual Help as well, both to relieve the pressure on his parish and to spread the veneration even more widely. By 1939, forty-four parishes and convents in the Pittsburgh diocese offered weekly novenas of their own.(4) Still the crowds came to St. Philomena's every Wednesday, so that each session averaged 340 participants, exceeding the small church's seating capacity. On some special occasions, such as the 1933 Immaculate Conception novena, 4,000 Catholics crowded in and around the church for nine consecutive weeks.(5)

But in 1950 the crowds began to thin. In fact, their numbers declined so rapidly that by the end of the decade the once popular devotion drew only 40 percent of the 1950 attendance. The trend continued unmistakably and dramatically, so that over the next two decades attendance dwindled to only 10 percent of the 1950 average.(6) What caused this decline in attendance? Why did a devotional practice so popular for two decades preceding 1950 fail to draw Catholics in the decades following?

The answers to these questions provide a window through which we can view a much broader transformation in American Catholic religious sensibility that began in the wake of World War II and continued throughout the 1950s. The pattern identified here suggests that the 1950s were not the conservative, tradition-bound years we once thought, but rather a dynamic and tumultuous decade. If this proves true, then the dramatic transformation in American Catholicism of the past few decades began at least ten years before the Second Vatican Council.

Similarly, the changes in participation levels in the Our Lady of Perpetual Help devotion indicate that American women's ideology of gender may have changed before the feminist movement of the 1960s and 70s. Our study indicates that Catholic women who once embraced a ritual that affirmed their roles as passive nurturers increasingly rejected that feminine ideal. That they did so in the years before the rebirth of the feminist movement suggests that they had begun to redefine their lives earlier than we previously believed.

Exploring the Decline

Attendance at the perpetual novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help had undergone fluctuations before, but these changes resulted from readily identified causes. For example, the Depression pushed attendance upward to over 3,000 participants weekly, with an all-time high annual average coming in 1936, when Pittsburghers experienced the exacerbating effects of a dramatic flood that rendered 100,000 residents homeless.(7) World War II kept attendance lower than it otherwise would have been because Catholics observed travel restrictions that wartime gasoline and rubber rationing necessitated.(8)

But the 1950s decline defies ready explanation. The Redemptorist priests who ran the parish continued to emphasize the devotion fervently throughout the decade, so that parishioners and others could have perceived no lessening of official sanction and encouragement for the practice. The parish introduced no alternative devotion in the period to draw potential participants away from the novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The Parish population fluctuated a bit through the decade, but remained relatively stable and could not explain the steep decline in attendance.

Catholics all across America appear to have abandoned devotional rituals by 1980, and the decline in this Pittsburgh parish likely fits into this broader trend. But most studies identify the Second Vatican Council as the cause of the decline in American devotional behaviors, and thereby suggest that the decline only began after 1962. The Notre Dame study of parish life since Vatican II, for example, argues that "there has been a significant shift in Catholic devotional patterns since Vatican II," but then admits that "we have no hard data" from the 1950s "with which to compare the new findings" from recent years. Still the authors have "no doubt a significant decrease has taken place in the observance of pre-Vatican II devotions and the emergence of a new style of devotion since the Council."(9) Similarly, Rosemary Radford Ruether argues that the "prime influence" on the decline of Marian devotions in the United States "was the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, which were positively received and broadly implemented in American Catholicism."(10) Maurice Hamington claims that the Second Vatican Council initiated a crisis in Mariology that caused a "reduction in popular devotion," and Margaret Hebblethwaite argues that Vatican II caused a "revolution of thought" that "hit all these traditional practices hard."(11) Robert Orsi suggests that reform-minded Catholics, infused with a new religious sensibility from the conciliar period, consciously destroyed still popular devotions in order to move American Catholics to a new religious orientation. Orsi goes so far as to suggest that Vatican II-inspired reformers met grassroots resistance to their efforts to diminish the Church's emphasis on devotions, and that they resorted to mockery, taunting, and dismissiveness in a "bitter internecine conflict."(12) But weekly attendance at the novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help had already fallen by two thirds by the fall of 1962, when the council convened, so the decline in devotional behavior in Pittsburgh clearly cannot be attributed to anything initiated at the Council.13 Average Catholics rejected the Our Lady of Perpetual Help devotion, without any of the bullying tactics Orsi describes, in the years before the Council even met.

Another body of literature addresses profound changes in the religious lives of American Catholics (though it does not specifically treat devotional behaviors); and these works point to the election of John XXIII as Pope in 1958 and the upheaval of American culture in the 1960s as agents of the transformation in American Catholic sensibility.(14) Obviously, these sources cannot account for the decline in the devotions at St. Philomena's either.

In fact, all of these studies would suggest that the early decline in the Our Lady of Perpetual Help devotional practice was unique. But additional data suggest that Catholics abandoned other devotions in Pittsburgh in the 1950s as well.(15) No obvious explanation indicates that Pittsburgh Catholics deviated from national trends in devotional participation. The very absence of good data on participation in devotions in the 1950s suggests that national declines began well before 1962. We have to look at reasons other than Vatican II or the social upheaval of the 1960s to explain the decline in the devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The causes we identify may have led to declines in devotions nationwide, and we suggest that the decade preceding the Council saw the beginnings of the dramatic ideological transformation so often misattributed to the Council.

Mary and Ideology

Representations of Mary have always carried heavy ideological freight. Tradition holds that St. Luke painted the first Madonna and child, and subsequent paintings, we know, were objects of great reverence for many Christians.(16) Portraits of Mary came to represent orthodoxy itself after the Council of Ephesus in 431, which sanctioned Mary's status as "Theotokos," or "Bearer of God," in order to dispute Nestorius's view that Jesus's divine and human natures were not inseparably joined in one person.(17) Images of the Madonna and Child thereafter "became the expression of orthodox faith." Indeed, Anna Jameson writes,

[e]veryone who wished to prove his hatred of the arch-heretic [Nestorius] exhibited the image of the maternal Virgin holding in her arms the Infant Godhead, either in his house as a picture, or embroidered on his garments, or on his furniture, on his personal ornaments - in short, wherever it could be introduced.(18)

The popularity of Mary's image paralleled the spread of orthodoxy over the next 300 years. Jane Dillenberger discusses how portraits of Mary figured in broader changes between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, as the paintings shifted from a balance of the natural and supernatural to a greater emphasis on the natural.(19) Clearly, whatever real spiritual effect these portraits had, as cultural artifacts they also carried broad ideological significance. For example, the Council of Trent made Mariology a rallying point against Protestantism, and icons played a significant role in the struggle. One icon, sponsored by the Jesuits, depicted the Virgin and Child surrounded by "dead and dying heretics," including Luther and Calvin.(20) Representations of Mary - literary, visual, and others have long been tools in the construction and maintenance of ideology.

The Eastern Church readily incorporated icons into their worship, but the Western Church resisted such devotions for fear they might become idol worship. Even so, the Western Church allowed devotions if the icon itself had supernatural powers or was the agent through which God or a saint acted in the world.(21) An object's provenance confirmed its power and thereby permitted devotion to it, so Western icons typically came with self-justifying histories recounting their miraculous powers.

Western icons, then, provide three texts worth studying: the icon's provenance, the painting or object itself, and the text instructing people how to perform rituals devoted to the icon. One volume brought all three of these texts together for Our Lady of Perpetual Help. This book, the Sketch of the Miraculous Image and the Confraternity of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and St. Alphonsus, tells the official history of the painting - what we might more properly call its mythology - and of the Confraternity; reproduces an image of the icon, complete with a detailed interpretation of its features; and regulates devotions to the icon through a number of official prayers and a prescribed method of making a proper novena. The Reverend Joseph A. Chapoton, a Redemptorist priest in Portland, Oregon, compiled the book from "approved sources" and published it in 1927, shortly before the Confraternity surged in Pittsburgh. St. Philomena parish used Chapoton's book to support its devotion and then supplemented it with texts printed in 1935 and 1948, and both of these latter two texts derived from Chapoton's work. By supplementing our historical study with a literary analysis of Chapoton's book we can see that the devotion asserted powerful messages about gender and social order that at first comforted and then troubled participants, and which ultimately explain its incredible popularity and rapid demise.

The Provenance of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and the Feminine Ideal

The history of the devotion necessarily begins with the story of the painting itself. The icon, a Madonna and child, is at least as old as the fifteenth century, when residents of Crete revered it. A merchant moved it to Rome in about 1495, and others had it placed in St. Matthew's, an Augustinian Church in Rome, in 1499. People attributed many miracles to the icon while it was in Italy until, in 1798, the French, occupying Rome, razed St. Matthew's. The Augustinians hid the picture in a private chapel in St. Eusebius's church, where it remained in oblivion for roughly two generations.(22) A Redemptorist priest discovered the painting in 1840, but it did not appear again in public until 1866, this time in the Roman church of St. Alphonsus when Pius IX ordered the Augustinians to trade the painting to the Redemptorists for another icon.(23) The Redemptorists quickly spread the devotion, with papal support, to their parishes and missions across the world. The order sent out "authentic" copies of the icon to help encourage the devotion among those who could not visit the original painting in Rome. St. Philomena's parish in Pittsburgh, a Redemptorist church, received its copy in 1871, the same year that a worldwide Confraternity was established to coordinate and regulate the devotions. The Redemptorist priests displayed the authentic copy of the original painting in the downtown parish church, and then took the painting with them in 1923 to their new church when they relocated the parish to the city's eastern end.(24) Within ten years of this move the Redemptorists generated strong support for the devotion among Pittsburgh Catholics. This much seems to be true.

But the Sketch provides a richer provenance for the painting in its first section. It begins near the end of the fifteenth century, when a "pious and wealthy merchant" of Crete left that island, fearing the Turks. He took the picture, which was already "venerated as miraculous," with him to Rome, where he intended to pause only briefly on his way to another city. But Mary wanted the icon to remain in Rome, so she afflicted the merchant with a disease. On his deathbed, the merchant instructed his host to take care of the picture and see that it be displayed in a church. The host promised to comply, but after the merchant died he broke his promise because his wife wanted to keep the icon in their house. The Virgin visited the man three times and told him to put the icon in a church. Three times he promised that he would, and three times he could not muster the courage to contradict his wife. Finally, "divine patience was exhausted" and the Virgin declared "That I may get out of this house, you will get out of it first." She killed the host with a disease.

The lesson for husbands is not hard to figure out. The wife might have caused her husband's death through her selfish disregard for both Mary's wishes and her husband's welfare. And the husband might have been willing to give up the picture, and he genuinely feared the consequences of not doing so. Even so, the ultimate blame for his death rests on his own shoulders, for he failed to assert his authority over his wife. He neglected his role as household head. And by indicating that Mary precipitated the man's death, Chapoton also implies that she might do the same to others who resist her intentions.(25) For anyone unable to recognize his point, Chapoton provides the obvious moral: "This was a terrible but a just judgment on the man who, rather than displease his wife, preferred to displease and disobey the Mother of God, the Queen of Heaven."(26)

The bulk of the narrative and the deepest moral lessons are reserved for women. After the husband's death, the wife inherited the picture, and, though she saw her husband killed for keeping the icon, she deluded herself into believing the painting "could be nowhere so safe as under her own roof." She procrastinated. But her "young and sinless daughter" told the mother of a vision of a "wonderful" and "beautiful" woman who insisted that "Our Lady of Perpetual Help wishes to be placed in a church." The widow finally assented, but she encountered another obstacle: a "wicked woman" dropped by, and with "blasphemous reasoning" tried to persuade the wife that she was being superstitious. Instantly the wicked visitor was stricken with "violent pains," which left her only after she prayed to the Virgin and touched the icon. This final sign was irresistible. The widow repented and sent the painting to a church designated by the Virgin through the mouth of the "guileless" daughter. Our Lady of Perpetual Help for the next three hundred years "continued to be the medium of wonderful graces and miracles."(27)

We need hardly belabor the Chapoton's lesson here. The wife/widow is clearly the protagonist of the narrative. Not only does she occupy the largest part of the story, but she is the only character to undergo a moral change. If we were to treat the story as a morality tale, the chief lesson would be for wives rather than for husbands. And if men were encouraged to dominate their wives, women learned to be selfless, to surrender to the larger community that which they most treasured. This theme, and particularly the emphasis on lessons for women, is not peculiar to Our Lady of Perpetual Help; it is common to almost all devotions to Mary, which by their very structure convey strong messages about women's ideal role in society. Women should sublimate their will to others.

That this message is for women becomes more obvious when we compare this episode to a later one in the icon's official history. Chapoton recounts that in 1863 the superior-general of the Redemptorists knew of the picture and, though he "was as anxious as any member of the order to obtain the miraculous picture for St. Alphonsus' church," for two years he did nothing, procrastinating even longer than the wife/widow did. The reasons for his delay remains unclear, and Chapoton, a Redemptorist himself, would have been understandably reluctant to criticize a former head of the order. Pressed by "entreaties" he finally yielded and asked Plus IX to deliver the portrait.(28) Though Chapoton is oblivious to the irony, we find it significant that the Virgin never urges this man to move more quickly nor does she punish him for his inaction. These failures emphasize all the more that the selfless role is prescribed for women only.

What we have discussed so far are the fairly obvious messages - the lessons Chapoton surely expected his readers to recognize and learn. These lessons were common to any number of other behavioral manuals that delineated gender roles for Catholics in the middle of this century.(29) A less obvious meaning corresponds to the conflict between the Church and modern materialist society, which is played out in what a literary critic would call the "subtext" of Chapoton's narrative. In the character of the "wicked woman," the Redemptorists acknowledge a grave threat to their version of reality. The wicked woman used "blasphemous reasoning" to characterize the icon's power as the "foolish dreams and imaginings" of those who witnessed its miracles. The modifier "blasphemous" is not intended here to distinguish between good and bad "reasoning," but rather to characterize all reason, as distinct from revelation, as blasphemous. This view persisted into the twentieth century despite papal efforts to reintroduce the value of reason, especially as it is practiced in Thomistic philosophy, into the Catholic intellectual world. These efforts began in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but did not meet even partial success until the middle of the twentieth century.(30) The wicked woman's fault, apparently, was her inordinate trust in reason, which led her to disbelieve the icon's miracles. This episode, then, indicates a struggle between the Redemptorist fathers and the materialist impulses of the modern world. The conflict rages between two discourses - what we might call faith and reason. The conflict is resolved in the story, of course, by the wicked woman's conversion. But what did it mean for real women, for a female member of the twentieth-century confraternity to believe in "faith" rather than "reason"?

We must reconstruct a "discourse" of faith to answer this question, and we can best do this by digging beneath the surface of the text to discover what it depicts as "natural." Indeed, post-structuralist critics take as a premise that cultures rely on such hidden subtexts to transmit their version of what is "natural" and what is "unnatural." Critics deconstruct texts to determine the contingencies that underlie a culture's representation of the world, and they most often focus on representations of power within texts, analyzing carefully a culture's representation of the "natural" distribution of power.(31) A discourse, through its representation of power, will delimit the possible ways people within a culture can understand their own experience, can find it meaningful. Consequently, a discourse will define the boundaries of meaningful action within a culture.(32)

"Faith" is a discourse at least partially constructed by the Redemptorists and at least partly internalized by the participants in the devotion. The discourse of faith can be seen clearly in the testimony from Catholics that the Redemptorists distributed in their missions, Sunday sermons, and even in their quarterly newsletter entitled Our Lady of Perpetual Help. These stories of real life experiences generally depicted Mary confounding representatives of "reason" in society - often physicians. A story from a St. Philomena parishioner, published in the Our Lady of Perpetual Help newsletter, mirrors dozens of other stories published each year. The St. Philomena parishioner wrote in to relate that "my child became dangerously ill" shortly after the parishioner began her first novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The story continued that "I received word that the child was dying and could not live. The doctors all agreed on this verdict. The parishioner

immediately thought of O.M.P.H. [Our Mother of Perpetual Help].(33) I came to the church - and prayed at her shrine - asking her to save my child. Today my child is at home and fully recovered contrary to all expectations.(34)

In still another story from St. Philomena's parish, a young boy fell while climbing a fence and punctured his intestines. Physicians determined that the injury had become so infected as to prevent intervention. They closed up the wound and told the boy's parents that he would almost surely die. Many parishioners then devoted their just-begun nine day Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help to the boy's recovery. Soon after the Feast's conclusion, doctors recognized a change in the boy's condition that allowed them to operate and save the boy's life.(35)

Mary's triumph on behalf of Catholics who practiced the devotion affirmed the value of "faith" over "reason." That so many stories included external validation of faith's wondrous achievements from medical doctors - the representative of reason that parishioners knew best - made the stories at once more credible and more poignant. These were instances of reasonable men confirming faith's primacy in the face of reason's impotence. Mary not only defied the physicians' understandings of the situations, but achieved what the physicians so clearly wished that they could do themselves. The message was clear. The Redemptorists knew in whom people should place their trust.

To the degree that women internalized this discourse - believed it - the discourse laid the boundaries of meaningful action. Parishioners would have internalized the discourse through reading Chapoton's narrative or these newsletters, or by participating in any of the aspects of the devotion. Members of the confraternity were required to hang a copy of the icon in their home and expected to make regular novenas. To pray to the icon meant to subscribe to the Redemptorists' characterizations of power, what it was, how to get it, and how to use it.(36)

The Icon, the Novena's Text and the Feminine Ideal

The "Practical Method of Making a Novena," which Chapoton incorporated within his Sketch, characterizes real power as largely immaterial and as deriving from passivity. These devotions all reflect an anthropomorphic model of salvation in which Mary plays a central role in the Holy Family as Jesus' mother. She intercedes as all mothers intercede with their children. Marina Warner relates that

[t]he theology of the Virgin's intercession maintains very strictly that the Virgin does not have the power to grant any boon by herself, but only intercedes with her son, who as God is the only source of salvation. But the powers of mediation attributed to her throughout Christianity are considered sovereign: the son can refuse his mother nothing.(37)

That Our Lady of Perpetual Help is powerful is attested to in nearly every prayer. This is not surprising, since the icon is appealed to for "help," both spiritual and temporal. But the Virgin's power is associated with attributes that have little material consequence: purity, sweetness, loveliness, goodness, motherly love, tenderness, compassion, kindness, generosity, mercy. One prayer, for example, attributes her "sweet jurisdiction over all creation" to her "wonderful dignity."(38)

These characterizations parallel Chapoton's explication of the details in the icon. The Virgin's power, according to the Sketch, derives from neither reason nor activity, but from their absence.(39) Chapoton calls attention to her graceful gestures and her "loving, but earnest expression," which seem "to speak the anguish and sorrow of her soul at the sufferings of her divine Son."(40) The Christ child, pained by a premonition of the cross, grasps Mary's hand "as if seeking protection from his mother."(41) According to the Sketch, the picture is based on a traditional story of Christ's childhood. The archangels Michael and Gabriel, bearing the instruments of his eventual crucifixion, appeared to the boy, who, realizing their significance, runs to his mother, terrified.

As the vision of His future sufferings and death unfolds itself before his tender eyes now suffused with tears, he clings fervently to His Mother's breast, clasps her hand with trembling fingers, and seeks in her arms comfort and succor. Though terrified he feels perfectly safe and secure in her sheltering arms. Thus ever and always, was the Mother the child's consoler and Perpetual Help. Jesus turned to her, ran to her, cast himself into her arms, resting His head on her virginal bosom and there found sympathy and sweet refuge. . . . This then is the primary idea of the picture and the noble conception of the pious artist.(42)

Mary's chief traits here are the passive abilities to console and nurture. Indeed, the Practical Method most often characterizes the Virgin with the static image of "a refuge." She is "safeguard of the living" and "refuge of sinners."(43) Mary did not remove suffering, but somehow enabled the supplicant to feel secure in the midst of terror. Just as Mary did not prevent Christ's agony and crucifixion, twentieth-century supplicants were not to appeal directly for material solutions to their worldly afflictions. Mary's value lay not in her ability to lead her people out of their trials, but in her willingness to help Catholics endure their distress.

This theme emerges strongly from the formulaic petitions the Sketch suggested participants express. The Sketch designated ten specific situations in which Our Lady of Perpetual Help would prove helpful and prescribed explicit prayers to elicit her support. The prayers reveal much about the nature of the power that novena participants ascribed to Mary and therefore about the boundaries within which they were to construct their understanding of their role in the world.(44) The devotion pushed them to worry a great deal about their moral standing, their personal virtue and capacity to control their temporal desires. One prayed to relieve "Spiritual Wants" because "I do not trust in my merits." One prayed at times of sickness, not because of the very real physical pain and suffering, but because the terror of disease, like Christ's terror, had produced afflictions of the soul as well. "Hence my courage begins to fail; impatience and sadness oppress my soul." Such a person would accept physical healing, "if it is for the good of my soul," but was to seek primarily the "courage and strength to accept all these trials from the hand of God with patience and resignation." A supplicant confused about what to be in life - in career as well as vocation - prayed with "dread and alarm lest following after the allurements of a wicked world, because more pleasing to my carnal inclination" led him or her to choose the wrong job.

Redemptorists encouraged participants to prize moderation in personal behavior. One should pray for the "Conversion of a Sinner" when that person became "a great sinner who is rapidly hurrying on towards eternal ruin" (emphasis added). In this case, the petitioner asks Mary to shed her own passivity and "[s]end [the sinner], if necessary, temporal calamities and trials, that he may enter into himself, and put an end to his sinful course." Those in economic straits prayed for just enough to pay creditors: "[w]e are not asking, dearest Mother, for wealth, if the possession of it, is not in accordance with the holy will of God; we merely beg for that assistance which will enable us to satisfy our pressing obligations."(45) This carefully circumscribed prayer for money proscribed the exercise of real material power that would likely result from discretionary income. It is a prayer to get by, not a request for the real material power that an excess of money provides.

Above all, the Redemptorists instructed Catholics to pray for the capacity to endure suffering with grace, the ability to accept their lot without complaint. Supplicants were not to seek the capability to change the world, or even to change their place within it, but rather for the perseverance to tolerate it. As those who prayed in times of temporal wants put it, "grant that I may endure all with love and patience."(46) Catholics sought through these prayers to obtain immaterial power, as opposed to material power. In fact, these prayers established that real power was immaterial. Physical power was as false as the power of the nails and the cross to destroy Christ. So long as Catholics sought to accept passively their station and afflictions, Our Lady of Perpetual Help was a great solace and support, a power of unequaled value to those in pain or suffering. A person resigned to suffering, or who aspired to resignation, could find no better refuge than Our Lady of Perpetual Help and no better access to her than through the weekly novena at St. Philomena parish. By subscribing to Mary's considerable immaterial power, the novena encouraged Catholics to regulate their lives according to a model of passivity. To endure was to exercise real power.

However, it is not always clear that novena participants fully embraced the ideology that the Redemptorists worked so hard to instill. For even the participant testimony, filtered through Redemptorist editors, reveals the parishioners' desires for specific material benefits. Though the Redemptorists clearly steered supplicants toward passive endurance, Catholics regularly sought material results. Parents prayed for their children's recovery from illness more than the capacity to endure their deaths. Letters from novena participants in the Our Lady of Perpetual Help magazine sometimes relayed the parents' prayers for both. As one mother from Boston put it, Our Lady's intervention to "spare my baby girl or give me the strength to bear it if it is God's will that she should go."(47) But the magazine never included letters from parents who had received the latter option. In the published accounts, Mary always spared the child. The Redemptorists clearly played to these expectations, as when they advertised to those who had never attended the novena that "no prayer goes unanswered" at St. Philomena's when Catholics attended "The Novena that Cannot Fail."(48) So long as the novena offered the possibility of temporal success, the laity embraced the ritual that more subtly argued for an ideology of passive endurance.

But what happened when an alternative to the suffering, a better escape from the terror, presented itself? Would a people who possessed the capacity to exercise greater control over their temporal lives continue to support such a novena? We suggest not, because to seek control in the temporal world required that parishioners reject the novena's representation of power, that they replace the discourse of faith with reason.

The Transformation of Gender Roles and the Decline of Devotions

In the 1950s, American Catholics generally and women in particular gained greater control over their temporal lives and therefore sought and reasonably expected to attain a different kind of release from earthly terror. This increase in power can be seen in a number of areas, perhaps most dramatically in the economic prosperity that they experienced, as workers' wages and family incomes sky-rocketed throughout the decade.(49) Much of this new prosperity derived from wives' increasing economic contributions to their families, which provided the basis for greater control over the immanent world. But women exercised greater control over their marriages and child-bearing experiences as well, which suggests that they believed increasingly that they did not have to rely on Mary to help their families' temporal welfare, and that these new avenues of power contributed to the decline in a devotion that depended so heavily on women.

Though the Redemptorists did not advertise the perpetual novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help exclusively to women, women appear to have sustained the novena through its years of greatest popularity. No reports of the specific gender distribution of participants in the St. Philomena's novenas to Our Lady of Perpetual Help survive, but some evidence suggests that women more than men supported the ritual. This is not surprising, given the strong association of Marian devotions with female participants as well as the long practice of predominantly female participation in devotions generally.(50) The Our Lady of Perpetual Help devotion did not spring up among a people unaccustomed to devotional practices, but rather provided a new expression for a religious impulse reaching back at least a century in America. This devotional climate depended on strong female support, and the new perpetual novena was no exception. The strong female tenor of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help devotion is apparent in some of the surviving evidence about the Our Lady of Perpetual Help devotion at St. Philomena's itself. A visiting Redemptorist priest photographed the laity attending the novena in 1966, and women constitute 73 percent of the adult participants and 60 percent of all participants in this photograph.(51)

Moreover, this distribution reflects the distribution of the adult parish population more generally, where for each year (save for a brief period at the end of World War II) women made up between 55 and 60 percent of the total.(52) If parishioners attended the devotion in the same patterns as they registered at the parish, women would have predominated at the novena as well. Moreover, participants' recollections conform to these estimates of gender ratios among lay participants.(53)

Ann Taves argues in her analysis of American Catholic devotional behavior in the nineteenth century that women may have found in devotions such as novenas "a source of solace and a means of repressing resentments about their familial relationships and responsibilities." She further suggests that

[t]he relational character of the devotions, their emphasis on obedience and devotion to idealized supernatural patrons, and their tendency to evoke feelings of dependence corresponds closely to the stereotypically "feminine" role which nineteenth-century women were expected to assume in marriage.(54)

Only when that "feminine" role began to change would this particular dimension of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help devotion diminish in its appeal to women, and at that point it would likely begin the kind of slide from popularity that we know it experienced in the 1950s. But did American women begin to shed their inherited "feminine" role in the 1950s?

Historian William Chafe identifies an anomaly in the development of the women's movement in the latter part of the twentieth century. Chafe suggests that the movement ought to have begun during World War II, when women's participation in the labor force rose dramatically. Chafe and others argue persuasively that women entered the paid work force in greater numbers nationwide during World War II, and more importantly for the Our Lady of Perpetual Help participants, that married women entered the work force in greater numbers during the war.(55) Chafe reports an increase in work force participation for all American women from 25 percent in 1940 to 40 percent in 1960, and Carl Degler notes that married women went from "barely a third of all working women" in 1940 to more than half in 1950.(56) This change in women's experience ought to have empowered women and sparked efforts to attain equality both in the work place and more broadly. But the ideological shift that enabled an articulated feminist movement to emerge did not occur until the 1960s, two decades after World War II. Chafe puzzles over the delay:

[b]ut if the "objective" conditions of female employment changed so much, why did attitudes toward equality not follow suit? Why, if so many wives and mothers were holding jobs, was there so little protest about continued low pay and discrimination? Why, above all, did the woman's movement not revive in the forties or fifties instead of developing only in the late sixties.(57)

Chafe answers these questions by carefully distinguishing between behavioral changes (such as increased participation in the paid work force) and ideological changes. Thus, according to Chafe, "[j]ust as World War II had served as a catalyst to behavioral change among women, the ferment of the sixties served as a catalyst to ideological change."(58) The behavioral changes which World War II introduced laid the groundwork for the ideological changes that came later, particularly among the children of women who went to work during World War II, according to Chafe.(59) Because Chafe could find little evidence of ideological change in the generation that went to work, he settled for a delayed impact of this significant behavioral change, a delay that he suggested may have lagged all the way to the next generation. Women's new work experiences were necessary but not sufficient to completely transform normative gender roles. Other scholars agree that World War II was a watershed experience for American women, and so highlight the question that troubled Chafe.(60)

The rejection of the devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help suggests that the missing ideological change that so puzzled Chafe actually took place among the generation that worked in this Catholic community. The ideological transformation that Chafe could not find until the onset of the feminist movement in the 1960s seems to have begun earlier in other forms. We might reasonably understand the retreat from the Our Lady of Perpetual Help novena, the rejection of that view of women's roles, as the beginning of an ideological transformation that reached its fullest fruition in the feminist movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Women's increased participation in the labor force began to enable women to envision a route to mastery over their material lives, and to move them to reconsider, and even shed, those cultural experiences rooted in a less autonomous life.

Pittsburgh women appear to have followed the national pattern. In 1940, 78,022 (28 percent) of the 275,190 women who lived in the city of Pittsburgh worked outside of their homes for pay. The figure may have fluctuated in the 1940s, as women's participation did nationally. If so, Pittsburgh women would have entered the work force during the War and then exited as men returned. The census reports the 1950 level of female work outside the home to be roughly the same as that of 1940. But Pittsburgh women increasingly worked through the 1950s until 34 percent held jobs outside their homes by 1960.(61) The rate climbed again through the 1960s until 38 percent of the 213,543 women in Pittsburgh held paying jobs.(62) Variations in the way the Census reported information across these decades make clear statements about Pittsburgh married women's work patterns between 1940 and 1960 impossible, though data that shed some light on this issue are available. Female city residents who fell into the age bracket 3544 years old increased their paid labor force participation rate from 27 percent to 39 percent between 1940 and 1960.(63)

Pittsburgh women, and particularly those of marriage age, clearly worked outside their homes for pay in greater and greater numbers after World War II than before, with the most dramatic increases occurring in the same years that lay participation in the Our Lady of Perpetual Help novena declined so significantly. The coincidence of these two phenomena points out a likely link to the transforming ideology of gender that historians expected to see, but could not find in other areas, in this period. The transformed "objective conditions of female employment" did change women's attitudes toward their role in society in the 1950s, and we can see this in their increasing rejection of a devotional ritual that insisted upon acceptance of the older view.

Other behavioral changes confirm this ideological shift from a discourse of faith. If work outside the home diminished reliance on Our Lady of Perpetual Help, it also encouraged women to demand control over reproduction and their domestic lives in general. Leslie and Charles Westoff report a dramatic increase in the number of married Catholic women who practiced birth control in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Between 1955 and 1965, Catholic women who had ever used birth control increased from 57 percent to 78 percent. Similarly, married Catholic women who used methods other than rhythm increased from 30 to 53 percent. Moreover, this rise in the number of Catholic women who used birth control came during a period of high Catholic fertility. Catholic women appear to have used birth control not so much to avoid having children as to assert greater control over when to have them.(64)

Similarly, John L. Thomas's examination of Catholic family petitions for official marriage separation in the late 1940s revealed that Catholic wives moved toward greater control over their domestic lives by ending bad marriages. Rather than tolerating their husbands' drunkenness and adulterous behaviors or appealing to Mary to visit diseases upon their husbands (as one of Chapoton's prayers instructs them), the wives petitioned to end their marriages. Thomas concluded that Catholic family

disorganization had resulted in separation primarily because traditionally conservative, Catholic working-class wives were beginning to redefine their roles in the family. The present trend toward greater equality and independence for women, implying as it does a weakening of the foundations upon which the prerogatives of male dominance in marriage were based, has led many wives to be less tolerant and long-suffering than they have been.(65)

It is significant that Thomas makes this argument regarding working-class women, who are less likely than middle-class women to have been influenced by the seeds of liberal, intellectual dissent preceding Vatican II. Their ideological transformation clearly predates the council. (Our study of women at St. Philomena's yielded scant data on economic class.)

In addition, even those women who continued to participate in the Our Lady of Perpetual Help devotion appear to have gained greater control over their lives - or at least achieved better results from their prayers. The Redemptorists provided small forms on which participants could write their reasons for attending the novena, and Catholics left these cards near the icon. The cards invited participants to indicate one of two reasons for their devotions: petitions and thanks. The Redemptorists collected the forms and reported the number of petitions and thanks. In 1950, 88 percent of all cards contained a petition of some kind to Mary, and only 12 percent offered thanks. Within only seven years, however, the percentage of petitions declined to 79 percent and the thanks increased to 21 percent. Petitions still outnumbered thanks by a considerable margin, but the change in the ratio suggests that either Mary helped a greater proportion of people in the 1950s than in the 1940s or that even Catholics who continued to participate in the devotion achieved greater material success in life.

The devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help's decline in popularity clearly reflects a changed religious sensibility, a shift in ideology. The devotion inculcated Pittsburgh Catholics, and especially female Catholics, with the belief that women should seek above all to channel their efforts to influence their temporal world through Mary (and that the best requests to Mary were for help to accept passively the world as they encountered it). The decline of a ritual so rooted in that view must stem in some measure from a rejection of the belief that power derives from passivity. That rejection likely resulted when women saw an achievable alternative to the discourse that the devotion so firmly embraced, and that alternate path probably derived from women's increasing work outside of the home. To explain the change in devotional behavior in terms of other factors depends too strongly upon developments that occurred after Catholics had begun to abandon the devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

Other evidence of religious behavior, most notably attendance at weekly mass, confirms that Catholics did not leave the Church, but rather transformed the way they practiced their religion. That these changes came prior to the Second Vatican Council and the women's movement of the 1960s suggests both that the transformation in religious sensibility derived from other sources and that the 1950s were years of dramatic cultural and social change. Women's increased work, and its concomitant boost to women's autonomy and control over their temporal lives, likely played a key role in the transformation. The devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, once so central to survival among a population with limited temporal options, no longer sufficiently appealed to Catholic women who had begun to shed their traditional understanding of the proper "feminine" role in society.

Department of History Latrobe, PA 15650-2690

Department of English Charleston, SC 29424-0001


The authors would like to thank Susan Farrell and Peter Steams for comments on earlier versions of this article. This collaborative work between a literary critic and a social historian was sparked in large part because of the emphasis on interdisciplinary work that Peter Stearns has fostered through the "Social History Update" section of the Journal of Social History, and so we thank him a second time.

1. Richard P. McBrien, ed., The Catholic Encyclopedia (San Francisco, 1995) p. 650.

2. Evidence exists that the parish began a devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help in the nineteenth century soon after St. Philomena's received its authentic copy of the painting, and we have located an official publication designed to support this devotion. But all accounts suggest that the devotion lay dormant in the early decades of the twentieth century. For more on the nineteenth-century devotion, see Rev. Michael Muller, C.Ss.R, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in the Work of Our Redemption and Sanctification (Baltimore, 1873).

3. Reverend Thomas B. Roche, "The Redemptorists in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania One Hundred Years, 1839-1939, Old St. Philomena's 1839-1925, New St. Philomena's 19211939," St. Philomena's Parish Archives, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, p. 47. (In 1992, Bishop Donald Wuerl suppressed St. Philomena's parish, and instructed the parish to move its records to St. Bede's parish, also in Pittsburgh.)

4. Roche, "The Redemptorists in Pittsburgh."

5. Very Rev. Joseph McDonough, C.Ss.R., "Fifty Years in Squirrel Hill, St. Philomena's Parish 1921-1971," St. Philomena Parish Archives.

6. St. Philomena Parish Annual Reports (1950-1987), Redemptorist Provincial Archives, Baltimore Province, Brooklyn, New York (RABP).

7. Stefan Lorant, Pittsburgh: Story of an American City (Lenox, MA, 1988, originally 1964), p. 355.

8. St. Philomena Annual Report, 1942, p. 6, RABP. For brief discussions of wartime rationing, see John Mortun Blum, V was for Victory: Politics and American Culture During World War II (New York, 1976), p. 23 and William L. O'Neill, A Democracy at War: America's Fight at Home and Abroad in World War II (New York, 1993), p. 136.

9. Jim Castelli and Joseph Gremillion, The Emerging Parish: The Notre Dame Study of Catholic Life Since Vatican II (San Francisco, 1987), p. 145. Jay P. Dolan argues both that devotional Catholicism's popularity declined in the 1950s and that "the vast majority of Catholics still clung to the old-style religion" until the sweeping changes that the Second Vatican Council brought about. The American Catholic Experience: A History. From Colonial Times to the Present (Garden City, N.Y., 1985), p. 390.

10. Rosemary Radford Ruether, "Mary in U.S. Catholic Culture: Two Theologies Represent Deep Divisions," National Catholic Reporter, 31 (10 February 1995): 15.

11. Maurice Hamington, Hail Mary? The Struggle for Ultimate Womanhood in Catholicism (New York, 1995), p. 23; Margaret Hebblethwaite, "Devotion," in Adrian Hastings, ed., Modern Catholicism: Vatican II and After (New York, 1991), p. 240.

12. Robert A. Orsi, Thank You, St. Jude: Women's Devotion to the Patron Saint of Hopeless Causes (New Haven, 1996), pp. 33-34.

13. St. Philomena Parish Annual Reports.

14. For others who locate the dramatic changes in Catholicism with the election of John XXIII as Pope (1958), the outset of the 1960s, or Vatican II, see Joseph J. Casino, "From Sanctuary to Involvement: A History of the Catholic Parish in the Northeast,' Jay P. Dolan, ed., The American Catholic Parish: A History From 1850 to the Present, Volume I, Northeast, Southeast, South Central (New York, 1987), pp. 84-85; Thomas Bokenkotter, A Concise History of the Catholic Church, Revised and Expanded Edition (New York, 1990), p. 368; James Hennesey, American Catholics: A History of the Roman Catholic Community in the United States (New York, 1981), p. 307; John Tracy Ellis, American Catholicism (Chicago, 1969, originally 1959), pp. 163-165; Leonard Urban, Look What They've Done to My Church (Chicago, 1985), pp. 7-8.

15. Participation in outdoor Eucharistic rallies also fell dramatically in the 1950s. See Timothy Kelly, "Suburbanization and the Decline of Catholic Public Ritual in Pittsburgh," Journal of Social History 28 (Winter 1994): 311-330.

16. See Henri Gheon, The Madonna in Art (Paris, 1947), p. 5; George Galavaris, The Icon in the Life of the Church, (Iconography of Religions 8) (Leiden, 1981), p. 12; and David Rice and Tamara Talbot Rice, Icons and Their History (Woodstock, N.Y., 1974), p. 9.

17. Jaroslav Pelikan, Imago Dei: The Byzantine Apologia for Icons (Princeton, 1990), p. 135.

18. Anna Jameson, Legends of the Madonna (New York, 1986), p. 10.

19. Jane Dillenberger, Style and Content in Christian Art: From the Catacombs to the Chapel Designed by Matisse at Vence, France (New York, 1965), p. 18.

20. Jameson, Legends, p. 27.

21. Kurt Weitzmann, The Icon: Holy Images, Sixth to Fourteenth Century (New York, 1978), p. 7.

22. C. Henze, "Our Lady of Perpetual Help (Succour)," New Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume X (Palantine, IL., 1967), p. 834.

23. Ibid.

24. Roche, The Redemptorists in Pittsburgh, pp. 45-47.

25. Though most devotions to Mary rest on her all-loving nature, her natural and overriding predisposition to help those who seek aid, many devotions also include a Mary who harms people when they in some way impede veneration. For a discussion of this in Italian popular religion, see Michael P. Carroll's Madonnas that Maim: Popular Catholicism in Italy Since the Fifteenth Century (Baltimore, 1992).

26. Rev. Jos. A. Chapoton, C.Ss.R. Sketch of the Miraculous Image and the Confraternity of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and St. Alphonsus: Also a Practical Method of Making a Novena (Portland, 1927), p. 8.

27. Ibid., p. 11.

28. Ibid., p. 18.

29. See, for example, Msgr. George A. Kelly, Dating for Young Catholics: A Guide for Catholic Teen-Agers on Dating and Other Social Activities (Garden City, N.Y., 1963).

30. For a brief discussion of these developments, see William A. Herr, Catholic Thinkers in the Clear: Giants of Catholic Thought From Augustine to Rahner (Chicago, 1985), pp. 195-200.

31. For an instructive definition of power in the context of feminism, see Judith Lowder Newton's "Power and the Ideology of 'Woman's Sphere'" in Feminisms: An Anthology of Literary Theory and Criticism, eds. Robyn R. Warhol and Diane Price Herndl (New Brunswick, N.J., 1991), pp. 765-780, but especially 768-769.

32. Such theories of literary discourse are based in the post-structuralist work of critics like Michel Foucault. For more information on this criticism, often called the new historicism, see Carolyn Porter, "Are We Being Historical Yet?" South Atlantic Quarterly 87 (Fall 1988): 743-786; Alan Sinfield and Jonathan Dollimore, eds. Political Shakespeare: New Essays in Cultural Materialism, eds. (Ithaca, N.Y, 1985); Steven Greenblatt, ed., The New Historicism: Studies in CulturaI Poetics, a series published by the University of California Press; the journal Representations; and Aram Veeser, ed., The New Historicism (New York, 1989).

33. Catholics often use Our Mother of Perpetual Help in the place of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. No clear pattern distinguishes the use of one over the other, rather they seem interchangeable.

34. Anonymous, "Through a Kind Friend . . ." Our Lady of Perpetual Help 1 (Autumn 1937): 3.

35. McDonough, "50 Years in Squirrel Hill," p. 13.

36. Chapoton, Sketch, p. 31.

37. Marina Warner, Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary (New York, 1976), p. 286.

38. Chapoton, Sketch, p. 43.

39. Mary's seeming passivity extended even to her unwillingness to engage in conversation. The Redemptorists, for example, hung a facsimile of the icon in the parish church complete with explanations of the icon's symbols. One line pointed to Mary's lips with the explanation that "Mary's mouth is small, she speaks little."

40. Chapoton, Sketch, pp. 24-25.

41. Ibid., p. 25.

42. Ibid., p. 28.

43. Ibid., pp. 36, 46.

44. The following interpretation assumes that participants said the prayers with some degree of sincerity - that they acceded to the sentiments at least in part.

45. "Prayer for the Conversion of a Sinner," and "Prayer for Financial Aid," in Chapoton, Sketch, pp. 42-43.

46. "Prayer in Temporal Wants," in Chapoton, Sketch, p. 39.

47. Our Lady of Perpetual Help 1 (Autumn 1937): 30.

48. Advertisements in the Pittsburgh Catholic, 30 April 1936 and undated, St. Philomena files, RABP.

49. Wallace C. Peterson documents the impressive growth in real weekly wages and family income in his Silent Depression: The Fate of the American Dream (New York, 1994), pp. 36-39.

50. Ann Taves relates that fully 60 percent of devotional organizations established in American parishes between 1820 and 1900 had exclusively female members, while only 24 percent had only male members. Both men and women could join the Our Lady of Perpetual Help confraternity in the middle of the twentieth century, but we have located no data on actual membership distribution by gender. Ann Taves, The Household of Faith: Roman Catholic Devotions in Mid-Nineteenth.Century America (Notre Dame, 1986), p. 18.

51. Men constituted 23 percent of all participants and 27 percent of adult participants in the photograph. Only 17 percent of those in the photograph were children. (The photo did not include the priest or altar servers, though they would have been male.) Photo in Rev. Galvin Files, RABP.

52. St. Philomena Parish Reports, 1930-1962, RABP.

53. Dan and Jane Quinn, for example, recalled that women constituted about 60 to 65 percent of participants in the 1950s and 1960s. Oral interview with Daniel and Jane Quinn, February 20, 1995, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

54. Taves, Households, p. 87.

55. William Chafe, "Social Change and the American Woman, 1940-1970," in William H. Chafe and Harvard Sitkoff, eds., A History of Our Time: Readings on Post. War America (New York, 1991), pp. 220-222. See also Gertrude Bancroft, The American Labor Force: Its Growth and Changing Composition (A Volume in the Census Monograph Series for the Social Science Research Council in Cooperation with the U.S. Department of Commerce) (New York, 1958), p. 54, and Alice Kessler-Harris, who argues that the influx of women because of the War was probably less significant than Americans believe (many of the millions of additional workers would have entered the work force even if there was no war, in her view), but that 75 percent of the truly "new" War workers were married. Kessler-Harris, Out to Work: A History of Wage Earning Women in the United States (New York, 1982), pp. 276-277.

56. Chafe, "Social Change" p 222; Carl N. Degler, At Odds: Women and the Family in America from the Revolution to the Present (New York, 1980), p. 418.

57. Chafe, "Social Change," p. 222. For a longer version of this argument, see Chafe's "The Paradox of Progress: Social Change Since 1930," in James T. Patterson, ed. Paths to the Present (Minneapolis, 1975).

58. Chafe, "Social Change," p. 225. Most histories of the post-World War II women's movement place its origins in the 1960s, and point to various events or experiences as epiphanies which transformed women s understandings of their lives. They typically highlight the publication of Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique and/or participation in Civil Rights activities and the student movement. Arlene Skolnick, Embattled Paradise: The American Family in an Age of Uncertainty (New York, 1991), pp. 101-107; Sara Evans, "Women's Consciousness and the Southern Black Movement,' in William H. Chafe and Harvard Sitkoff, eds., A History of Our Time: Readings on Postwar America (New York, 1991), p. 228; Stewart Burns, Social Movements of the 1960s: Searching for Democracy (Boston, 1990), pp. 116-122; David Chalmers, And the Crooked Places Made Straight: The Struggle for Social Change in the 1960s (Baltimore, 1991), pp. 154-157; Robert L. Daniel, American Women in the 20th Century: The Festival of Life (New York, 1987), pp. 246-242, 257.

59. We recognize that it is difficult (and, according to some epistemological definitions of ideology, wrong) to distinguish ideology from behavior. But Terry Eagleton advocates that we substitute a more political sense of the term for the epistemological: "[n]ot everything . . . may be usefully said to be ideological. If there is nothing which is not ideological, then the term cancels all the way through and drops out of sight. To say this does not commit one to believing that there is a kind of discourse which is inherently nonideological; it just means that in any particular situation you must be able to point to what counts as non-ideological for the term to have meaning." Eagelton, Ideology: An Introduction (New York, 1991), p. 9. Eagleton provides a useful taxonomy of the various uses of the term, and Chafe seems to use "ideology" in one of Eagleton's more narrow senses: "ideas and beliefs (whether true of false) which symbolize the conditions and life-experiences of a specific, socially significant class"; or, narrower yet, "the promotion and legitimation of the interest of such social groups in the face of opposing interests" (Eagleton, p. 29). This sense of ideology describes the consciousness-raising feminism of the 1960s and the devotion s influence on the consciousness of women in the 1930s and 1940s.

60. Though Ruth Milkman argues that Chafe's thesis is controversial, she agrees with what she considers a "modest" version of Chafe's argument in her own analysis of World War II and women's work. She claims that World War II "was a watershed period that left women's relationship to work permanently changed." Milkman, "Gender at Work: The Sexual Division of Labor During World War II," Linda K. Kerber and Jane Sherron De Hart, eds., Women's America: Refocusing the Past (New York, 1991), pp. 442, 448. This essay is an abridgment of chapters four and seven of Milkman's Gender at Work: The Dynamics of Job Segregation by Sex during World War II (Urbana, 1987). Others also share at least a modified version of Chafe's thesis. See Robert A. Goldberg, Grassroots Resistance: Social Movements in Twentieth Century America (Belmont, CA, 1991), pp. 194-5 and Degler, At Odds, p. 419. Julie Matthaei suggests in her economic history of women that women entered the workforce initially to better fulfill their household duties - to provide the means for a fuller range of family consumption, and that the ideological transformation followed. An Economic History of Women in America: Women's Work, the Sexual Division of Labor, and the Development of Capitalism (New York, 1982), p. 248. Harvey Green suggests that some women who worked in World War II actually underwent the transformation Chafe could not find. The Uncertainty of Everyday Life: 1915-1945 (New York, 1992), pp. 234-235.

61. The decennial Census misses any increase that would have occurred during World War II and then dissipated as returning service men displaced women from their jobs.

62. U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940: Population, vol. 2, Characteristics of Population, Part 6, Pennsylvania - Texas, C-41; U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1950 U.S. Census of Population, vol. 2, Characteristics, Part 38, Pennsylvania, 38-116, 38-334; U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, United States Census of Population: 1960, vol. 1, Characteristics of the Population, part 40, Pennsylvania, Table 73; U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1970 Census of Population, Characteristics of Population, Part 40, Pennsylvania.

63. U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940: Population, vol. III, The Labor Force, Part 5, Pennsylvania - Wyoming, Table 5; U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1950 U.S. Census of Population, vol. 2, Characteristics, Part 38, Pennsylvania; U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, United States Census of Population: 1960, vol. 1, Characteristics of the Population, part 40, Pennsylvania, Tables 72, 73, 96. We cannot with certainty assert that Catholic women fit the same pattern as Pittsburgh women taken as a whole, but no evidence exists to suggest that they differed significantly, if at all.

64. Leslie Aldridge Westoff and Charles F. Westoff, From Now to Zero: Fertility, Contraception and Abortion in America (Boston, 1968), p. 193.

65. John L. Thomas, "Catholic Family Disorganization," in Ernest Burgess and Donald J. Bogue, eds., Urban Sociology, (Chicago, 1964), p. 274. Thomas based his work on a study of the Chicago archdiocese, though nothing suggests that Chicago was unique in these issues.
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