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Batteries, Crosses, Solar Panels, and Global Sisterhood

Batteries, Crosses, Solar Panels, and Global Sisterhood

(p.1) One Batteries, Crosses, Solar Panels, and Global Sisterhood
(p.iii) Unequal Partners
Casey Ritchie Clevenger
University of Chicago Press

Although there is ongoing popular and academic interest in the ways globalization shapes contemporary social life, scholars know little about transnational organizations or how they influence members’ everyday lives and experiences on the ground. Even less is known about these processes within transnational religious organizations. This chapter explores the relationships between US and Congolese Catholic sisters who belong to the transnational Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, asking how members work together across boundaries of race, ethnicity, and economic development. Drawing on transnational social field and transnational network approaches, it considers the extent to which members orient their lives to both local and transnational communities. Social scientists have noted that the “center of gravity” within the Catholic Church is shifting from Europe and North America to Asia, Africa, and South America. In the wake of the Vatican II renewal process among religious orders, the number of Catholic sisters globally began a steep and rapid decline. Today Africa is one of only two continents in the world where women’s religious vocations continue to grow. This chapter considers what these transformations mean from the standpoint of women in the Global South.

Keywords:   globalization, Catholic Church, Catholic sisters, African sisters, transnational social fields, transnational networks, Vatican II, religious vocations

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