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Unequal PartnersIn Search of Transnational Catholic Sisterhood$
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Casey Ritchie Clevenger

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226697413

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226697697.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 21 September 2021

Poverty, Development, and the Challenges of Catholic Sisterhood in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Poverty, Development, and the Challenges of Catholic Sisterhood in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Chapter:
(p.171) Seven Poverty, Development, and the Challenges of Catholic Sisterhood in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Source:
Unequal Partners
Author(s):

Casey Ritchie Clevenger

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226697697.003.0007

This chapter examines how Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in the Democratic Republic of Congo respond to the needs of the surrounding population amid widespread poverty, weak public infrastructure, political unrest, and government corruption. At Notre Dame schools, sisters are placed in the challenging position of brokering relationships between the government and parents of their students as they collect school fees to pay teachers who are not sisters. At their dispensaries and hospitals, sisters respond to criticism from patients who do not want to pay for services. Despite these challenges, sisters expressed appreciation for the educational and professional opportunities they enjoy as members of a transnational religious order. Whereas it is rare to find women in formal leadership positions within many of the villages where they work, sisters administer their own institutions and manage the land surrounding their convents. The ministries of Sisters of Notre Dame in the Lower Congo represent only a small fraction of the development work Catholic women’s religious orders are engaged in throughout the country, but these women’s experiences shed light on the broader struggles of African sisters who do this work across the continent.

Keywords:   Catholic ministries, religious work, Democratic Republic of Congo, African sisters, development, transnational organizations

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