For more than thirty years, the U.S. Catholic Historian has mapped the diverse terrain of American Catholicism. This collection of recent essays tells the story of Catholics previously underappreciated by historians: women, African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and those on the frontier and borderlands.
Timothy Matovina's opening essay sets the theme for the volume, encouraging a remapping of U.S. Catholic history to more widely encompass its various localities and peoples, especially the significance of non-European ethnic groups and the role of Catholics in the American Southwest. Jeanne Petit explores Catholic womanhood's strength and organizational zeal in the post-World War I era, noting the obstacles and successes of women's attempts to be recognized fully as American citizens and members of the Church. Anne Klejment weaves together the lives of Dorothy Day and Cesar Chavez to illustrate their use of nonviolence and "weapons of the spirit" to respond to societal injustice. Amanda Bresie provides a window into the life of Mother Katharine Drexel, noting the generosity of the millionaire heiress, but also her meticulous record keeping and close supervision of her funding of educational and evangelization efforts among Native and African Americans. Kristine Ashton Gunnell analyzes the ways in which the Daughters of Charity crossed cultural boundaries to offer charitable assistance to Mexican and Japanese communities in Los Angeles. Matthew Cressler explores the intersection of Black Power and distinctive African American-inspired liturgies, arguing that the liturgy became a site of struggle as black self-determination and nationalism impacted worship and black Catholic identity. Finally, Joseph Chinnici offers an important essay on re-envisioning post-conciliar U.S. Catholicism in its global context, offering a new approach to how we consider the American Catholic narrative and write its history.
Together these path-breaking studies serve as a model for historians seeking to engage in the cartographic task of remapping the U.S. Catholic experience.