Loyola University Chicago

Department of History


Ann Harrington Spoke on the History of the BVMs


Professor of History Emerita Ann Harrington spoke on her new book - Expanding Horizons: Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 1919-1943 - on Thursday, February 6th, at 11:30 am in Cuneo Hall, Room 425.  LUC faculty only. RSVP required. Contact the Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage for more information (773-508-3820).

Harrington's academic teaching field and, consequently, research has been Japan and East Asia. In 2001 the administration of her religious congregation, the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, commonly known as BVMs, invited her to research their founder, Mary Frances Clarke. Agreeing to this took Harrington into new territory: she had done research on the French nuns who, in the nineteenth century,  were the first Roman Catholic sisters to go to Japan. That project convinced her of the importance of studying the history of women religious in order to expand women's history and history in general, and she thinks influenced the BVMs to invite her to look more deeply into our their congregation's history.

Harrington's new book, Expanding Horizons: Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 1919-1943 covers a period of the BVM's history not previously studied. Therefore, it is somewhat of an overview of the era when Isabella Kane, followed by Gervase Tuffy, each served as the mother general of the BVM congregation. The work focuses on a variety of issues such as modernism, Americanism, patriotism, and the aftermath of World War I. It also includes outreach to the American Indian youth at the Phoenix American Indian School at the invitation of the Jesuits.

Harrington's talk focused on chapter 7 of the work, which looks at major issues of racism and of culture surface as BVMs moved into Memphis, Tennessee where they taught African American students.