An Ubiquitous Presence: Women Religious in Migrant Communities, 1840-1969

Rose Luminiello* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Migration Studies scholars are under increasing pressure to understand policy decisions which effect migrants and their assimilations or exclusions from communities and civil societies. Historically, such decisions were not always taken by the state, but by social and religious actors and institutions such as education, healthcare, and social care, which were ethnically divided throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The women who managed and staffed such institutions in large numbers were Catholic religious sisters (nuns), and it was these women religious who decided on, perpetuated, and taught social norms for assimilation and reinforced ethnic and cultural competition and divisions. Studying their lives, narratives, and works across the globe can offer scholars of migration a deep understanding of how non-state actors can effect assimilation and exclusion in society. As religious vocations decline, and convents consequently close, the archives on which such research depends are increasingly at risk. For scholars interested in the history of women religious and their work in migrant communities, now is the time to act before these archives permanently disappear.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-111
Number of pages23
JournalStudi Emigrazione: International Journal of Migration Studies
Issue number225/2022
Early online date10 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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