Households of Faith

Households of Faith: Family, Gender, and Community in Canada, 1760-1969

Copyright Date: 2002
Pages: 408
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  • Book Info
    Households of Faith
    Book Description:

    Households of Faith has a broad scope, extending from a consideration of church ritual in New France, to demographic analyses of New Brunswick and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, to the intersection of gender and ethnicity, the construction of family in Aboriginal communities, and the changing definitions of sex roles and the family itself among both clergy and laypeople. Contributors include Nancy Christie, Enrico Cumbo (CBC), Patricia Dirks (Brock University), Ken Draper (Canadian Bible College), Michael Gauvreau (McMaster University), Ollivier Hubert (Université de Montréal), Christine Hudon (Université de Sherbrooke), Hannah Lane (University of New Brunswick), J.I. Little (Simon Fraser University),Susan Neylan (Wilfrid Laurier University), and Marguerite Van Die (Queen's University).

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6968-3
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Contributors
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. Introduction: Family, Community, and the Rise of Liberal Society
    (pp. 3-34)

    Over a decade ago, in discussing how to establish new critical analyses of gender roles and boundaries, Linda Kerber wrote that “no area is more inviting or more ignored than that of religion.”¹ This collection of essays has taken her exhortation as its starting point, and through an investigation of both religious discourse and experience, it traces the way in which the Protestant and Roman Catholic religions have conceptualized the family and gender relations within it, as well as the evolving relationship between the institution of the church, the family, and the community between 1760 and 1969. In Canada the...

    • Ritual Performance and Parish Sociability: French-Canadian Catholic Families at Mass from the Seventeenth to the Nineteenth Century
      (pp. 37-76)

      In 1970 John Bossy, relying upon a number of anthropological insights, published a seminal study that employed a close scrutiny of liturgical texts to offer a new interpretation of the social and cultural transformations which accompanied, and in certain respects characterized, the Catholic Counter-Reformation.¹ In his estimation, one of the essential functions of the rituals managed by the medieval church was to periodically re-establish internal peace within communities by allowing social tensions to find an outlet through the public expression of conflict, followed by their suppression through reinternalization. According to this interpretation, post-Tridentine rituals were less effective in maintaining social...

    • The Fireside Kingdom: A Mid-Nineteenth-Century Anglican Perspective on Marriage and Parenthood
      (pp. 77-100)
      J.I. LITTLE

      In the New England of the 1820s and 1830s, according to Nancy Cott, “[e]ssays, sermons, novels, poems and manuals offering advice and philosophy on family life, child rearing, and women’s role began to flood the literary market.”¹ Few historians have examined the impact of this phenomenon on the Canadian side of the border, where the concept of republican motherhood was obviously much weaker,² but in one interesting case, a resident of Lower Canada’s Eastern Townships made his own small contribution to the “cult of domesticity.” Though he was an Anglican clergyman of orthodox High Church principles, the Reverend James Reid...

    • Tribalism, Proselytism, and Pluralism: Protestants, Family, and Denominational Identity in Mid-Nineteenth-Century St Stephen, New Brunswick
      (pp. 103-137)

      The daughter of pre-Loyalists, Charlotte Hill Thompson was an early convert to Methodism, the first organized denomination in southwestern New Brunswick.¹ When she died in 1864, seven of her surviving children still lived within the parish of St Stephen. Although both she and her husband had been early converts, only four of these seven children were still Methodists. In the first provincial census of religion, taken in 1861, two sons were listed as Episcopalian (Anglican² in modern usage). A third son was listed as a Universalist, the denominational tradition that asserted a metaphorical hell and an ultimately universal salvation, although...

    • Family Fortunes and Religious Identity: The French-Canadian Protestants of South Ely, Quebec, 1850—1901
      (pp. 138-166)

      The study of the relations between religion and family comprises a number of dimensions, which can be elucidated by a sociology of religious behaviour attentive to differing practices and levels of intensity among men and women and to intergenerational differences. Historical anthropology affords another approach to illuminating religious sociability and the way in which religious texts and clerical discourse constructed gender and family roles. As well, social history offers many possibilities for exploring the dynamic of the nexus between religion and family. This essay adopts a social-historical perspective and examines the demographic and social dimensions of religious membership and identity...

    • Contested Family: Navigating Kin and Culture in Protestant Missions to the Tsimshian, 1857—1896
      (pp. 167-202)

      The family was a key tool and target of Protestant missionaries who worked among the aboriginal peoples of the North Pacific Coast during the second half of the nineteenth century.¹ Combining notions of the family as the foundation of Christianity society with the contemporary vision of it as a refuge from the influences of industrial capitalism and secularism, missionaries to British Columbia attempted to remake the Aboriginal family according to Western ideals. As a concept, however, the family was a contested one, infused with very different meanings by Euro-Canadian missionary and Tsimshian.² Intricately and intimately connected to social status, to...

    • Salvation in Indifference: Gendered Expressions of Italian-Canadian Immigrant Catholicity, 1900—1940
      (pp. 205-233)

      In an endnote to his celebrated “Cult and Occult in Italian-American Culture,” Rudolph Vecoli made a passing remark on “the traditional differences in religious practices on the part of Italian men and women.” Though a given in this and other studies, the nature and extent of these differences have very rarely been treated.¹ What has been written has depended largely on official, clerical documentation expressing a generally one-sided view of Italian immigrant piety. From the first years of Italian immigration, North American Catholic clerics, oftentimes even those of Italian origin, viewed Italian women generally as theologically ignorant and superstitious, and...

    • Revisiting “Separate Spheres”: Women, Religion, and the Family in Mid-Victorian Brantford, Ontario
      (pp. 234-263)

      Convinced that traditional Christian belief and sensibility had lost their cogency at the end of the nineteenth century, Walt Whitman gave expression to the soul’s ongoing search for meaning and coherence in the evocative image of a spider casting the strands of a new web.¹ Religious historians have continued to touch upon this insight by adopting secularization as a central paradigm to analyze the effect of modern life upon religion in the Western world. Whitman’s trope, of the separation of spheres of life once experienced as connected, has also been extensively used by feminist historians interested in analyzing the increased...

    • Redemptive Homes — Redeeming Choices: Saving the Social in Late-Victorian London, Ontario
      (pp. 264-289)

      Late-Victorian Ontario was characterized by a wide variety of religious activity, much of which addressed what were considered major social issues.¹ A variety of concerns conspired to convince the religiously motivated that conditions then present required organized efforts outside the confines of the denominational churches. Care for the poor, reclamation of the fallen, protection of youth, and the salvation of the unconverted all represented needs that called for united action beyond the capacity of individual congregations or denominations. Thus a whole new category of lay-inspired and-led interdenominational religious activity developed. Through public meetings, union revivals, and associational life, such as...

    • Reinventing Christian Masculinity and Fatherhood: The Canadian Protestant Experience, 1900—1920
      (pp. 290-316)

      Leaders of Canada’s major Protestant denominations entered the twentieth century already deeply worried that their churches were losing ground individually and collectively. A significant proportion of every denomination’s children were never brought into Sunday school, the agency generally recognized as the chief membership source. In addition, many who entered Sunday school left before becoming church members. These conditions generated great anxiety about Sunday schools’ weaknesses, particularly their inability to hold those who were enrolled once they reached puberty.¹ Concerns about the membership implications of “teen age leakage” intensified after the 1901 census, which revealed that the combined growth of Canada’s...

    • The Emergence of Personalist Feminism: Catholicism and the Marriage-Preparation Movement in Quebec, 1940—1966
      (pp. 319-347)

      On a hot summer’s day in July 1939, thousands of Montrealers participated in a carefully choreographed public spectacle designed to reinforce the identity of Catholicism, family, and national values. One hundred and four automobiles, each containing a chosen engaged couple who had completed a rigorous study session on the Catholic doctrines of marriage and family, led a procession from Parc Lafontaine to Delorimier Stadium, the home of the Montreal Royals baseball team. There, in front of an audience of fifteen thousand people, the couples exchanged their marriage vows in a mass marriage ceremony presided over by Monseigneur Gauthier, the archbishop...

    • Sacred Sex: The United Church and the Privatization of the Family in Post-War Canada
      (pp. 348-376)

      This remarkable statement by the Board of Evangelism and Social Service of the United Church of Canada suggests that what has come to be known as the “sexual revolution” was not simply the product of the liberal youth culture of the 1960s, as some historians have maintained.² As this essay will argue, mainstream institutions such as the Protestant churches, which otherwise have been mythologized as the vessels of the conservative social mores so characteristic of the 1950s, were in fact agents of cultural change and were at the forefront in redefining the nature of the family and the purpose of...

    • Conclusion: “Patriarchal Piety” and Canada’s Liberal Tradition
      (pp. 377-382)

      In many respects, the central problem posed by this volume relates to that raised by Gad Horowitz¹ in the late 1960s when he sought to account for the conservative nature of both liberalism and socialism in Canada. Where Horowitz approached the issue of communitarian values from the perspective of political philosophy,Households of Faithhas employed the lens of culture — namely, the religious culture of Canada — to explore the changing relationship between family, church, and state. Thus the arguments contained in this study have direct implications for our understanding of the changing nature of the Canadian polity insofar as the...

    • Back Matter
      (pp. 383-383)