Catholic Sisters have long been engaged in a complex process of exploring the politics of memory, which in their case integrally involves negotiating the experience of living as "other" within the structural and spiritual context of a male-dominated Church. These women, sometimes considered outside the margins of feminist activism, have been among the longest and most explicit histories of resistance to patriarchy. Sisters have creatively worked to define and maintain their own personal and communal integrities in a variety of contexts that transcend narrow boundaries of time and space, demonstrating that memory can be a tool of resistance as well as a source of inspiration.
Dr. Margaret Susan Thompson is an Associate Professor of History and Political Science at Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, and currently holds a faculty position in the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, the nation's top graduate school in public affairs. Her research interests include the American presidency and Congress, women and American religion, the Catholic Church and politics, and religion and political extremism. In addition to publications in journals such as the Legislative Studies Quarterly and Mid-America, she is the author of The Spider Web: Congress and Lobbying in the Age of Grant (1985), and a forthcoming book entitled, The Yoke of Grace: American Nuns and Social Change, 1808-1917: A History of Catholic Sisters in the United States. Dr. Thompson holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.