Sarah Barthélemy


GEMCA research fellow

Faculty of Philosophy, Arts and Letters (FIAL)
Institute for the Analysis of Change in Contemporary and Historical Societies (IACCHOS)
Research Fellow FNRS, Modern History

Joint PhD program
Silvia Mostaccio, Université catholique de Louvain
Pierre-Antoine Fabre, EHESS, Paris

Title of the thesis
Gender and religion: appropriations of the jesuit model by women between Revolution and Restoration in France. The Daughters of the Heart of Mary (1791) and the Faithful Companions of Jesus (1820).


Research fields
Religious construction of gender and its influence on civil society
History of jesuit practices
The Jesuit perception of China during the Enlightenment


Abstract of the thesis

The project involves a study of two female congregations inspired by Jesuit (the Daughters of the Heart of Mary and the Faithful Companions of Jesus), founded in revolutionary and post-revolutionary France, in 1791 and 1820 respectively. Situated at the crossroads of cultural and gender history, this thesis seeks to understand the reasons and the context of the appropriation of the ignatian model by women who responded actively to the new needs of a changing society (via girls' education, training of school teachers, spiritual direction, missions) during a time frame (crossing the threshold from the 18th to the 19th century) which saw many changes. In particular, the period analysed in this thesis was marked by two distinct stages: first 1791, during the suppression of the Jesuits (a time of institutional weakness), as well as 1820, after the restoration of their order (the strong model reaching its peak). It will identify the role of these gendered Jesuit experiences in civil society which at the time was in the process of secularization.

At the core of this project is the history of gender relations at both the individual (founder / (ex) Jesuit inspirer) and collective (female congregations / Society of Jesus) level and its institutional and cultural issues. Past the stage of foundation, these two institutions grow and create houses in France, Switzerland, Italy and England, which allows us to show the necessary development and change of the model depending on the situation on the ground (in particular Turin and its strong socio-political context).

This study will be carried out on the basis of concrete manifestations resulting from the interaction between men and women: institutions, discursive practices and normative production.


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