Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Portraits of One Hundred Catholic Women of Maine

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Portraits of One Hundred Catholic Women of Maine

Article excerpt

Lapomarda, Vincent A. Portraits of One Hundred Catholic Women of Maine. (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press. 2012. Pp. xii, 177. $49.95 paperback. ISBN 978-0-7734-3914-6.)

Portraits is divided into eight sections arranged chronologically: Colonial Era, Nineteenth Century, Sisters of Mercy, French Americans, Irish Americans, Italian Americans, Other Ethnic Groups, and The Contemporary Scene. Many entries are less than one page; the longest, for Senator Margaret Chase Smith, is three pages. To add some context to his arrangement, the author includes an introduction of two paragraphs and a retrospect of one to three pages on each section. There is a bibliographical essay of fourteen pages that includes three citations of Wikipedia.The selection of subjects in a work of this type seldom pleases everyone. Vincent Lapomarda's criteria include "cultural" Catholics- those baptized but who were Catholics in name only- as contrasted with "practicing" Catholics (p. ix), each of whom made a difference and helped to shape history.

However, many of his selections barely, if at all, meet his criteria, including those whose chief contribution seems to be motherhood: one gave birth to twenty-six children.Among others are the oldest Catholic woman in Maine, a divorcee who married an Italian prince before receiving an annulment from an earlier marriage and subsequently became an outcast from Roman nobility, and the housekeeper who inherited more than $1 million from her clerical employer. …

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