Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Medeleva: A Biography

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Medeleva: A Biography

Article excerpt

Madeleva: A Biography. By Gail Porter Mandell. (Albany: State University of NewYork Press. 1997. Pp. xv, 303. $17.95 paperback.)

As the history of women in the Church is gradually pieced together, it is increasingly evident that among women who held major administrative roles in the United States and acquitted themselves well in them were several generations of nuns who founded, financed, and directed hospitals, colleges, and charitable institutions. Sister Medeleva Wolff of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, president of St. Mary's College at Notre Dame, Indiana, from 1934 to 1961, is one of those women.

In addition to a 1994 study of her spirituality by Mandell, a privately published "pictorial biography" by Maria Assunta Werner, C.S.C. (1993), and articles in Notable American Women and The Encyclopedia of American Catholic History, the reader has Madeleva's autobiography, My First Seventy Years (1959). Mandell has supplemented these sources by drawing on Madeleva's letters in archival collections in Berkeley and Notre Dame, interviews with people who knew and worked with her, and a close study of her poetry for what it might reveal about her thinking and her state of mind at various times in her life. The result is a nuanced study of Madeleva's life that supplements her autobiography often by exploring topics that Madeleva chose to omit, such as her intimate friendship with the Reverend Cornelius Haggerty, C.S.C.

Madeleva Wolff took a doctorate in English at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1925, one of the first two nuns to do so. She was assigned by her community in 1926 to be the foundress and first president of St. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.