Magazine article U.S. Catholic

A Radical Faith

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

A Radical Faith

Article excerpt

A RADICAL FAITH

by Eileen Markey (Nation Books, 2016)

On December 2, 1980, members of El Salvador's National Guard killed Maryknoll Sister Maura Clarke and three other women--two nuns and a lay volunteer--at a checkpoint. The government falsely accused the women of doing more than providing food and care to locals. Eileen Markey's biography of Sister Maura is a fitting elegy for her life and legacy.

Sister Maura was born in Queens, New York, where, for mid-century Irish-Catholics, "patriotism and Catholicism were assertive, unapologetic, and intermixed." Markey examines the parallel development of Catholic Action, with a focus on lay participation and agency, grounded in the worldview formed by "Catholic answers to social problems and a belief that Catholics needed to be part of the public conversation." She shows that while Sister Maura's attraction to social justice was in tension with the Maryknoll convent, Sister Maura was both pastoral and practical, monastic and worldly. …

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