ISASR 2016 conference programme now available

The draft programme and registration form for ISASR’s 2016 conference are now available here.

ISASR’s fifth annual conference, on the theme “Religion and Revolution”, will be held at UCC on Thursday and Friday, 16th and 17th June. The conference includes 35 papers on a very wide range of themes and religions, as well as a keynote talk on the role of religion in the Arab Uprisings by Dr Andrea Teti, co-director of the Centre for Global Security and Governance and the Centre for Modern Thought at the University of Aberdeen.

Full details

Posted in Uncategorized

ISASR 2016 conference – extended deadline

“Religion and Revolution

Fifth Annual Conference of the

Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions (ISASR)

In association with the Department of Study of Religions, University College Cork

Thursday 16th – Friday 17th June 2016

Keynote: “The role of religion in the Arab Uprisings”
Andrea Teti is Senior Lecturer at the University of Aberdeen, as well as Co-Director of the Centre for Global Security and Governance and the Centre for Modern Thought. His current work focuses on the politics of democracy in Euro-Mediterranean relations, and he is Scientific Lead on the FP7-funded ArabTransitions consortium. He has also written on Egyptian politics, knowledge production in Social Science, and the work of Michel Foucault.

Call for Papers
We are pleased to invite scholars to take part in the fifth annual conference of the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions (ISASR), themed ‘Religion and Revolution’. 2016 is the centenary of the iconic Irish revolution, also known as the Easter Rising, which is arguably the most celebrated occurrence of revolution in Ireland. The Rising represents a historic disjunction with British colonial rule and occurred within a context of social and political upheaval. Across the world, political upheaval is often accompanied by religious change which in turn can bring about dramatic social and political tranformation. Conceptualising revolution in its broadest sense, the conference will discuss, reflect upon and explore these themes. The Society invites papers and contributions on the varied theme of religion and revolution including areas such as:

  • political change and religion
  • religions and social movements
  • radical religious change
  • media representations of religion and revolution
  • the impact of revolution on religious practices
  • theorising concepts: revolutions, reformations and cycles within religious traditions
  • transformations in cosmologies and crises of faith
  • changing paradigms in the academic study of religions

Scholars working in Ireland are free to submit a paper proposal on any aspect of religion both at home and globally.

Please submit your proposal in the form of a title and an abstract (max. 250 words).

Call for slam contributions: We invite ‘slam’ contributions for a maximum duration of 6 minutes on in-progress research, new projects and publications, research networks and new programmes. Please submit a title and brief description of your slam (max. 150 words).

Both paper and slam proposals are to be submitted via email to by the deadline of 19th February 2016. Notification of abstract/slam acceptance will be given by 04th March 2016.

Please bear in mind that papers should contribute to the aims of ISASR as set out in the Society’s constitution, specifically that ‘The main object [is] to advance education through the academic study of religions by providing a forum for scholarly activity (…). The Society is a forum for the critical, analytical and cross-cultural study of religions, past and present. It is not a forum for confessional, apologetical, interfaith or other similar concerns’.

The final programme will be posted on the ISASR website:

Posted in Uncategorized

2015 essay prize

The winner of ISASR’s 2015 essay prize is Rory O’Connor, UCC (€75 book token). The runners up are Kellie Lewis, UCC (€25 book token) and Angela Virciu, TCD (€25 book token). Congratulations to all!

ISASR 1st Prize Winner Rory O Connor UCC

Photo: Undergraduate student Rory O’Connor, UCC, receiving his first prize in the ISASR essay competition from Dr James Kapalo.

ISASR Runner Up Prize Winner Kellie Lewis UCC

Photo: Undergraduate student Kellie Lewis, UCC, receiving her runner-up prize in the ISASR essay competition from Dr James Kapalo.

essay prize awardPhoto: Undergraduate student Angela Virciu, Trinity College Dublin, receiving her runner-up prize in the ISASR essay competition – celebrated at the occasion of a wet and windy “lighting the Christmas tree” with professors Cathriona Russell and Alexandra Grieser

Posted in Uncategorized

ISASR conference 2016: Religion and Revolution

The theme for ISASR’s 2016 conference (June, University College Cork) is “Religion and Revolution”. The full details are available here, including a call for traditional papers as well as one for short, “research slam” contributions.

Posted in Uncategorized

ISASR 2015 essay prize

The ISASR 2015 essay competition has now been announced, for essays which have been submitted and assessed in an undergraduate module. Submission deadline August 21st; full details here.

Posted in Uncategorized

ISASR 2015 conference report

Report from the annual conference “The Study of Religions in Ireland: People, Places, Projects”

May 11th 2015

Report by Dr Eoin O’Mahony, Department of Geography, St Patrick’s College DCU.

The fourth annual conference of the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions took place at Trinity College Dublin on May 11th. It was organised in association with the Trinity Long Room Hub Art & Humanities Institute and sponsored by the Department of Religions & Theology, TCD. The conference was opened by TCD Vice Provost Prof. Linda Hogan. This year, the ISASR took a novel turn. In place of an event over two or three days, it was in the form of a research slam, a format set to test the garrulous nature of the academic. This was to take account of the EAHR Congress in Erfurt later this summer. Following an opening address from the outgoing president of the Association, Dr Patrick Claffey, the slam began in earnest. The Society has a relatively small number of members but we got twelve presentations, seven minutes and one carefully-monitored countdown clock. Through the long windowSome of the research slammers: Alexandra Grieser, Tadhg Foley, chair Brian Bocking, James Kapalo, Laurence Cox, Jenny Butler, Chris Cotter, Olivia Wilkinson, Yuwu Shan, and Vlado Kmec

Chris Heinhold (University of Chester) told us about his theory-building approach to investigating modern British Shia identity. Chris is about to embark on intensive fieldwork but has already noted how being part of a diaspora is performative. As a researcher and migrant himself, he has made attempts to build a flexible theory based on data collection. How culture is remembered and mythologised formed the centre of the contribution by Deirdre Nuttall (independent researcher). The stories we tell ourselves influence the way we act and the story of Ireland has been told largely through Roman Catholic action. She has found that the lives of a working class Protestant minority are largely absent from the folklore archives. Early attempts at nation building in Ireland reinforced a Catholic retelling of the myths at the expense of a shrinking Protestant minority. Chris bisChris Heinhold (University of Chester)

In further tales of cultural erasure, Jenny Butler (University College Cork) told us about Irish fairy beliefs. She is trying to address the academic deficit in this subject. In most academic studies of Irish culture, the focus is on fairy beliefs as “explaining away” rather than as an animistic worldview; for example, there is a focus on folk stories in which fairies are blamed mostly for the ill-effects of human interaction with nature and fairies were often said to be the cause of infant loss or disability and even bad harvests. Her dialogical and anthropological approach is making an attempt to plait strands of research that currently run in parallel.

Laurence Cox (Maynooth University) brought us on a lyrical journey of the lives of Buddhist monks from Ireland to Asia. He narrated these accounts through the letters sent by these monks in a poetic stroll through space and time. Tadhg Foley (NUI Galway) told us about the wanderings of Max Arthur McAuliffe. McAuliffe’s efforts to avoid responsibility for his progeny was bested only by his commitment to translating Sikh holy texts. Christopher Cotter (Lancaster University) brought us on a technical journey across continents. Christopher walked us through the process by which the Religious Studies Project manages content and podcasts across time zones and continents using online collaborative software. Ireland’s missionary past was recalled in a presentation by (UCC’s) Yuwu Shan. His new research on the Columban missions to China over the course of 150 years shows us that globalisation is not necessarily a recent phenomenon. Through the archive available to him in Dalgan Park, the Columban order’s world headquarters based in Kildare, Ireland, Shan brought their long history in China to life. He is working with photographs and other material to reconstruct the efforts of the holy order navigating turbulent political revolution. Colette Colfer (WIT) and Eoin O’Mahony outlined their initial data from a new project mapping the warehouse worship spaces of Dublin and Waterford, two very different cities. Their work is focused on the ways that warehouses form community around Pentecostal churches and mosques, often defying a visible centrality usually reserved for religious space in Ireland, a majority Catholic country. They are planning a lot more fieldwork. James and Alexandra terJames Kapalo (UCC) and Alexandra Grieser (TCD)

Alexandra Greiser (Trinity College Dublin) told us about transhumanism and how it may be developing into a new universalism through a scientific discourse. This forms part of a larger project she is working on that will take a comparative perspective and a possible account of multiple modernities. Bringing the universal to the local, Vlad Kmec (UCD) told us about his research on the formation of religious identity among migrants to Ireland. He is conducting focus groups with young people and adults among the Czech and Polish communities to examine the functional and substantive roles of religion in migrant lives. Olivia Wilkinson (TCD) is interested in the role of faith based organisations in disaster relief efforts. She has conducted extensive participatory methods in her fieldwork in the Philippines as a way to examine what is counted as faith based in the post-Haiyan aid process. What gets prioritised and, perhaps more importantly, what does not is of central concern to her research. James Kapaló (UCC) told us about a relatively new network called the Marginalised and Endangered Worldviews Study Centre. Its main work is to build comparative perspectives on these endangered of marginalised worldviews and their cultural expressions. The projects here are engaged forms of research and encouraging of a counter-hegemonical perspective for these forms of knowledge. Some were running to the seven minute bell, others seemed to have timed it perfectly to 6 minutes and 57 seconds. BrianOutgoing ISASR secretary Brian Bocking (UCC) keynote lecture “The study of religions in Ireland – topics for the future”

Our slamming over, Brian Bocking (outgoing secretary) recalled for us how far the academic study of religions in Ireland had come in a few short years. Brian has been instrumental in founding and developing the ISASR, as well as the Department of Study of Religions at UCC (the only department of its kind in Ireland) and in his short lecture, summarised for us why the academic study of religions remains vital. He drew a crucial distinction using an analogy between astrology and astronomy. For astrologers, a cosmological system of belief in the power of star alignment forms the basis for earthly action. Among astronomers, the gathering of evidence about the composition of star systems helps us to understand our place in the universe. Both are concerned with the stars but equally both observe from a position of relative powerlessness over their object of study. The academic study of religions, in this way, is just as bound by tradition and human agency as their confessional co-researchers in theology. Oliver and TuulaOliver Scharbrodt (University of Chester) and Tuula Sakaranaho (University of Helsinki) launching Muslims in Ireland

The day’s proceedings were rounded off with a book launch. The book, Muslims in Ireland: Past and Present (Edinburgh UP), is the first complete study of a little known Muslim presence in Europe. Two of its five editors, Oliver Scharbrodt (Univ. of Chester, formerly UCC) and Tuula Sakaranaho (Univ. of Helsinki) spoke about the purpose of the book, its meaning to the academic study of religions in Ireland. Its remaining editors, Adil Hussain Khan (Loyola University, New Orleans), Vivian Ibrahim (Univ. of Mississippi) and Yafa Shanneik (Univ. of Chester, formerly UCC) were acknowledged. Dr Roja Fazaeli (TCD Near and Middle Eastern Studies Department) was respondent while Dr Alexandra Grieser (TCD Religions and Theology) commented from the perspective of the Study of Religions. Roja and JudeRoja Fazaeli (TCD) and Jude Lal Fernando (Irish School of Ecumenics)

Edinburgh University Press sponsored the reception that followed and the Silk Road Café provided wonderful food. The conference as a whole points to a secure future for the small and yet vital academic study of religions in a country with a long tradition of theological investigation. It is not that one pushes the other out of the light of investigation. Rather, it is the academy investing itself with a way to specify the meaning, location and features of religious culture. receptionAt the book reception

Imen and AngelaBackroom staff: Imen Chraiet and Angela Virciu from the TCD Religions and Theology undergraduate programme. Thanks so much!

Photos Volker Scheub, used with thanks

Posted in Uncategorized

2015 Research Slam

The 2015 ISASR conference took the form of a short one-day event in order to facilitate participation at the quinquennial conference of the International Association for the History of Religions at Erfurt.

Along with the keynote address by outgoing Secretary Brian Bocking on “The Study of Religions in Ireland: Topics for the Future”, the launch of the pioneering Muslims in Ireland (by Oliver Scharbrodt, Tuula Sakaranaho, Adil Hussain Khan, Vivian Ibrahim and Yafa Shanneik) with responses from Roja Fazaeli and Alexandra Grieser and the launch of the second issue of the society’s Journal, the conference also saw a very successful experiment with a “Research Slam”, with twelve members giving short 7-minute presentations of different aspects of their research and projects.

Below are the abstracts for the presentations.


Jenny Butler, University College Cork (j.butler AT

“Irish Fairy Beliefs and Folk Religion”

Despite antiquarian references to the “fairy faith”, scholars have not generally considered belief in fairies and other supernatural beings as genuine religious belief. The earliest collectors of folklore material in Ireland relegated the beliefs of the folk to, at best superstitions, whimsical ideas and attempts to explain misfortune or the inexplicable and at worst misunderstandings or false notions about the workings of nature. Within the discipline of folkloristics, the focus has largely been on the social function or entertainment value of the stories relating to supernatural or other-than-human beings, rather than the in-depth examination of belief and context. In the ethnological disciplines, the material relating to fairies and other spiritual beings has been neglected or omitted entirely in regard to the study of folk religion. This presentation provides an overview of the project, briefly outlining why it is important to analyse fairy belief in such a way and how the project will add to understanding of the nature of spirit-beings, as well as to knowledge about Irish religious traditions and Irish identity more generally.


Colette Colfer (Waterford Institute of Technology) colettecolfer AT and

Eoin O’Mahony (St. Patrick’s College, DCU) eoinomahony AT

The changing Face of Ireland’s religious Landscape

Ireland’s religious landscape has changed dramatically over the last twenty years. These changes have been fuelled by a variety of factors including migration, globalisation and changes in religious practice and beliefs. This presentation will use a series of maps and a short video-collage to outline some of these changes. It will focus particularly on the types of buildings being used by migrant groups in Ireland as full-time places of worship. Many of these places are invisible and located outside of central commercial or residential areas and instead can be found in warehouses in industrial estates. The paper will look specifically at examples of these types of warehouses in the cities of Dublin and Waterford. The maps will be used to chart the locations of these places in both cities and the short video-collage will feature extracts of interviews with pastors and other religious leaders who operate places of worship in warehouse spaces. The research builds on work by Horner (2004) and Ugba (2009) and argues that these new types of religious buildings in Ireland challenge categories of space. In their form and use, warehouse worship spaces allow for an analysis of a decentred religious landscape, one that does not depend on high visibility and one that is fluid and constantly changing due to financial and planning limitations and regulations.


Christopher Cotter (University of Lancaster) c.cotter AT

The Religious Studies Project: a collaborative, international and interdisciplinary enterprise

The Religious Studies Project (RSP) is an international collaborative enterprise producing weekly podcasts with leading scholars on the social-scientific study of religion. Since January 2012 we have released over 200 audio interviews on cutting-edge theoretical, methodological and empirical issues, which is available through our website, iTunes and other portals. The RSP website received more than 120,000 views in 2014 and reached over 4,400 patrons and listeners via our lively Facebook and Twitter social media feeds. In addition to the podcasts, the website also features weekly essays, roundtable discussions, book reviews, resources, and conference reports, plus our weekly digest of opportunities (jobs, journals, conferences, etc). We are a non-profit organization, primarily sponsored by the British Association for the Study of Religion (BASR).This presentation will focus on the genesis of the project, how it might be of use to you, and some insights from running a high-intensity, international and voluntary project such as this one.


Laurence Cox (National University of Ireland Maynooth)

“What should they know of Ireland who only Ireland know?” U Dhammaloka / Laurence Carroll, religion and empire

This slam presents the Dhammaloka research project (Brian Bocking, Alicia Turner, Laurence Cox – as a way of “turning the sock inside out” when thinking about religion and Ireland and to see our “little Irish” religious history in a wider context. Like other Irish Buddhists, Dhammaloka rejected the colonial dualisms of late C19th Irish religious politics, but from a strong freethinking (atheist) position. Crossing a series of ethnic / racial boundaries in his emigration to Asia, he defected from “Catholic Irish” as a strategic emigrant identity and “went native” in Asia, where he became deeply involved in the pan-Asian, anti-colonial Buddhist revival of the early C20th. Active from Burma to Japan and from Siam to Ceylon, he was tried for sedition, placed under police and intelligence surveillance and faked his own death. 26 years of his life are still unaccounted for and his death is shrouded in mystery.

The Dhammaloka project has presented its material widely in recent years: this slam presentation uses a semi-theatrical format shaped around Dhammaloka’s own words to bring this extraordinary figure to life and show another way of thinking about Ireland and religion in the dramatic struggles over ethnicity, religion and empire which shaped not only the new Irish state but the end of empire and the formation of new nationalisms across Asia. It takes the form of a one-man reading with a slideshow of background images.


Tadhg Foley (National University of Ireland, Galway & University College Cork) tadhg.foley AT

The life and work of Max Arthur Macauliffe

I have been engaged for some time on a study of the life and work of Max Arthur Macauliffe (1838-1913), originally Michael McAuliffe, of Monagea, Co. Limerick. He graduated from Queen’s College Galway in 1860; in 1862 he joined the Indian Civil Service and was posted to the Punjab, where he eventually became a judge. Based in Amritsar, he became interested in Sikhism. In 1893 he resigned from his official position to engage full-time in the translation into English of the Granth, the sacred book of the Sikhs. This classic translation forms part of Macauliffe’s great masterpiece, The Sikh Religion: Its Gurus, Sacred Writings and Authors, published in six volumes in 1909 by the Clarendon Press, Oxford, and running to almost 2,500 pages. It has never gone out of print. Darshan Singh, in his Western Image of the Sikh Religion (1999), an anthology of twenty articles on Sikhism by western writers from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries, reprinted no fewer than seven of his essays. However, as well as his celebrated contributions to Sikh Studies, I have discovered in my researches in the National Archives in Delhi and in the British Library that his private life was, well, colourful. He deserves a biography on both counts and I have amassed a great deal of materials for this purpose. I would like to give a brief account of my findings and outline my planned contributions to Macauliffe scholarship.


Alexandra Grieser (Trinity College Dublin) griesera AT

“New Universalisms” – do global aesthetics make global religions?

In recent public debates, increasing religious and cultural plurality appears as problematic in regard to social cohesion in European societies. Especially right-wing political populism and movements advocating xenophobic social agendas make use of a rhetoric that equates plurality with conflict and menace, and unity with purity and security. At the same time, there is a global discourse on the need of “working together” and “acting united” in response to, for instance, climate change or refugee policy, topics reaching beyond individual or national concerns. In both cases, it is suggested that unity and “oneness” offer the solution to problems caused by complexity and diversity. Such ideologies overlook that unity may come as uniformity, and that oneness may be related to totalitarian structures and the neglect of individualism.

The research project presented takes these two elements – plurality and universality – as a vantage point and proposes that it is the tension between a growing individualism and the need for “concerted action” that provokes cultural responses which can be named as “New Universalisms”. Critically rethinking Shmuel Eisenstadt’s concept of “multiple modernities”, the project uses universalism as a comparative concept in order to investigate diverse phenomena such as Western Buddhism, “salvation patterns” in Hollywood movies, or the use of science and technology in “New Atheism”. The project is guided by the newly emerging perspective of an “aesthetics of religion”, asking to what extent universalising aesthetic forms impact on patterns of action and ways of seeing, perceiving, and designing the world.


Chris Heinhold (University of Chester) c.heinhold AT

The construction of a modern British Shia identity in London

In London, Shia communities from around the world are found existing alongside one another. While there are specific events which see elements of these disparate communities converge, for example the annual ‘Ashura’ procession at Marble Arch, there remains a distance between them which is maintained by language, culture and traditional practice.

Conceptions of identity are stretched by the processes of globalisation. While they maintain proficiency in the languages of their parents and grand-parents, young British-born Shia in London are largely educated and socialised through English. At the Marble Arch procession this year the lecture was given in English, directly addressing this emerging community who operate primarily in the language of their new geographical home, and confirming their position as a key audience for the wider community to reach. Through their shared complex diaspora experience, young Shia in Britain creates new identities for themselves which prioritise their Shia-ness over any ethnic or national background. The popular culture which predominates in their world is actively incorporated into this identity construction.


James A. Kapaló (Study of Religions, UCC) J.Kapalo AT

The Marginalised and Endangered Worldviews Study Centre, UCC

In this ‘slam’ I will introduce the work of the Marginalised and Endangered Worldviews Study Centre (MEWSC) at UCC, giving an overview of its mission and aims as well as introducing current activities and the forthcoming inaugural MEWSC volume: Marginalised and Endangered Worldviews Comparative Studies on Contemporary Eurasia, India and South America. The Marginalised and Endangered Worldviews Study Centre (MEWSC) has been established to promote the interdisciplinary study of contemporary endangered cultures, religions, worldviews, religious cultures, and minority religions. It is the aim of this centre to encourage dialogue and exchange between researchers with an interest in diverse parts of the world who can bring varied perspectives on endangered or marginalised worldviews, cultural expressions and religious cultures. An important aspect of the mission of the centre is to encourage counter-hegemonial perspectives on peripheral cultural and religious voices and promote the incorporation of such perspectives into mainstream teaching and research promoting engaged and philanthropic scholarship for an inclusive, innovative, integrative and reflective global society. The centre is conceptualised as a ‘roving’ collaborative academic collective without ‘walls’. Members of MEWSC include academics from Brazil, India, France, Estonia, Russia, Romania, UK, USA and Ireland.


Vladimir Kmec (TCD / ISE) kmecv AT

The Formation of Religious Identities of Christian Immigrants in Dublin

This paper explores how European migrants who are affiliated with the Lutheran church (German and English branch), the Slovak Catholic community and the Polish Catholic Chaplaincy in Dublin perceive their religious identity in the context of their immigration experience. As immigrants attend their religious congregations and as they interact with the host society in multiple ways, they experience personal religious change. The paper asks to what extent and how the religious identity of these young people has changed since they migrated to Ireland. The paper is based on a qualitative empirical research which involved semi-structured and in-depth interviews as well as participant observations. The fieldwork revealed that young immigrants carry with them their cultural and religious packages on the one hand. On the other hand, they acquire new social capital in their host society in which secular lifestyles and global influences affect their choices and perspectives. In interaction with Irish society, these backgrounds and social capital can modify, alternate and influence each other. These dynamics shape young people’s religious identity in the context of the socio-cultural milieu in which they live. The analysis does not assume the formation of a homogeneous identity but a multifaceted process. The migration experience of young migrants impacts on their religious identity in different ways, generating varieties of religious identities. This study refers to religious change as to a change of religious views, practices and behaviours within people’s own religious tradition.


Deirdre Nuttall (independent scholar) deirdre.nuttall AT

The Folklore of the “old” Protestants of Ireland

Historically, research in the Republic Ireland into traditional culture, oral narratives, and folk heritage, has focussed largely on rural, poor, Catholics, especially in the earlier, nation-building decades of the twentieth century. One of the most ambitious research initiatives in Ireland in this area was the 1937 schools’ involvement in an immense project carried out by the Folklore Commission of Ireland. State primary schools contributed to a vast collection of folklore. However, the questionnaire used to help the young researchers was predicated very much on the idea of a rural, Catholic “folk”, and many questions, about holy wells, the rosary, and so forth, were not relevant to Ireland’s Protestant minorities. The widespread perception of all Protestants as being middle- or upper-class also contributed to the idea that their narratives were not folklore in the true sense. In recorded Irish folklore, Irish Protestants most commonly feature as anti-heroes and villains and even, literally, as the devil. Although Ireland (and consequently its oral culture) has changed greatly, the Protestants of Ireland, especially in isolated or marginalised communities, represent a largely untapped repository of folk tradition. How best to access this aspect of Ireland’s folk heritage?


Olivia Wilkinson (Trinity College Dublin) wilkino AT

The place of the spiritual and the material in response to Typhoon Haiyan

Discussion of faith and religion remain extraordinarily underrepresented in humanitarian research. There has particularly been a lack of research on the perceptions of those who receive humanitarian assistance. The importance of religion to those with whom humanitarian organisations engage has been shown and it is now well recorded that faith can play a vital role in recovery and resiliency to trauma. Bearing this in mind, there are very few studies that have specifically asked beneficiaries for their opinions on the types of assistance they receive and whether this correlates with differences between faith-based and secular humanitarian and development aid. The research presented in the slam will give an overview of the initial findings of research conducted in the Philippines in February-April 2015. The research uses a participatory action tool to determine affected populations’ views of faith-based and secular humanitarian assistance following Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 in the Philippines. Preliminary findings indicate people’s appreciation of the spiritual, as well as the material, in their recovery and a division between the perceptions of humanitarian organisations along these lines.


Shan Yuwu (单玉武) (UCC) yuwushan AT

The Irish gift to China: Columban sisters and the indigenized catholic church in China (from 1920s until now)

“You are not here to convert the Chinese; you are here to make yourself available to God.”, following the advice from Father Edward Galvin[1] given to the Columban Priests、Sisters and lay missionaries in China, the sisters related to Missionary Society of St. Columban, specifically they are Loretto sisters from Kentucky in the early 1920s, Columban sisters since 1922 and the Virgins of St. Mary, Hanyang from 1938, carried out an almost a Century of splendid cause in China.

This research will focus on the theme of indigenizing the Catholic Church in China. Aiming to develop the local religious community of Hanyang diocese, Bishop Galvin funded the Virgins of St. Mary Hanyang and the Congregation was born on October 7, 1940. The Congregation survived through the Civil War, the New Communist regime’s religious reform in 1950s, the Cultural Revolution and began to recover and even boomed from the Open and Reform era since 1980s.

Based on ethnographic, fieldwork and archival research in China and Ireland, this article tries to give the full picture of the history of the Columban sisters and their attached organizations in China, and then to expound the reasons for rise and fall in contemporary China from 1920s until now.

[1] Father Edward Galvin, the founder of the Missionary Society of St. Columban and first Bishop of Hanyang, China.

Posted in Uncategorized