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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

versão On-line ISSN 2412-4265
versão impressa ISSN 1017-0499

Studia Hist. Ecc. vol.37 no.2 Pretoria Set. 2011

 

"The upholding of the sap from the tree": The reminiscences of Sister Monica Fanny SSJD

 

 

Mandy Goedhals

School of Anthropology, Gender and Historical Studies, Howard College Campus, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

 

 


ABSTRACT

This article explores the life and work of Sister Monica Fanny of the Society of St John the Divine (SSJD), an Anglican religious community for women which was founded in Pietermaritzburg, Natal in 1887. The biographical text itself is a unique document, since records of religious communities tend to focus on the work of the community as a whole rather than on the life of an individual. The article examines Monica Fanny's own representation of her life, as well as the particular personality and ministry of a woman in the context of the largely educational work of the community as a whole, and explores themes of race, class and gender both in the Anglican church and in colonial society in the first four decades of the 20th century. While the article indicates that membership of a religious community enabled women to exercise a more public ministry than that allowed to lay women, it also shows that this was not accompanied by the gender consciousness which would lead the sisters of the community to seek greater freedom of ministry for all women in the church.


 

 

“Full text available only in PDF format”

 

 

Works consulted

Natal Diocesan Archives

SSJD History DN/DR/0/4.15 Reminiscences of Sister Monica Fanny SSJD.         [ Links ]

SSJD History DN/DR/0/4.10 Typed records of the Society of St John the Divine, Pietermaritzburg, Natal 1887-1937.         [ Links ]

SSJD History DN/DR/0/4.51 Sister Margaret Anne's notebook for SSJD history.         [ Links ]

SSJD Sisters DN/DR/0/1.1 List of all Sisters SSJD.         [ Links ]

SSJD Sisters DN/DR/0/1.4.14 "Sisterhood of St John the Divine, Maritzburg" London: Odhams 1894.         [ Links ]

SSJD Sisters DN/DR/0/1.4.5 Sister Monica Fanny papers.         [ Links ]

SSJD Sisters DN/DR/0/1.4.6 'A Sisterhood in South Africa' Oxbey Church Monthly Magazine June 1914, pp122-124.         [ Links ]

SSJD Society DN/DR/0/2.1 Constitution of Society of St John the Divine.         [ Links ]

SSJD Society DN/DR/0/2.2 Rule of Life of the Society of St John the Divine.         [ Links ]

SSJD Time charts 1887-1937 DN/DR/0/3.5.1 Sisters.         [ Links ]

St Raphael's File, Notes on St Raphael's Mission Durban by Fr W. T. Alston, 1940.         [ Links ]

Books and journals

Anson, Peter 1958. The call of the cloister: religious communities and kindred bodies in the Anglican Communion. London: SPCK.         [ Links ]

Armitage, Susan & Gluck, Sherna 2002. Reflections on women's oral history: an exchange, in Armitage, Susan, Hart, Patricia Hart & Weathermon, Karen (eds.), Women's oral history: the frontiers reader, 75-86. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.         [ Links ]

Backscheider, Paula 2001. Reflections on biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press.         [ Links ]

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Burton, Antoinette M 1992. The white woman's burden: British feminists and "The Indian Woman", 1865-1915, in Chaudhuri, Nupur & Strobel, Margaret, Western women and imperialism: complicity and resistance, 137-157. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.         [ Links ]

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Gill, Sean 1994. Women in the Church of England from the 18th century to the present. London: SPCK.         [ Links ]

Gluck, Sherner 2002. What's so special about women? Women's oral history?, in Armitage, Susan, Hart, Patricia & Weathermon, Karen (eds.), Women's oral history: the frontiers reader, 3-20. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.         [ Links ]

Heilbrun, Carolyn 1989. Writing a woman's life. London: The Women's Press.         [ Links ]

Hinchliff, Peter 1963. The Anglican Church in South Africa. London: Darton, Longman & Todd.         [ Links ]

Lewis, Cecil & Edwards, Gertrude E 1934. Historical records of the Church of the Province of South Africa. London: SPCK.         [ Links ]

Marks, Shula 2002. British nursing in the South African War, in Cuthbertson, G, Grundlingh, A & Suttie, M-L (eds.), Writing a wider war, 159-185. Cape Town: David Philip.         [ Links ]

Mumm, Susan 1999. Stolen daughters, virgin mothers: Anglican Sisterhoods in Victorian Britain. London: Leicester University Press.         [ Links ]

Portelli, Alessandro 1991. The death of Luigi Trastulli and other stories: form and meaning in oral history. Albany: State University of New York Press.         [ Links ]

SSJD, Sister Margaret Anne 1987. What the world counts weakness: a centenary history of the Society of St John the Divine, Natal. Durban: SSJD.         [ Links ]

Stebbing, Nicolas (ed.) 2003. Anglican religious life: a well kept secret. Dublin: Dominican Publications        [ Links ]

Swaisland, Cecillie 1993. Servants and gentlewomen to the golden land: the emigration of single women from England to Southern Africa 1820-1939. Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press.         [ Links ]

Vicinus, Martha 1985. Independent women; work and community for single women 1850-1920. London: Virago Press.         [ Links ]

Webb, Alan 1883. Sisterhood life and women's work in the mission field of the church. London: Skeffington.         [ Links ]

Websites

Some Smyth clergy. Available: http://home.zipworld.com.au/~lnbdds/home/smythclergy.htm. Accessed 14 April 2011.         [ Links ]

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