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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




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.



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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 ]

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