Home Biography 19th Century France My Own Vintage A Journey with Sophie Barat
Madeleine Author - Phil Kilroy

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In the wake of the Counter Reformation and more intensely after the French Revolution, religious communities of women sprang up with astonishing rapidity in France.  Today their form of life is coming to an end, at least in Europe, and it is the culmination of  more than three hundred years of religious life, which provided companionship for women and enabled them contribute effective social activity  in society. Such a phenomenon invites analysis,  both of  the origins and the motivations for such an upsurge of women’s communities.

The aim of this  book is to bring together aspects of the private and public life of  members of the Society of the Sacred Heart in 19th Century France by using  the extensive community and personal archives of the Society, as well as  the  collection of 14,000 letters of Madeleine Sophie Barat.  By combining rigorous research and writing within the perspective of women’s history, the lives and achievements, the successes and failures, of these French women are shifted out of hagiography into history.


This book is unique. It breaks with the tradition of religious hagiography so prevalent when writing the history of religious women in the Catholic Church.  It addresses the complexity of their personal/ community lives along with their public contribution to society.

This book of essays was written in direct response to the questions and comments posed in different parts of the world by readers of the biography:

Madeleine Sophie Barat. A Life.

This book may be purchased in bookshops,  and  on-line at www.corkuniversitypress.com as well as  www.kennys.ie and international internet book sites.