Christine Gervais has published the book “Beyond the Altar - Women Religious, Patriarchal Power, and the Church”

Posted on Tuesday, April 3, 2018

book cover

Christine Gervais has recently published the book Beyond the Altar - Women Religious, Patriarchal Power, and the Church. To get a copy of the book, please visit Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

Join us for the official book launch, which will take place on Monday, April 23rd, at 3:30 pm, Social Sciences Building, room 4004, University of Ottawa. Please RSVP by Friday, April 20th to

Panel by:

  • Susan K. Roll, Associate Professor, Faculty of Theology, Saint Paul University
  • Shanisse Kleuskens, MA Criminology, University of Ottawa

with at-a-distance contributions by:

  • Catherine Holtmann, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, University of New Brunswick
  • Amanda Watson, Lecturer, Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Simon Fraser University

Bilingual Q&A and reception to follow

Book Description:

Beyond the Altar illustrates how women religious overcome sexist subjugation by side-stepping the patriarchal power of the Roman Catholic Church. This book counters the stereotypical image of Catholic nuns as being loyally compliant with their church by showing how a number of current and former women religious in Canada challenge their institutional religion’s precepts and engage in transformative strategies to effect change both within and outside the Roman Catholic Church.

The sisters’ testimonials reveal never-before-shared details about their painful experiences of male domination, their courageous efforts to move beyond such sexist stifling, and the women-led and women-centered spiritual, governance, and activist practices they have engendered in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

Featuring many examples of the sisters’ resourcefulness, resilience, and resistance, this book fills a void in international scholarship on what Canadian Catholic women religious have endured and accomplished. Through interviews and in-depth accounts of the complexities and nuances present in the current and former sisters’ lives, readers will discover their steadfast indomitability as they strategically, and sometimes subversively, innovate their spiritual spaces.

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