Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Comparative Religion

First Advisor

Dr. Nancy A. Falk

Second Advisor

Dr. Frank Gross

Third Advisor

Lewis Carlson

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


The focus of my study was with a group of women in a Roman Catholic apostolic religious order to discover how they withstood the wrenching changes Vatican II wrought upon their Community. In order to understand how the women had learned to deal with change in general, I interviewed them for approximately eight months. I began with their early lives and finished with their present experiences within their Community.

What became clear as the interviews progressed was that the women were exposed to change early in their lives, had become accustomed to it, and to adversity. Over time they had learned to grow with change and became habituated for other kinds of service. In the midst of all the changes in their lives the Church became their anchor, not just their faith, but their stability. There was also a strong pattern of family support with at least one parent, if not always both. Their parents had internalized the message on the stress of obedience from both the Catholic schools and the teachings of the Church, and passed it on to their daughters. By the time the Vatican II Council asked the Community to make changes to modernize, for these women change was just change, and they persevered.

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