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The Congregation de Notre-Dame, Superiors, and the Paradox of Power, 1693-1796

In this study of the Congregation de Notre-Dame – a religious community of uncloistered women established in Montreal in 1657 – Colleen Gray examines the social, administrative, political and spiritual dimensions of the lives of three superiors – Marie Barbier, Marie-Josephe Maugue-Garreau, and Marie Raizenne. By exploring the implications of the hierarchies of power within the convent and providing an analysis of the convent’s relationship with the social, religious and governmental structures that surrounded it, Gray reveals the paradoxes inherent in the position of a female superior within the male-dominated sphere of both the church and the larger secular community.

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