Summer 2019 book highlights from CCHA members

This summer, we highlight three books written by CCHA members:

Luca Codignola, senior fellow at the University of Notre Dame, adjunct professor at Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, and professeur associé at Université de Montréal, has published Blurred Nationalities across the North Atlantic, a study of the people who plied the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century transatlantic merchant routes between Italy and North America.

Rosa Bruno-Jofré, Heidi MacDonald and Elizabeth M. Smyth penned Vatican II and Beyond, a look at the impact of Vatican II through the Canadian Religious Conference and the lived experience of two individual sisters: visionary congregational leader Alice Trudeau and social justice activist Mary Alban.

Peter Ludlow, CCHA president and adjust professor at St. Francis Xavier University, has published The Canny Scot, a biography of Archbishop James Morrison of Antigonish, the leader of the progressive social active movement known as the “Antigonish Movement.”

Blurred Nationalities across the North Atlantic by Luca Codignola
(Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2019)

Synopsis: Long before the mid-nineteenth century, thousands of people were frequently moving between North America – specifically, the United States and British North America – and Leghorn, Genoa, Naples, Rome, Sicily, Piedmont, Lombardy, Venice, and Trieste. Predominantly traders, sailors, transient workers, Catholic priests, and seminarians, this group relied on the exchange of goods across the Atlantic to solidify transatlantic relations; during this period, stories about the New World passed between travellers through word of mouth and letter writing.

Blurred Nationalities across the North Atlantic challenges the idea that national origin – for instance, Italianness – constitutes the only significant feature of a group’s identity, revealing instead the multifaceted personalities of the people involved in these exchanges.

Find it at:

Vatican II and Beyond: The Changing Mission and Identity of Canadian Women Religious by Rosa Bruno-Jofré, Heidi MacDonald and Elizabeth M. Smyth
(Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017

Synopsis: The year 2015 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the end of the Second Vatican Council, which aimed to align the Church with the modern world. Over the last five decades, women religious have engaged with the council’s reforms with unprecedented enthusiasm, far exceeding the expectations of the Church.

Addressing how Canadian women religious envisioned and lived out the changes in religious life brought on by a pluralistic and secularizing world, Vatican II and Beyond analyzes the national organization of female and male congregations, the Canadian Religious Conference, and the lives of two individual sisters: visionary congregational leader Alice Trudeau and social justice activist Mary Alban. This book focuses on the new transnational networks, feminist concepts, professionalization of religious life, and complex political landscapes that emerged during this period of drastic transition as women religious sought to reconstruct identities, redefine roles, and signify vision and mission at both the personal and collective levels.

Following women religious as they encountered new meanings of faith in their congregations, the Church, and society at large, Vatican II and Beyond demonstrates that the search for a renewed vision was not just a response to secularization, but a way to be reborn as Catholic women.

Find it at:

The Canny Scot: Archbishop James Morrison of Antigonish by Peter Ludlow
(Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015)

Synopsis: A paradoxical prelate to many, Archbishop James Morrison was the spiritual head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, from 1912 to 1950. Traditional, frugal, and aloof, he was also the ecclesiastical leader of a progressive program of Catholic social action that became known as the “Antigonish Movement.”

Elevated to bishop after a successful clerical career in Prince Edward Island, Morrison guided Catholics in eastern Nova Scotia through difficult periods of economic decline, out-migration, and war. He was unprepared for the challenges of twentieth-century Canadian society, and initially struggled to cope with a dwindling Maritime economy, labour unrest, and rural depopulation. Determined to maintain the stature of his diocese, Morrison cautiously supported the clergy reformers who wanted a program of adult education and economic reform. Peter Ludlow unravels the mystery of this figure to show that although Morrison was one of the last powerful and austere Canadian Roman Catholic prelates, he was also one of the first to recognize that the Church could offer its adherents more than spiritual guidance.

A revisionist account of the foundation and application of the Antigonish Movement, The Canny Scot illustrates the important role of the Catholic Church in Nova Scotia.

Find it at:

Published on: 4 June 2019
Posted by: amm098