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Romantic CatholicsFrance's Postrevolutionary Generation in Search of a Modern Faith$
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Carol E. Harrison

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452451

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452451.001.0001

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Pauline Craven’s Holy Family

Pauline Craven’s Holy Family

Writing the Modern Saint

(p.149) Chapter 4 Pauline Craven’s Holy Family
Romantic Catholics

Carol E. Harrison

Cornell University Press

This chapter explores Pauline Craven's response to the dilemma of choosing between obligation and independence by focusing on her memoir, Le Récit d'une sœur. Craven was a close friend of Charles de Montalembert, but her quandary was different from his because the factor limiting her autonomy was the expectation that self-abnegation should characterize Catholic women. In Le Récit d'une sœur, Craven offered an intimate portrait of Catholic devotion in what readers would call a “family of saints.” This chapter examines Craven's presentation of her sisters as modern saints whose lives needed to be rescued from their own modesty in order to fulfill their exemplary potential. It explains how the La Ferronnays women achieved sanctity in the pursuit of a modern subjectivity, reflecting on their selfhood and on its relation to others, notably family and God. It also discusses readers' responses to Le Récit d'une sœur's depiction of sanctity in modern life.

Keywords:   sanctity, Pauline Craven, obligation, memoir, Le Récit d'une sœur, autonomy, saints, subjectivity, selfhood, family

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