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To Overcome OneselfThe Jesuit Ethic and Spirit of Global Expansion, 1520-1767$
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J. Michelle Molina

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780520275652

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520275652.001.0001

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Women’s Devotional Labor

Women’s Devotional Labor

(p.50) 2 Women’s Devotional Labor
To Overcome Oneself

J. Michelle Molina

University of California Press

To demonstrate the widespread popularity of the Exercises, this chapter highlights lay women’s experiences of the Exercises. I use the term devotional labor to refer not only to the effort to bring order to one’s life but also to describe the effort expended to communicate one’s spiritual experience to others. Understanding women’s devotional labor utilizes a revised understanding of spiritual agency to offer a way to begin to read Jesuit sources for a new history of women’s role in the expansion of Christianity in the early modern world. When making the Exercises, a woman developed a sense of herself as active in the world and moved many women to wish to be Jesuits themselves.

Keywords:   women, devotional life, spiritual daughters, spiritual mothers, obedience, active life, retreat house, gender

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