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Missionary children: The French Holy Childhood Association in European context, 1843-c.1914

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Heywood, S. (2015) Missionary children: The French Holy Childhood Association in European context, 1843-c.1914. European History Quarterly, 45 (3). pp. 446-466. ISSN 1461-7110

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1177/0265691415585221

Abstract/Summary

In the mid-nineteenth century, thousands of children in Europe and beyond were organized into battalions of fundraisers for overseas missions. By the end of the century these juvenile missionary organizations had become a global movement, generating millions of pounds in revenue each year. While the transnational nature of the children’s missions and publications has been well-documented by historians, the focus has tended to be on the connections that were established by encounters between the young western donors, missionaries overseas and the non-western ‘other’ constructed by their work. A full exploration of the European political, social and cultural concerns that produced the juvenile missionaries movement and the trans-European networks that sustained it are currently missing from historical accounts of the phenomenon. This article looks at the largest of these organizations, the Catholic mission for children, the French Holy Childhood Association (L’Œuvre de la sainte enfance), to understand how the principles this mission sought to impose abroad were above all an expression of anxieties at home about the role of religion in the family, childhood and in civil society as western polities were modernizing and secularizing in the nineteenth century.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Modern European Histories and Cultures
ID Code:36785
Uncontrolled Keywords:Catholic internationalism, children, culture wars, overseas missions, religious revival, secularization
Publisher:SAGE Publications

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