Charisma, Gender and ‘Glocality’: Catholic Charismatic Women in the 1970s
This article addresses the role of women in Catholic charismatic renewal, with reference to the movement in both the United States and England. It examines the renewal in relation to a wider mid-century context in which the role of Catholic women was being re-evaluated. It looks closely at the role of women in Catholic prayer groups, showing how while a ‘rediscovery’ of the Spirit contributed, broadly, to a democratising tendency where the laity were concerned, the place of women was contested. It shows how the dominant approach to gender to emerge in the United States – a patriarchal model linked to high profile charismatic ‘covenant communities’ in the upper Midwest cities of South Bend and Ann Arbor – did not have the same influence in England, where a more egalitarian approach tended to develop. This study of gender in the Catholic charismatic renewal is therefore also a case study of the ‘glocality’ of the Catholic charismatic movement.