Recovering the Legacy of the Thought of Catholic Lay Women (1945-62)
At the crossroads of gender studies, theology and transnational, intellectual and cultural history, this article introduces a new perspective on the pre-history of the Second Vatican Council. The post-war and early Cold War period coincided with the rise of a generation of lay women who became true national and international apostolate professionals. The herstories of their legacies have been largely overlooked or confined by biographical or national boundaries. However, due to their influence on public policies and agenda setting, lay women were able to use ‘female’ forms of associationism as an entryway into male-dominated arenas, including theological debates, while simultaneously beginning to articulate their desire for greater participation in both broader society and the Church.