By Dr Sarah Barthélemy (Durham University, UK, and Université Saint-Louis - Bruxelles, Belgium)
In the centuries following the foundation of the Society of Jesus, many women had taken up normative aspects of the order (such as the Common Rules, Ignatius' letter on obedience, the Summary of the Constitutions, the Spiritual Exercises, etc) to support their apostolic work. Their proximity —whether real or perceived— to the Society of Jesus earned them popular nicknames such as jésuitesses, which at some point became an insult inherited from anti-Jesuitism, coupled with misogyny and not necessarily directed at nuns and sisters themselves. What did the use of Jesuit norms mean to these women and to the Jesuits? How did it contribute to the development of women's institutes with an apostolic vocation in various forms?
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