Dr Sarah Barthelemy
Catherine de Francheville Fellow in the History of Catholicism - Centre for Catholic Studies
|Catherine de Francheville Fellow in the History of Catholicism - Centre for Catholic Studies in the Department of Theology and Religion
Sarah Barthélemy is the Catherine de Francheville Fellow in the History of Catholicism at the Centre for Catholic Studies at Durham University. She holds a doctorate in history, art, and archaeology from the Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium) and in history and civilisations from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (France). She has taught as a visiting professor in Belgium (UCLouvain Saint-Louis). She is a convening committee founding member of ISHWRA, the International Scholars of the History of Women Religious Association. Her research and publications focus on the history of gender and Catholicism, the history of religious institutions, and the construction and politics of women's sanctity. Her first monograph, titled Le genre de la Société de Jésus, will be published by the Presses Universitaires de Rennes in 2024.
Her current research project considers the way women, oscillating between the status of lay and religious, worked for the conversion of the souls through the organisation of spiritual retreats for women. It brings new attention to the case of the demoiselles of La Retraite, founded in 1675 by Catherine de Francheville, by discussing their modalities of engagement within a Church of men, the spiritual and material tools used in the retreats, and the later perception of their founding figure as inseparable from a group of candidates for sainthood. The chronology will go beyond the seventeenth-century perspective to investigate the evolutions and alterations of their first form of existence, as well as new activities, such as the involvement of the demoiselles in networks of devotion by producing embroidered hearts.