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date: 17 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter studies gender ideals via practices of Marian piety and discourse on Marian devotion, focusing on the gender dynamics at new Marian shrines of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (e.g. Lourdes, La Salette, Oostakker). These sites became the object of discussion between Catholics and liberals, protestants, and anti-Catholics. and formed a perfect petri dish to study gender in modern Marian devotion. Scholars working from a gender perspective have stressed the importance and predominance of women among the visionaries, miraculés, and pilgrims documenting what has been called the ‘feminization’ of Catholicism. Men, however, have been lost from view even though at Lourdes, for instance, the most famous miraculé was a Belgian peasant, Pierre De Rudder. Analysing the work on these new shrines and linking it to more general studies on Marian devotion, this chapter wants to rebalance the research and trace both men’s and women’s involvement and find out what it says about gender perceptions.

Keywords: Gender, femininity, masculinity, apparitions, pilgrimage

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