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Please note that this reading list is not intended to be comprehensive.

In addition to the books and articles recommended here, the Dictionary of Irish Biography is a very useful general source and is available electronically at many public libraries in Ireland.


Individual Biographies

‘An tAthair Pádraig Ó Máille’, Mayo News, 30 May 2017. Available at http://www.mayonews.ie/obituaries/30126-an-tathair-padraig-o-maille

Boehmer, Elleke. Empire, the National and the Postcolonial, 1890–1920: Resistance in Interaction (Oxford University Press, 2002), especially pp. 34–124 on Sister Nivedita.

Bhreathnach, Edel. ‘Luke Wadding (1588–1657): The Only Irishman to Receive Votes in a Papal Conclave’, History Ireland 15:4 (2007). Available at: https://www.historyireland.com/volume-15/luke-wadding-1588-1657-the-only-irishman-to-receive-votes-in-a-papal-conclave/

Biography of Sr Gabriel Hogan. Website of Dominican Sisters of Eastern Australia and Solomon Islands. Available at: http://www.opeast.org.au/discover-our-story/fx-obituaries.cfm?id=246&loadref=13

‘Brother with an Artistic Talent’, Irish Times, 7 Sept. 2002. Available at https://www.irishtimes.com/news/brother-with-an-artistic-talent-1.1094689 [Obituary of Brother Joseph McNally].

Cooke, Colman. Mary Charles Walker: The Nun of Calabar (Four Courts Press, 1980).

Cranney, A. Garr. ‘Noah Webster and William Holmes McGuffey: The Men and Their Contributions to Reading’, Contemporary Issues in Reading 1 (1986), pp. 105–115.

Crawford, V.M. ‘Uganda Calls to Ireland’, Studies 25:97 (1936), pp. 97–108.

Cummings, Kathleen Sparrows. ‘We Owe it to our Sex as well as our Religion: The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, the Ladies’ Auxiliary and the founding of Trinity College, 1898–1904’, American Catholic Studies 115:4 (2004), pp. 21–36.

‘Deaf Nun’s Great Work’, Irish Independent, 24.1.1916. [Obituary: Sr Gabriel Hogan].

‘DESS’s Principal McCarthy Passes Away’ in Gulf News, 17.3.2015. [Obituary: Bernadette McCarthy].

The Eastern Star: Bulletin of The Missionary Sisters of Saint Columban.

Foxe, Barbara. Long Journey Home: A Biography of Margaret Noble (Nivedita) (Rider, 1975).

Friedenberg, Robert V. ‘America’s most Widely Read Speech Teachers: The Brothers McGuffey’, The Speech Teacher 21:2 (1979), pp. 79–85.

Gupta, Jayati. ‘Many Journeys, Many Selves: The Travels of Margaret Elizabeth Noble’, Studies in Travel Writing 20:2 (2016), pp. 176–189.

Herlihy, Maria. ‘Nun from the Rising Sun’, Irish Independent, 24 Oct. 2015. Available at: https://www.independent.ie/regionals/corkman/news/nun-from-the-rising-sun-34129368.html.

Higgs, Catherine and Evans, Jean J. ‘Embracing Activism in Apartheid South Africa: The Sisters of Mercy in Bophuthatswana, 1974–94’, Catholic Historical Review 94:3 (2008), pp. 500–21.

Lally, Anne RSC. History of the Religious Sisters of Charity in Nigeria (1961–2011) (privately printed, [2011]).

Liddy, Pat. ‘Pamela O’Malley Packed Several Lives into One and Lived Each of them with Intensity’, Irish Independent, 19 Feb. 2006. Available at https://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/pamela-omalley-packed-several-lives-into-one-and-lived-each-of-them-with-intensity-26408571.html.

Louis, Sr M. OSF. Love is the Answer: The Story of Mother Kevin (Fallons, 1964).

McGroarty, Julia, in E.T. James (ed.), Notable American Women, 16701950: A Biographical Dictionary (3 vols, Harvard University Press, 1971), vol. 2, pp. 466–8.

Nugent, Helen Louise. Sister Julia (Susan McGroarty) (Benziger, 1928).

O’Donoghue, Eileen. ‘Whitty, Ellen (1819–1892)’ in Australian Dictionary of Biography, online edition. Available at http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/whitty-ellen-4845.

O’Hara, Sr Louis FMSA. Dare to Live: A Portrait of Mother M. Kevin Kearney, FMSA: Foundress of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters for Africa [1979]. Revised & updated by Sr Elizabeth Murphy FMSA (Zimbabwe, 2012).

Ó Máille, Pádraig. A Broad Canvas: Memories of a Missionary (Dudu Nsomba Publications, 2009).

Ó Máille, Pádraig. Living Dangerously: A Memoir of Political Change in Malawi (Dudu Nsomba Publications, 1999).

O’Neill, Mark, ‘An Irishman’s Diary’, Irish Times, 29 Aug. 2011. Available at https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/an-irishman-s-diary-1.609916. [Life of Revd Frederick O’Neill]

O’Neill, Mark, ‘Frederick O’Neill’, South China Morning Post, 16 Oct. 2011. Available at https://www.scmp.com/article/981975/frederick-oneill.

O’Neill, F.W.S. The Quest for God in China (Allen & Unwin, 1925).

O’Neill, F.W.S. The Call of the East: Sketches from the History of the Irish Mission to Manchuria (J. Clarke, 1919).

Reymond, Lizelle. The Dedicated: A Biography of Nivedita (John Day, 1953).

Sullivan, Dolores P. William Holmes McGuffey: Schoolmaster to the Nation (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1994).

Singh, Maina, ‘Political Activism and the Politics of Spirituality: The Layered Identities of Sister Nivedita/Margaret Noble (1867–1911)’ in Tadhg Foley and Maureen O’Connor, eds, Ireland and India: Colonies, culture and empire (Irish Academic Press, 2006), pp. 39–57.

Thompson, Margaret Susan. ‘Adaptation and Professionalisation: Challenges for Teaching Sisters in a Pluralistic Nineteenth-Century America’, Pedagogica Historica 49:4 (2013), pp. 454–70.

‘Unconventional Activist who made Spain her Home’, Irish Times, 18 Feb. 2006. Available at https://www.irishtimes.com/news/unconventional-activist-who-made-spain-her-home-1.1017613. [Obituary: Pamela O’Malley]

Younker, Donna Lee. ‘The Moral Philosophy of William Holmes McGuffey’, Educational Forum 28:1 (1963), pp. 71–8.

O’Donoghue, Mary Xavierius. Mother Vincent Whitty, Woman and Educator in a Masculine Society (Melbourne University Press, 1972).


General Reading

Barr, Colin. ‘“Hurrah for Old Ireland!”: Irish Catholicism at the Cape of Good Hope’ in Colin Barr and Hilary M. Carey, eds, Religion and Greater Ireland (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015), pp. 251–71.

Bateman, Fiona. ‘The ‘Battlefield of the Schoolroom’: Irish Children and Ireland’s Spiritual Empire’ in David Dickson, Justyna Pyz and Christopher Shepard, eds, Irish Classrooms and British Empire: Imperial Contexts in the Origins of Modern Education (Four Courts Press, 2012), pp. 172–83.

Bhreathnach, Edel, and Cunningham, Bernadette, eds. Writing Irish History: The Four Masters and their World (Wordwell, 2007).

Caball, Marc. ‘Articulating Irish Identity in Early Seventeenth-Century Europe: The Case of Giolla Brighde Ó hEódhusa (c. 1570–1614)’, Archivium Hibernicum 62 (2009), pp. 271–93.

Carroll, Clare. ‘‘Tutte le Antiche Usanze’: Preserving Irish Culture in Rome’ in Thomas Herron and Michael Potterton, eds, Ireland in the Renaissance, c.1540–1660 (Four Courts Press, 2007), pp. 138–149.

Chambers, Liam. ‘Rivalry and Reform in the Irish College, Paris, 1676–1775’ in Thomas O’Connor and Mary Ann Lyons, eds, Irish Communities in Early-Modern Europe (Four Courts Press, 2006), pp. 103–29.

Chambers, Liam, and O’Connor, Thomas, eds. College Communities Abroad: Education, Migration and Catholicism in Early Modern Europe (Manchester University Press, 2018).

Collins, Jenny. ‘Schooling for Faith, Citizenship and Social Mobility: Catholic Secondary Education in New Zealand, 1924–1944’, Journal of Educational Administration and History 37:2 (2005), pp. 157–72.

Collins, Jenny. ‘“To the Very Antipodes”: Nineteenth-Century Dominican Sister-Teachers in Ireland and New Zealand’, Paedagogica Historica 49:4 (2013), pp. 494–512.

Collins, Jenny. ‘Creating Spaces in a Male Domain: Sister Principals in Catholic Schools, 1850–1974’, Journal of Educational Administration and History 46:1 (2014), pp. 74–92.

Collins, Jenny. ‘They Came with a Purpose: Educational Journeys of Nineteenth-Century Irish Dominican Sister Teachers’, History of Education 44:1 (2015), pp. 44–63.

Ferté, Patrick. ‘The Counter-Reformation and Franco-Irish Solidarity: Irish Clerical Refugees at the Universities of Toulouse and Cahors in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries’ in Thomas O’Connor and Mary Ann Lyons, eds, Irish Communities in Early-Modern Europe (Four Courts Press, 2006), pp. 32–68.

Gillespie, Raymond. ‘The Louvain Franciscans and the Culture of Print’ in Raymond Gillespie and Ruairí Ó hUiginn, eds, Irish Europe, 1600–1650: Writing and Learning (Four Courts Press, 2013), pp. 105–120.

Hazard, Benjamin. Faith and Patronage: The Political Career of Flaithrí Ó Maolchonaire, c.1560–1629 (Irish Academic Press, 2009).

Hernán, Enrique García. ‘Irish Clerics in Madrid, 1598–1665’ in Thomas O’Connor and Mary Ann Lyons, eds, Irish Communities in Early-Modern Europe (Four Courts Press, 2006), pp. 267–93.

Hill, Myrtle. ‘Saving the Empire? The Role of Irish Women in Protestant Female Missions, 1870–1914’ in Colin Barr and Hilary M. Carey, eds, Religion and Greater Ireland (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015), pp. 229–50.

Hoy, Suellen. ‘The Journey Out: The Recruitment and Emigration of Irish Religious Women to the United States, 1812–1914’, Journal of Women’s History 6:4 (1995), pp. 64–98.

Hoy, Suellen and MacCurtain, Margaret. From Dublin to New Orleans: The Journey of Nora and Alice (Attic Press, 1994).

Linehan, Denis. ‘Irish Empire: Assembling the Geographical Imagination of Irish Missionaries in Africa’, Cultural Geographies 21:3 (2014), pp. 429-47.

Lyons, Mary Ann. ‘St Anthony’s College, Louvain: Gaelic Texts and Articulating Irish Identity, 1607–40’ in Raymond Gillespie and Ruairí Ó hUiginn, eds, Irish Europe, 1600–1650: Writing and Learning (Four Courts, 2013), pp. 21–43.

MacCraith, Micheál, and Worthington, David. ‘Aspects of the Literary Activity of the Irish Franciscans in Prague, 1620–1786’ in Thomas O’Connor and Mary Ann Lyons, eds, Irish Migrants in Europe after Kinsale, 1602–1820 (Four Courts Press, 2003), pp. 118–34.

MacGinley, Rosa. ‘Irish Women Religious and their Convent High Schools in Nineteenth Century Australia’, Australasian Catholic Record 87 (2010), pp. 3–19.

Mangion, Carmen M. ‘‘The Business of Life’: Educating Catholic Deaf Children in Late Nineteenth-Century England’, History of Education 41:5 (2012), pp. 575–94.

Morrisey, Thomas J. Jesuits in Hong Kong, South China and Beyond: Irish Jesuit Mission – its Development 1926–2006 (Xavier Publishing, 2009).

Murphy, Daniel. A History of Irish Emigrant and Missionary Education (Four Courts Press, 2000).

Murphy, David H. ‘Irish Jesuit Schooling in Victoria, Australia’, Irish Journal of Education 25:1/2 (1991), pp. 52–8.

Nilis, Jeroen. ‘Irish Students at Leuven University, 1548–1797 (with index)’, Archivium Hibernicum 60 (2006/7), pp. 1–304.

Ó Ciosáin, Éamon. ‘Hidden by 1688 and After: Irish Catholic Migration to France, 1590–1685’, in David Worthington, ed., British and Irish Emigrants and Exiles in Europe, 1603–1688 (Brill, 2010), pp. 125–38.

O’Connell, Noel Patrick. ‘A Tale of Two Schools: Educating Catholic Female Deaf Children in Ireland, 1846–1946’, History of Education 45:2 (2016), pp. 188–205.

Peterson, Susan Carol, and Vaughn-Roberson, Courtney Ann. Women with Vision: The Presentation Sisters of South Dakota, 1880–1985 (University of Illinois Press, 1988).

Power, Ann. The Brigidine Sisters in Ireland, America, Australia and New Zealand 1807–1922 (Four Courts Press, 2018).

Raftery, Deirdre, and Smyth, Elizabeth M., eds, Education, Identity and Women Religious (Routledge, 2015).

Raftery, Deirdre, ‘Teaching Sisters and Transnational Networks: Recruitment and Education Expansion in the Long Nineteenth Century’, History of Education 44:6 (2015), pp. 717–28.

Raftery, Deirdre. ‘The ‘Mission’ of Nuns in Education in Ireland, c.1850–1950’, Paedagogica Historica 48:2 (2012), pp. 299–313.

Roddy, Sarah. ‘Spiritual Imperialism and the Mission of the Irish Race: The Catholic Church and Emigration from Nineteenth-Century Ireland’, Irish Historical Studies 38:152 (2013), pp. 600–19.

Silvera, A. ‘Educating a City’s Children: British Immigrants and Primary Education in Buenos Aires (1820–1880)’, The Americas 70:1 (2013), pp. 33–62.

[Sisters of Mercy] Leaves from the Annals of the Sisters of Mercy (4 vols, New York: Catholic Publication Society Co., 1889). Available at https://archive.org/details/leavesfromannals03sist/page/468

Tripp, Aili Mari. ‘A New Look at Colonial Women: British Teachers and Activists in Uganda, 1898–1962’, Canadian Journal of African Studies/La Revue canadienne des études africaines 38:1 (2004), pp. 123–56.

Veale, Ailish. ‘International and Modern Ideals in Irish Female Medical Missionary Activity, 1937–1962’, Women’s History Review 25:4 (2016), pp. 602–18.

Walsh, Barbara. Roman Catholic Nuns in England and Wales 1800–1937: A Social History (Irish Academic Press, 2002).

Walsh, Patrick. ‘Education and the ‘Universalist’ Idiom of Empire: Irish National School Books in Ireland and Ontario’, History of Education 37:5 (2008), pp. 645–60.

Image: Sr Mary Joseph & Kabwata schoolgirl, Zambia, 1958. Courtesy Religious Sisters of Charity, Caritas.