Final Reflection

It is bittersweet that the seminar is coming to a close. Giving my oral presentation on Saturday was rewarding to show my friends what I have been working on the past semester. Presenting in class earlier in the week was a nice practice run, as the crowd on Saturday was a lot more intimidating. Although I was a lot more nervous on Saturday, I am glad I did not mess everything up. It was also fun to see how other people’s presentations changed from our class runs and hear the crowd’s reactions beyond our own questions. Congrats to Kathleen for taking the grand prize (because I know you read my posts, but you still deserved it above everybody else).

The year was memorable and I learned so much about myself and the city’s Catholicism (and Catholicism in general). I am so happy and grateful to have been a part of this opportunity. I will continue to expand on my knowledge and the skills I learned throughout the year. Thank you so much to Dr. Shermer and Ruby, and all the other Ramonat Scholars for the experience of this year’s Ramonat Seminar.




A very cheesy screenshotted Snapchat from one of my friends who came to see my presentation. 



Revising Process

The revising process will never actually be done for a paper like this. I am still working through the last section of my essay and continue to edit the introduction as I go. The most frustrating part of the editing process is trying to work through an adequate organization of the paper to correspond with the ideas and vision I have in my head. My most trouble with writing and researching is articulating what I want to get across and choosing the proper wording and organization to effectively do so. Another challenge is finding a place to stop— even if I keep finding a new paper or article which would support my argument, I cannot just keep adding more and more in vain. I also work better in long periods of dedicated time, so I am looking forward to this Easter Break to dedicate continuous time to my paper and presentation. I am looking forward to putting together my presentation because it would allow me to visualize my organization and the importance of my paper. 

In all honesty, my mental health hit a huge roadblock this semester, and it has been challenging to continue working on this paper and finding a proper balance. The most satisfying part of this experience is finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. With a better draft completed, it has been satisfying to incorporate specific feedback from everybody to further fine-tune and attempt to effectively restructure my argument. I am excited to be done with the semester and feel accomplishment in what I have completed.

beach woman sunrise silhouette

Me approaching the end of this paper.                                          Photo by Pixabay on





Revising Process

Slow and steady wins the race. Although progress on my paper has been slower than I would have liked, I am not worried about finishing in time and still see adequate time with what I still would like to do. The peer review with Allison was a nice opportunity to see another paper and her personal writing style. It pinpointed areas where my own paper could be more specific, and she helped clarify spots in my paper where I knew I would like to split paragraphs and add more to separate ideas. Meeting with Ruby, she introduced me to another database (which will also be helpful in future classes and papers) and introduced me to another Catholic women’s group which I am still looking further into.

I am excited for Easter Break to grasp a full day or two to focus only on this paper and project. My struggle for this class has been finding the long periods of time to focus only on my paper without losing an extreme amount of sleep. Given a full few days, I will be able to make more progress on my paper’s editing and completion that I do not reach within the coming week. The toughest parts of finishing my paper will be reworking the introduction and finishing the conclusion to tailor to a final product.

Above is a video of me reading Allison’s paper to her. Enjoy me being unable to pronounce big words.


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Here I think I am pressing record but it’s actually me realizing I am taking photos of myself. 


The First Draft Process




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From Doris Blake’s Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman, February 3, 1929, Chicago Daily Tribune: An article I use during my paper. 



Although each step of writing in this process is rewarding and one step closer to the finished project, writing any research paper at this length and vigor is difficult and occasionally tear-inducing. The time management is always frustrating, but I was able to reserve a few days of relatively constant writing to make sure I was able to get my paper going. I am not completely finished with the first draft, but I am prepared to write more and finish. I am prepared to fix groundwork structuring of my paper while it continues to come together and fix the nitty-gritty grammar and wording. I am happy to have continued to write more and more of the paper even if it is taxing at times. 

Although I know the trick of switching the conclusion and introduction when the paper is finished, when I write a paper I put a lot of focus on the introduction. The introduction is always the most challenging part for me to complete because I have to generally go in order when writing and cannot skip around to different sections. I tend to edit the introduction as my papers go on and naturally flow, but the process of writing the introduction stumped me when we needed to complete the first chunk of our papers a couple weeks ago. Mostly because an “introduction” for a research article includes more categories than short papers for a class. Just receiving feedback on my draft so far from Ruby, I understand the comments she made of clarifying and restructuring parts of my introduction section.   

Overall, I am fully submerged in this work-in-progress and am looking forward to the finished product. 

Check-In and Reflection



First Communion in 1916– Although this picture is not in the 1920s, as these girls grow up, they face the challenges and decisions explored in my project. 


Beginning the first few pages of my research paper was beneficial for me to get over any slumps I have felt. Even if the first few pages change by the end of the semester, the process now allows me to map where I want my project to go. The paper feels more clear than earlier in the research process, but I still have more work to do. Taking my general theme of Chicago Catholic women of the 1920s, I was able to create a logic which I will follow in the outline of my essay. Beginning with an exploration of both Catholic-specific expectations for women, and general 1920s expectations, I will delve into the woman’s relationship with balancing the two and the Church’s attempts to stay relevant in the lives of a new generation of women. I will also seek the new communities women formed if they decided to split with the Catholic Church. 

Although the process is overwhelming at times, it is beneficial to face more frustrations in the beginning stages of the process than when you are 20 pages in and decide you still do not know what you are doing, or decide to completely change your topic (with the limited time we have). I am just happy to have started writing, instead of sitting around and stressing about this. 

On Wednesday, Dale Winling had a talk on Chicago politics and the benefits in voting maps and data found. Winling stressed the importance of digital sources and projects to education and the need to embrace changes in the technological world by digitizing resources. For me personally, the talk reiterated the possibilities in digital sources for completing research. However, as Winling emphasized the struggle in digitizing sources, it is important to remember that not everything is digitized for you to use, and it’s important not to rely on just one outlet— traditional or digitized. It is important not to ignore digital sources, but it is not something to completely rely on, even if they grant access to what was inaccessible before. 

Structuring a Scholarly Article


Cardinal George Mundelein​ was very influential in building Chicago’s Catholic Women’s colleges- but how pure were his intentions? 

Among the many points to address in these week’s blog post is a short collection of our personal research notes. I have combined my notes from two articles which I think will be of great help in my paper: The Women Who Danced for a Living: Exploring Taxi Dancers’ Childhood in Chicago’s Polish American Communities, 1920–1926 and Meeting Multiple Demands: Catholic Higher Education for Women in Chicago, 1911-1939.

Attached Here.

Additionally, we are asked to include a short primary source we plan to use in our paper. I chose to include a newspaper article from the Chicago Daily Tribune from February 3rd, 1920: Break Ground for Girls’ College: $1,000,000 Institution to Be Erected in River Forest. For New College. I like the picture used for this article and the importance stressed about the new school in the Church’s agenda.

Attached Here.

As a class, we were all asked to read and outline the article “How About Some Meat?”: The Office of Price Administration, Consumption Politics, and State Building from the Bottom Up, 1941-1946. This article, like other scholarly articles, begins with an introduction to the topic to provide the necessary information to understand the paper, then a thesis to layout the paper’s direction and stance. The author then turns toward the historical background and importance of the OPA in a general sense. While not directly relating to the argument’s core, the historical context of the OPA provided an understanding of how the organization was able to have such a large impact and legacy on a national scale. Following, the article begins getting into more specific evidence and arguments: policies, the involvement of women (and the targeting tactics toward women), the discussion of race politics around the OPA, and the weaknesses of the OPA which led to its demise. Within this, Jacobs introduces her evidence and explains her own opinions beyond what is explicitly stated already. After a chronological account toward the downfall of the OPA, the article finished with a conclusion with a quick recap of the general argument and a mention of the significance of the argument. Jacobs also included how the topic is still relevant to modern problems and government.

The longest paper I completed was 20 pages. In that paper, my general outline was similar to the article we had to read, but I structured more around 4 primary sources and went through them chronologically. With the article we had to evaluate, the different sections melded together where it smoothly transitioned to each section and piece of evidence. Smooth transitions will be necessary for the final paper- mostly since it will be very long and it might get challenging to maintain a smooth path throughout the essay. Meg Jacobs went very deep into all of her sources- which makes the length reach 30 pages with ease. Also, with a deep exploration of the historical background and context of the OPA, the arguments flow better with understanding. In my own paper, I hope to include the smooth transitions between different sections, and an in-depth understanding of my historical background and importance.

1920’s Catholic Women



Colleen Moore (born Kathleen Morrison) popularized the bob haircut of the 1920s. She was one of the most famous actresses of the silent film era. She was born into an Irish Catholic family. 


I would like to focus on Catholic woman, primarily in the 1920s. I am leaning toward Chicago as a focused location, but the location is still up in the air and may not be centralized to one city or state. However, to explore the newer Catholic women, an urban setting would prove essential. A city life provided more public opportunities than a rural life. Although 1920 brought the 19th Amendment, the political power of women quickly decreased when voting patterns (and lack thereof) emerged. By the mid-1920s, women were not voting as a unified bloc, and men politicians put women on the back burner again. 

By the late 1920s, women focused more on their social and public freedom and opinions— the famous “flapper” emerges. However, the cosmopolitan woman had to balance their societal expectations with familial and religious expectations. My research will focus on the Catholic women who drifted from the Church in preference of the emerging lifestyles of the ‘20s. With this in mind, I hope to answer these five questions throughout my research which would quench my own curiosity and lead my final project to its end. 

  1. What factors influenced women to drift from the Church?
  2.  How did the Church respond to threats of women drifting from their religious affiliation?
  3. How stark was the generational gap of Catholic women in the 1920s in Chicago (or other locations)? Did generational gaps influence the response to changes in the cultural landscape of the country?
  4. Did drifting Catholic women convert to another sect of Christianity or another religion, or did they became relatively secular?
  5. On the other hand, why do these women stay in Catholicism when faced with restraints and intrusions into their personal and social livelihood?
  6. And, possibly a little farfetched, and hard to answer, but– Is the Church’s futile attempts to continue their control over women in connection to the Church’s failed attempts to dominate American culture and politics when against Protestants and anti-Catholic movements?

In a general sense, why does the Church want to keep the same “ideals of Christian womanhood” without adapting to new opportunities and views of women by the general established society?

The research I have already completed starts answering some of my questions. However, I still plan on looking more into online databases and Loyola libraries. I also have made notes of primary sources to begin checking—including studies conducted in the 1920s, and newsletters of the NCCW, a Catholic women’s group of the time. I would also like to look into the newspaper databases to find local responses. Unfortunately, Mundelein College did not open until 1930, but Loyola News has some articles throughout the 1920s. Hopefully, Loyola students would help provide a younger, Catholic response to cultural changes. However, I have to keep in mind that the Loyola articles may not have any woman’s influence over what was reported in the 1920s. Overall, I am excited to explore Catholic women’s struggles and experiences in 1920s America and Chicago. 

Research Ideas


A chapel in Windsor, Ontario. Courtesy of a Vogue article.

Last year, I did a research project on 18thcentury etiquette books. I wanted to somehow incorporate my research into this seminar, but I was not sure exactly how to incorporate it to Catholics in Politics. Also, throughout the last semester, learning more about the Catholic Church brought forward a lot of my own disagreements with the values of the Church. I know I am not the only one who has disagreements and struggles with Catholic views throughout history. On a topic similar to etiquette and conduct, I hope to explore a Catholic women’s struggle to conform to religious expectations while following current and evolving societal expectations.

With this topic, I would possibly explore how Catholic women were depicted in the religion and to the outside world throughout time—i.e. too modest, charitable, rebellious. Additionally, I would research how Catholic women would interact with the public through an outright religious influence, or if they interact outside of the grasps of the Church—did they receive direct support and instruction from the Church or did they act on their own? For instance, evaluating different responses to Humane Vitae and civil rights movements of the 20thcentury would demonstrate women involvement and responses to pivotal changes in society and the Catholic doctrine. On the other hand, earlier looks into the arrivals of Catholic nuns to the United States would show the roots and intentions of their first interactions with the public and charity. I would also like to look into questions and perceptions of modesty toward Catholic women.

I have found a few possible outside readings to correspond with narrowing down a specific research question. Among them is a decree from Pope Pius XI on modesty and “The Marylike Standards for Modesty in Dress,” and a collection of interviews in a 2016 book titled Catholic Women Confront Their Church: Stories of Hurt and Hope. These publications would help navigate my research topic into viable sources to complete my project.


The cover for Celia Vegg Wexler’s collection of stories.

I am looking forward to what the next semester will bring. Although my topics at this time are broader, I cannot wait to see my final product—even if it ends up completely different than the ideas above. I came into this course with little knowledge of Catholicism, but I am excited to further my knowledge and look into specific topics of interest.

How to be a Peacemaker

Founded in 1974, the 8th Day Center for Justice served the Chicago area and beyond as a “prophetic voice against injustice.” However, while doing further research into this organization, I discovered that they officially closed their doors in August 2018. As the organization commented in an article to the Global Sisters Report, combined with financial support losses and a declining necessity for their organization in the modern world, the organization no longer has a pressing need to continue. As the primary goal of the organization was to stress the various intersections of injustice, the organization saw the new involvements in intersectional justice movements throughout the past few years as a sign that their work is complete, and the world is a step closer to fixing injustices. Similar to class discussions about the intersectionality of the Catholic vote, the organization’s mission was to explore and educate the intersectionalities of social movements.

The pamphlet above was issued by the 8th Day Center for Justice to list possible ways any (religious) person could make an impact of the peace movements of the late 20th century. Although there is not a known date of publication, the contents of the pamphlet show that it was published and distributed between 1977-1982. Most likely sometime in the early 1980s before August 6th- opening of an exhibit listed in suggestion four. From influences of Vatican II and the end of the Vietnam War, the 8th Day Center for Justice opened and acted in a time of immense Catholic involvement in social justice which we have studied throughout the semester. As we explored responses to Vatican II and different social movements of the 20th century, the center was created “in the spirit of the transformation that came with the Second Vatican Council as religious communities discerned how to respond to the ‘signs of the times’.” 

One of the deepest connections to the 8th Day pamphlet and class exploration was the encouragements to discuss peace and social issues with neighbors, friends, and peers. Like shown in Berrigan Week with the dinners on Block Island, the importance of conversation and discussion to facilate peace and justice ideals was practiced by the community under the influences of Daniel Berrigan, WIlliam Stringfellow, and other figures.

Link to PDF of the pamphlet: 8th_Day_How_to_be_a_Peacemaker-2

JFK Confronting Catholic Hostility

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During John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign, he faced hostility for his affiliations with the Catholic Church. In the early 1960s, Kennedy was faced with pressure to drop his presidential run and accept a vice presidential candidacy because of his Catholicism. Like Al Smith in 1928, Kennedy had to persuade skeptics that he would stress the separation of the Church and state. At the American Society of Newspaper Editors’ annual convention in April 1960, Kennedy had to steer away from his intended topic for his speech to address the questions of his loyalty. According to the Chicago Daily Tribune article below by Willard Edwards, Kennedy’s speech was effective- indicated by the silence from the editors in the Q&A section. However, the editors may have been stunned as Kennedy condemned the newspapers for “what he regarded as overemphasis for his religion.” Similar to class discussions, Kennedy’s run emphasized his Catholicism even when he did not intend to. In present elections, Catholicism could be used as a tool to win over conservative Catholic voters; but, the 1960s still called for careful navigation for a Catholic candidate to emphasize their independence from the Catholic hierarchy when acting in the benefit of the US.

Link to the PDF of the articleKennedy Rips Bigotry

Article Citation: Edwards, Willard. “Kennedy Rips Bigotry in Church Issue.” Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963), Apr 22, 1960.