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Fire and Roses : The Burning of the Charlestown Convent, 1834

Fire and Roses : The Burning of the Charlestown Convent, 1834 - 00 edition

ISBN13: 978-1555535148

Cover of Fire and Roses : The Burning of the Charlestown Convent, 1834 00 (ISBN 978-1555535148)
ISBN13: 978-1555535148
ISBN10: 1555535143
Cover type:
Edition/Copyright: 00
Publisher: Northeastern University Press
Published: 2000
International: No

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Fire and Roses : The Burning of the Charlestown Convent, 1834 - 00 edition

ISBN13: 978-1555535148

Nancy Lusignan Schultz

ISBN13: 978-1555535148
ISBN10: 1555535143
Cover type:
Edition/Copyright: 00
Publisher: Northeastern University Press

Published: 2000
International: No
Summary

In the midst of a deadly heat wave during the summer of 1834, a woman clawed her way over the wall of an Ursuline convent on Mount Benedict in Charlestown, Massachusetts, and escaped to the home of a neighbor, pleading for protection. When the bishop, Benedict Fenwick, persuaded her to return, vicious gossip began swirling through the Yankee community and in the press that she was being held at the convent against her will, and had even been murdered. The rumored fate of the 'Mysterious Lady,' as she became popularly known, ultimately led to the burning of the convent by an angry, drunken mob of Protestant men. The arsonists' ringleader, a brawny bricklayer named John Buzzell, became a folk hero. The nuns scattered, and their proud and feisty mother superior, Mary Anne Moffatt, who battled the working-class rioters and Church authorities, faded mysteriously into history.

Nancy Lusignan Schultz brings alive this forgotten event, focusing her probing lens on a time when independent, educated women were feared as much as immigrants and Catholics, and anti-Papist diatribes were the stuff of bestsellers and standing-room-only lectures. She provides a glimpse into nineteenth-century Boston and into an elite boarding school for young women, mostly the daughters of wealthy Protestants, vividly dissecting the period's roiling tensions over class, gender, religion, ethnicity, and education.

Author Bio

Schultz, Nancy Lusignan : Salem State College

Nancy Lusignan Schultz is Professor and Coordinator of Graduate Studies in English at Salem State College. She is the editor of two anthologies, Fear Itself: Enemies Real and Imagined in American Culture and Veil of Fear: Nineteenth-Century Convent Tales. She lives in Swampscott, Massachusetts.

Winner of the New England American Studies Association's Lois Rudnick Book Prize

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