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Kessler Earns M.A. degree

Kessler Earns M.A. degree

PhD candidate Megan Kessler

Megan Kessler, a second-year graduate student in the department of History affiliated with the Richards Center, earned her M.A. degree at the end of March. Kessler will continue her research toward her PhD degree. Her M.A. paper was titled "'This young Lady…is what all you ladies [should] be': Roman Catholic Sister Nurses and Gendered Hierarchy in the American Civil War.” Her dissertation will consider Roman Catholic nuns’ interactions with immigrant populations in the nineteenth-century United States. In this period, nuns founded and staffed hospitals, orphanages, schools, and asylums in nearly every major American city. Quite often, their patients and charges were immigrant women and girls. Their missions usually incorporated training based upon ideals propagated by the nineteenth-century ideology of domesticity. Her project will explore and question the contradictions between the ideology of domesticity promoted by nuns and their own lived experience as unmarried and childless Catholic women engaged in public work. It also will explore how immigrant women and children responded to the contradictory messages their nun caregivers propagated.