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Book chapter Book chapter Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue
Title:In Search of Women's Dignity and Greater Freedom: Fieldwork on Women and Identity among the Catholic Fatima Sisters in Jos, Nigeria
Author:Erlandsson, Ulrika Bamidele
Book title:Transforming female identities: women's organizational forms in West Africa
Year:1997
Pages:136-146
Language:English
Geographic term:Nigeria
Subjects:Christian orders
women
Cultural Roles
Religion and Witchcraft
Abstract:To choose to become a sister in Nigeria, where the value of women is so closely related to motherhood, is a radical step. In a more conscious way than the average African Christian woman, sisters and nuns are forced to break with the traditional pattern of womanhood, renouncing marriage and family life. During the author's stay in Nigeria in 1991, she met the Our Lady of Fatima Sisters (OLFS), founded in Jos in 1965. After a brief description of the OLFS congregation and the novitiate, she presents the life story of two sisters. Reflecting on the two case studies, she notes that both sisters had received the call to their vocation in a dream; that elements of African religion and tradition are consciously incorporated into their Christian spirituality; that in joining the sisterhood as their profession both women took their own decision in their struggle to assert control over their lives and strive for greater dignity as women; and that in spite of the formal authority structure that the Catholic Church represents, these women had a good deal more power over their lives than one would traditionally expect from women in religious life. Moreover, they also had a freedom over their lives that most women in their society seemed to lack. Bibliogr., ref., sum. in French.
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