New book provides an up-to-date and comprehensive analysis of the state of women’s religious orders in the United States

SAN FRANCISCO, July 10, 2013 – Fifty years ago, women’s religious orders were flourishing, with nearly 200,000 religious sisters serving Catholic schools, hospitals and other institutions throughout the United States. Then, drastic changes occurred during the ideological shifts and moral upheavals of the 1960s, adversely affecting women’s religious orders.

In what will no doubt stir up some controversy, Ann Carey addresses the crisis head-on that has affected women’s religious orders, including the consequences of wayward leadership and reasons for the significant decline in the number of religious sisters in the United States, in her new book, SISTERS IN CRISIS REVISITED: From Unraveling to Reform and Renewal.

Using the archival records of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and other prominent sources, Carey uncovers how feminist activists unraveled American women’s religious communities from their leadership positions in national organizations and large congregations. Carey, a veteran journalist who specializes in bioethics and Catholic women religious, also explains the recent and necessary interventions by the Vatican.

“Ann Carey has documented in detail the almost unbelievable deconstruction of communities of women religious in the United States — the sudden transformation of so many sisters from exemplary piety and strict observance of rules to ideologically driven political activists determined to ‘restructure’ the Church. We earnestly hope that Carey’s careful account of what happened and how will aid in finding the profoundly needed cure for this devastating disease,” remarked Helen Hull Hitchcock, director of Women for Faith and Family, upon reviewing the content.

Carey’s book is the only full and complete history of American Catholic women religious in existence. And while the situation appears dire, Carey does also provide signs of hope, reporting on a promising sign of renewal in American religious life: the growing number of young women attracted to older communities that have retained their identity and newly formed, yet traditional, congregations.

For more information, to request a review copy or to schedule an interview with Ann Carey, please contact Kevin Wandra:


Kevin Wandra


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