Presenter Information

Kathleen Flanagan S.C.


The Church in the United States faced three main problems between 1810 and 1850: anti-Catholic prejudice, the question of how to educate Catholic children, and the need for care of orphans and the sick. Anti-Catholic prejudice in the United States, which abated somewhat immediately after the Revolution, reached new heights with the massive Irish and German immigration in this period. Conflicts between Catholics and Protestants over which version of the Bible would be used in schools and the bishops’ insistence that interpretation be provided with Bible study contributed to the prejudice. It also led to the formation of a separate Catholic school system. The Sisters of Charity and other religious communities of women and men staffed institutions to care for those who needed it, regardless of religion or ability to pay. This helped combat the prejudice of the time.