Presenter Information

Mary Beth Fraser Connolly Ph.D.


Justina Segale was a Sister of Charity who founded the Santa Maria Institute in Cincinnati. Her primary work was among the Italian immigrants there, and her perspective on Americanization was different from others prevalent at the time. In her view, it was essential to instruct Catholics in their faith in order for them to be good citizens. Indeed, “preserving the faith took precedence” over Americanization. She also did not emphasize assimilation but instead encouraged immigrants to take pride in their Italian heritage. Her Americanization efforts are described. The article also discusses the pressure on immigrants to become citizens and join the military during World War I.