When the Sisters Said Farewell tells an important story of the contributions of Catholic elementary schools to the United States by chronicling the experiences and insights of religious women (nuns) who were the last members of their communities to serve in parish elementary schools, and of those lay men and women who were the first to serve in those roles traditionally filled by the sisters. The dramatic numerical transition from the preponderance of religious women to lay leadership from the 1960s to the 1980s has been documented; this book describes the how and why sisters left Catholic schools. This narrative also provides instructive insights about leadership, transitions, and current trends in religious life and Catholic education. As all educators in Catholic, private, and public schools grapple with questions of delivering an excellent education, this book offers a glimpse into the workings of one of the most amazing educational enterprises in the history of the United States.
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