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Irish Catholicism, religion, women, Ireland, Spain


Irish catholic women religious who migrated to Spain in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries established a strong tradition of schools, hospitals and charitable institutions. Education and learning were important to Irish communities, and were recognised within Spain. Irish nuns and their convents were not part of an enclosed tradition and outreach work was a central aim. Sponsorship links between women were part of a collective plan, and cultural matronage by and for women appears to have been very effective. Censorship by the Inquisition and tridentine orthodoxy was contested by women’s religious houses which resisted censorship of book collections and art works. This article explores the links of cultural matronage between Irish women and their resistance to patriarchal efforts to control them.