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The English Convents In Exile And Questions Of National Identity, C. 1600–1688

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Chapter Summary

A study of the origin of the members of the English convents in the seventeenth century shows that there were a few members from Ireland, Wales and Scotland at that time alongside the English names. This chapter explores the reasons why it was thought essential to establish separate English convents on the continent and consider questions of national identity arising out of this process. The importance of the use of the vernacular in conventual texts and separate convents for different nations can also be seen in decisions made by Irish Poor Clares in the first half of the seventeenth century. The English exiles were keen to counter Protestant propaganda which emphasised Catholic foreign connections and links with the Papacy. Although the convents remained identifiably English over the whole recusant period, they were also part of their local communities and influenced by their surroundings.

Keywords: Catholic; conventual texts; english convents; english exiles; Irish Poor Clares; local communities; national identity



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