Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Annual Meeting of The American Academy of Religion


Baltimore, MD

Publication Date



Religion and Philosophy


In my book, Mothering the Fatherland, forthcoming from Oxford University Press, I analyze how the penitential practices of a group of Protestant nuns in Germany were rooted in their understanding of collective German national guilt in the aftermath of the Third Reich. Those with some prior familiarity with the group may know them as the Evangelical or Evangelische Sisterhood of Mary. I will refer to them throughout by their original name, the Ecumenical Sisterhood of Mary. While the book discusses the sisters’ gender and nationalism separately in the context of the sisters’ repentance and theology of collective national guilt, I will move beyond this in the present discussion to demonstrate how the sisters’ gender and nationalism relate to each other. Specifically, I will argue that the sisters’ anti-German nationalism represents a means for the members of the sisterhood to reify their counter-cultural roles as women in post-World War II Germany.

~Presentation excerpt~