An Invitation to Listen: Catherine McAuley, Conversion, and Religious Difference in 19th Century Ireland

An Invitation to Listen: Catherine McAuley, Conversion, and Religious Difference in 19th Century Ireland

Peitho Volume 19 Issue 2 Spring/Summer 2017

Author(s): Amy Ferdinandt Stolley

Abstract: Catherine McAuley (1778-1841) founded the Catholic Sisters of Mercy in Dublin following the repeal of the Irish Penal Laws, which had limited Catholics' ability to own land, participate in government, or freely practice their religion. In the post-Penal period, religious debate between Catholics and Protestants aimed to convert others through agonistic debate, usually unsuccessfully. Focusing on McAuley’s religious text, Cottage Controversy, and her own biography, this article traces the development of McAuley’s rhetoric, arguing that it is both invitational and centered on rhetorical listening, ultimately a more viable rhetorical alternative that fosters mutual understanding and peace.

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