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The Fierce Life of Grace Holmes CarlsonCatholic, Socialist, Feminist$
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Donna T. Haverty-Stacke

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781479802180

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479802180.001.0001

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“Carlson’s Continuing Commentary”

“Carlson’s Continuing Commentary”

(p.183) 6 “Carlson’s Continuing Commentary”
The Fierce Life of Grace Holmes Carlson

Donna T. Haverty-Stacke

NYU Press

Chapter 6 explores how, during her years at SMJC from the mid-1960s until 1984, Grace embraced a unique form of Catholic activism that drew from the liturgical movement and Catholic Action movement, the ideas espoused by Catholic Marxists in the English Slant movement, and, ultimately, the reforms of Vatican II. She remained devoted to fighting for civil rights and for peace, now including antinuclear campaigns. Through her insistence on striking at the heart of capitalist exploitation, Grace maintained much of her Marxist thinking. In her continued belief in the importance of an organized political movement to effect revolutionary social change, she proudly touted her Old Left loyalties in the face of what she condemned as the undisciplined approaches of New Left protests. And in her call for engagement with the pressing problems of the day as a gospel mandate for the lay apostolate, she functioned as a Catholic activist. In her roles as a teacher, administrator, mentor, and friend, Grace also continued her struggle for women’s equality, now working to overthrow capitalist patriarchy by educating the masses through a variety of personal and professional interactions, particularly as she advised—and at times financially supported—women students at SMJC.

Keywords:   liturgical movement, Catholic Action, Slant, lay apostolate, Vatican II, civil rights, antinuclear campaigns, New Left, women’s equality

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