Sisters Justina, Blandina, and the Work of the Santa Maria Institute: Thought Questions
The Journal of Sister Justina and the Santa Maria Institute
1. What motivated Catholic Sisters to move beyond their convent walls to work among the people in their society?
2. How significant an impact do you think Catholic Sisters working in the Charity tradition have had on U.S. society?
3. Whose idea was it to found the Santa Maria Institute? What needs or problems did the Sisters hope to address through this new mission? What resources were available to them and what difficulties did they face? How did they confront these organizational issues?
4. Why did people come to the Santa Maria Institute? What did they want? How did the Sisters respond to their requests? What activities and programs did they initiate on their own? In what ways were the Sisters sensitive to the needs people expressed to them? How did they try to change the people they worked with?
5. Describe some of the interactions between the Sisters and people who were not Catholic or Italian. Were people in positions of authority in Cincinnati government and social services always sensitive to the Sisters’ faith and ethnic identity?
6. If you have studied the urbanization, immigration, women, or reform in the early twentieth century, how does Sister Justina’s journal expand your understanding of the period? Are her perceptions and opinions different from others you have encountered in primary sources from this period in U.S. history? In what ways are they similar?
7. What do the documents indicate about Catholic-Protestant relations in Cincinnati?
8. What do the documents tell you about Sisters Justina and Blandina’s views on loyalty to America? How did they view Americanization?
9. Why were they concerned about Protestant proselytizers?