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A Leader without Authority: Mary Consuelo de la Cruz Batiz and Missionary Women at New Norcia

Massam, Katharine (2012) A Leader without Authority: Mary Consuelo de la Cruz Batiz and Missionary Women at New Norcia. In: Seizing the Initiative: Australian Women Leaders in Politics, Workplaces, and Communities. eScholarship Research Centre, Melbourne, pp. 72-88,. ISBN 978-0-7340-4797-7

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    Abstract

    In 1904 Mary Consuelo de la Cruz Batiz, orginally from Mexico, arrived in Western Australia with six other women who were to form a community of missionaries alongside the Spanish Benedictine monks at New Norcia. Consuelo, the sole English speaker in the group, became the director of the new college for Aboriginal girls and exercised significant responsibility within the mission town. Within the fragmentary sources, the glimpses of Consuelo Batiz in the Spanish-language records depict a woman widely appreciated by missionaries and Aborigines for her energy, dedication and capacity to lead. This material sits uncomfortably alongside evidence recorded in English that show Consuelo captive to prevailing racist assumptions, and with her authority constrained by a highly charged field of religious, cultural and gendered assumptions. This chapter considers the handful of sources documenting Consuelo’s time at New Norcia, and argues that the disparity between accounts may reflect tensions between the roles Consuelo exercised and the identities she navigated as a Spanish-speaking missionary woman in a British colonial context.

    Item Type: Book Chapters
    Repository Version: Published Version
    Keywords (separated by commas): Consuelo Batiz, New Norcia, Benedictine, Teresian, missionary women, Aborigines, Australia
    Fields of Research: 21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History
    21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
    22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220401 Christian Studies (incl. Biblical Studies and Church History)
    22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220405 Religion and Society
    Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9504 Religion and Ethics > 950404 Religion and Society
    C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australia's Past
    C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950504 Understanding Europe's Past
    E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology
    Type of Activity: Pure Basic Research
    Subject Area(s): C - Church History
    A - Humanities, general
    Association with University of Divinity: UFT-UCTC: United Faculty of Theology - Uniting Church Theological College
    Related URLs:
    Depositing User: Dr Katharine Massam
    Date Deposited: 02 Jan 2013 15:21
    Last Modified: 02 Jan 2013 15:21
    URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/1117

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