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McClain publishes on Catholic history

Lisa McClain, professor in the Department of History, contributed a chapter in the recently published collection of essays, “A Companion to Catholicism and Recusancy in Britain and Ireland: From Reformation to Emancipation,” edited by Robert E. Scully with Angela Ellis, published this month by Brill as part of their Companions in the Christian Tradition series.

"The Painted Life" by Mary Ward - depicts women talking in the street of an old city
“The Painted Life” by Mary Ward

McClain’s chapter, “Underground Devotions: The Day-to-Day Challenges of Practicing an Illegal Faith,” explores the compromises and renegotiations ordinary Catholics had to make during the three centuries in which Catholicism was illegal in Britain and Ireland after Henry VIII broke from the Roman Church.

Catholics attended Mass in barns, stitched and hid Catholic vestments, married clandestinely in fields, and even baptized their own children when priests were unavailable—all in an effort to remain loyal to the Catholic faith while avoiding detection and punishment by Protestant authorities.