History and future of Franco women to be discussed

Susan Hudson, a graduate student in history from Catholic University of America, will discuss Franco Women: The History and The Future at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 14, in Chase Hall Lounge, 56 Campus Ave. The public is invited to attend this Muskie Millennial Series lecture free of charge.

In writing her doctoral dissertation, Hudson has studied two female religious communities in Lewiston, the Soeurs Grises (also called the Soeurs de la Charite) and the Dames de Sion, to determine how they worked with the Catholic Episcopate to achieve their goals and how they exemplified their religious vows while achieving personal autonomy and cultural authority. Her research challenges the traditional interpretation of female passivity and reveals how several Catholic organizations, such as schools, orphanages and hospitals, were under the authority of women in Lewiston. Hudson believes that as laborers and leaders, the women within these institutions directed Lewiston’s welfare strategies and goals toward a feminist understanding of the poor.

Hudson has been a presenter at the Washburn Humanities Seminar at the Norlands Living History Center in Livermore, Maine. She also has been responsible for religious and educational programs for non-parochial high school students at St. Mary’s Catholic Church of Alexandria, Va. She is a school board member of the Diocese of Portland and the Organization of American Historians in Augusta. She received her bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College and her master’s degree from the University of Portland in Oregon.

Hudson’s talk is part of the Muskie Millennial Series, sponsored by the college’s Edmund S. Muskie Archives. Next in the series will be Joel Mokyr on The Industrial Revolution, Information Technology and Post-Modern Economics at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 28.

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