On a Mission: Priests, Jesuits, "Jesuitresses," and Catholic Missionary Efforts in Tudor-Stuart England

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2015


Beginning in 1609, English Catholic women in Mary Ward’s Institute of English Ladies returned to England to advance the mission of reclaiming England for Rome. The English Ladies typically avoided detection by Protestant authorities as they struggled to meet the religious needs of neglected populations. As women, they often could go where men could not, and their labors allowed those already involved in the mission to reach more Catholics and potential converts. This essay seeks to provide a more nuanced understanding of the English Mission’s delivery of pastoral care as well as the role of Ward and the English Ladies.

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