For a few months in 1854, the promulgation of Ineffabilis Deus catapulted the Blessed Virgin Mary to the front pages of American newspapers. The intense controversy surrounding Mary’s Immaculate Conception reveals much about American attitudes toward her, women, and each other. In this talk, Dr. Elizabeth Hayes Alvarez will explore why Americans were so worried about Mary. Could it be that the contest between Protestants and Catholics over who got to define her was about more than just theology?
Dr. Elizabeth Hayes Alvarez teaches American religious history at Temple University. She is author of The Valiant Woman: The Virgin Mary in Nineteenth-Century American Culture (University of North Carolina Press, 2016) and Religion in Philadelphia (Temple University Press), due out this fall.