Skip navigation

Visibility and invisibility: French and British Roman Catholic Girl Guides in peace and war, 1910-1945

Visibility and invisibility: French and British Roman Catholic Girl Guides in peace and war, 1910-1945

Martin, Mary Clare Hewlett ORCID: 0000-0002-3568-6423 (2006) Visibility and invisibility: French and British Roman Catholic Girl Guides in peace and war, 1910-1945. In: Eighth International Conference on Urban History, 30 August - 2 September 2006, Stockholm, Sweden. (doi:91-88882-28-4)

[img] PDF (Word to PDF conversion (via antiword) conversion from application/msword to application/pdf)
urban3.pdf - Presentation
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (61kB)


Representations of marching fascist youth in interwar Italy and Germany have become increasingly familiar, not only in academic writing, but through mass media and popular literature. Far less attention has been paid to Roman Catholic youth organisations in Europe. Yet contemporary images and accounts, for example, from the French family magazine Le Pelerin, in the 1920s, illustrate the psychological significance of Roman Catholic young people as occupiers of urban space, not only in religious processions (as in a children’s Mass held in the Coliseum in 1923) but in sporting activities which reflect the international interwar enthusiasm for developing physical skills in the open air..
This paper will draw on newspapers, magazines, local histories and church records to examine the representation of Roman Catholic youth in France in the 1920s and 1930s, within widely differing types of urban space. “Youth organisations” will be broadly defined to include catechumens and communicants’ guilds, as well as national organisations such as the F.G.S.P.F. (Federation gymnastique et sportive des patronages francais, founded in 1898) . Images range from the gymnastic displays of thousands in the Champ de Mars in Paris in 1923, to children and young people in saints’ day processions in small provincial towns. While exploring the links between national identity, religion, discipline and exercise, comparisons will be made with England, where Roman Catholicism was a minority religion. Whereas the Catholic Women’s League Magazine described mass gatherings of Roman Catholic Girl Guides and Boy Scouts in Central London, as well as on private estates, and in local rallies, some advice books encouraged allegiance to the international Roman Catholic community rather than to the nation.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Paper)
Additional Information: This essay originated as one of five of a panel I co-organised at the Eighth International Conference on Urban History, entitled “Childhood and Youth in Urban Europe: Institutions and Organisations”. The panel consisted of three papers focusing on children’s health, by Dr Alysa Levene (Oxford Brookes), on Foundling hospitals in Italy and London, Professor Anne Borsay (Swansea) on nineteenth-century institutions for deaf children, and Dr John Stewart (Oxford Brookes) on Roman Catholic Child Guidance in interwar Glasgow. The second section, on youth organisations, consisted of the paper below by myself and one by Dr Keith Cranwell (Greenwich) on adventure playgrounds. The paper was published on CD in L. Nilsson, editor (2007) Urban Europe in Comparative Perspective: Papers Presented at the Eighth International Conference on Urban History, Stockholm 2006, on CD. ISBN: 91-88882-28-4
Uncontrolled Keywords: Girl Guides, Roman Catholics, youth organisations,
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Education
School of Education > Department of Education & Community Studies
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2019 14:45

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics