her death in 1865.29 Even so, the degree of change and freedom should be kept in perspective. Barat and many others had to accept a form of semi-enclosure they had not wanted, and the fact that the 'new nuns' mirrored the traditional nun in appearance, in demeanour and in observation of the communal Office says a great deal about the power of conservatism and the need to meet expectations. The latter was also true for the Anglican sisterhoods, although the centrality of the governance issue within Roman Catholicism had no parallel in the Anglican church. Instead, the absence of an established framework or an agreed perspective from the church hierarchy about sisterhoods enabled their founders to appropriate the status of 'ecclesiastical superior' for themselves. Sisterhoods were founded in the spirit of private enterprise, often by upper-class and upper-middle-class women whose class reinforced the independence of their communities and, whilst their relationship with the Church of England was ambivalent and often unhappy, the Anglican movement was not consequently hampered in its development.30
In addition to this innovation in governance, the development of religious life in the nineteenth century saw the emergence of several trends that proved to be long-lasting. First, as we have seen, the active rather than the contemplative life became the norm for female religious. It was soon reflected in everyday parlance about 'nuns', and their canonical status as religious was finally confirmed by the promulgation of Conditio a Christo in 1900. Second, in place of the practice whereby new groups affiliated themselves to existing traditions or even the amalgamation ofkindred initiatives, there was a marked trend for the multiplication and proliferation of fresh foundations. The highest number is known to have been made in France, with more than 200 new or refounded congregations being well established by 1880, but there were large numbers of new foundations elsewhere. The United States saw the creation of almost eighty between 1800 and 1900, in Italy the figure for the same period was 183, and in the Quebec province of Canada alone twenty-six foundations were made between 1837 and 1914. The Church of England, too, experienced this proliferation, with the establishment of ninety separate sisterhoods in the fifty years following 1845. Although the separate foundations had much in common one with another, including the influence of an Ignatian approach to religious life and a model of organisation drawn from France, they remained as hundreds ofdistinct organisations with specific histories and characteristics. Third, their growth was on such a scale that in many countries the gender balance of the church's virtuosi (its professionals) shifted from men to women for
29 Williams, Society of the Sacred Heart, pp. 50-1.
30 Mumm, Stolen daughters, ch. 5.
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