The Catholic News Agency (CNA) recently published an interesting piece on the role of religion in the U.S. Civil War. CNA interviewed Dr. George G. Rable of the University of Alabama on this subject, since this year marks the 150th anniversary of the war.
Dr. Rable is the author of God’s Almost Chosen Peoples: A Religious History of the American Civil War. He provides some interesting commentary on the complex role of the Catholic Church in both the North and the South, especially as it related to discussion of the moral issue of slavery.
Of particular interest to our readers is the role played by consecrated religious in the war. Perhaps most noteworthy were the Sisters of Charity, who worked in the military hospitals and cared for everyone regardless of their political affiliation.
“They were there to serve as nurses. Soldiers on both sides were impressed with the Sisters of Charity,” added Rable, whose book recounts the story of one soldier so impressed by a sister that he converted to Catholicism.
For more on the role of Catholic religious in the Civil War, check out “Catholic Sisters and the American Civil War” by Dr. Pat McNamara.