This book has a valuable message: devotional practice is not to be
dismissed as merely a manifestation of social conformity; but
neither is it a private matter.
`A sympathetic, objective and eminently readable piece of scholarship...The author includes a careful and accurate account of the development of the catechism of the nineteenth century...the value of the book is enhanced by the appendices and the detailed research information on popular devotion which gives the lie to the view that London was (and is) a typical example of English Catholicism.'
The Literary Review
`A fascinating historical monograph'
`It is an important book, which tantalises by opening doors and giving us a glimpse of others' religious experience, and poses important questions to English Catholic readers about what makes for an integrated worshipping community. It is strictly a historical monograph, however, bringing to light a wealth of local evidence, woven wiht considerable skill into a revealing whole. But it also blows wide open many of the inherited historical truisms about the
nineteenth century...It opens doors on a world fading from memory and challenges others to further study of a vital area of Catholic life. It should also play a part in our contemporary reflections on the
nature of the Church as community.'
`At is a scholarly and sympathetic study, which also serves as a welcome reminder of the priority of prayer and worship over all those committees and commissions which have so preoccupied the ecclesiastical mind since vatican II.'
`I would commend Mary Heimann's book without hesitation to anyone who wants to gain insight into what it was life to be a practising Catholic in England between 1850 and 1914. At once readable and scholarly, it vividly evokes the period which shaped the Church with which all of us who grew up before Vatican II were familiar ... What is remarkable is that ... she has been able to get inside a community of faith which is not her own and throw new light on
The Ampleforth Journal
This important assessment of Catholic devotion in Victorian England has major significance for the understanding of the life and development of the English Catholic community, it will also have value as a point of reference for historians of Anglo-Catholicism, she has written a monograph, marked not only by originality and lucidity, but by a remarkable degree of empathy with her subject.
`an important book, which tantalises by opening doors and giving us a glimpse of others' religious experience, and poses important questions to English Catholic readers about what makes for an integrated worshipping community ... It is strictly a historical monograph, however, bringing to light a wealth of local evidence, woven with considerable skill into a revealing whole. But it also blows wide open many of the inherited historical truisms about the
Judith Champ, The Tablet
`Thoroughly researched and coherently written, this book will become a crucial marker in English Catholic historiography.'
Eileen L. Groth, Florida State University, History, Fall 1996
`a well-researched, readable, and informative work ... this is a valuable study that provides a good balance to the "great man" school of English Catholic studies, which focuses on Newman ... This important work makes the private realm of individual piety accessible as it shows a fruitful path to be explored by historians of English religion.'
Carol Marie Engelhardt, Indiana University, Victorian Studies, Summer 1996
`admirable scholarly study ... In Heimann's book there emerges a detailed picture of devotional practice which was not seriously divided by political and national differences.'
Ian Machin, University of Dundee, The Historical Association 1997
`important book ... Heimann's arguments are very well documented, and she is particularly convincing in showing the inadequacy of simplistic perceptions of inexorable ultramontane triumph ... this is a most stimulating, and in many ways a pioneering, book ... It shows how a rich historical tapestry can be woven from hitherto neglected threads of evidence, and demonstrates that the study of spirituality and devotion, far from being an obscure byway, can lead
to a most significant contribution to wider historiographical understanding.'
John Wolffe, The Open University, Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 48 - No. 3, July 1997
`The book ... makes important contributions to our understanding of its subject. It is predicated on wide inspection of hitherto unexamined material.'
S.A. Skinner, Balliol College, Oxford, EHR Nov. 97