Economies of Sainthood: Disrupting the Discourse of Female Hagiography

  • Kathleen McPhillipsEmail author
Part of the Sophia Studies in Cross-cultural Philosophy of Traditions and Cultures book series (SCPT, volume 17)


Kathleen McPhillips undertakes a critical appraisal of traditional hagiographies of women saints. Her critical reading of the depiction of Mary MacKillop, a recently canonized Australian nun, indicates that Mary did not conform to conventional ideals of patience, humility, or of submission to male clerical authority. McPhillips raises questions concerning the production of a “masculinized” version of female sainthood and wonders how its normative constraints can be disrupted by a transgressive mode of reading. While such a reading is not, in the strict sense of the term, a gift, it promotes deeper and more realistic insights.


Saint/sainthood Holiness Body Suffering Male clerics Authority Feminist hagiography Fissures Resistance Disjunctive Excommunication Embodied spirituality Hospitality Jacques Derrida 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia

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