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Disruptive Power

Catholic Women, Miracles, and Politics in Modern Germany, 1918-1965

Analyzing material from several archives in Germany and the United States, Michael E. O’Sullivan investigates the unsanctioned but very popular visions in several rural towns after World War II, providing micro-histories that illuminate the impact of mystical faith on religiosity, politics, and gender norms.

Author Information

O'SullivanMichael E.:

Michael E. O’Sullivan is an associate professor in the Department of History at Marist College.


Noel D. Cary, Department of History, College of the Holy Cross, author of 'The Path to Christian Democracy' :

"Superb, rich, and lucidly written, Disruptive Power taps into the burgeoning area of cultural studies as a whole, and Catholic mysticism in modern Germany in particular. Building on a recently vibrant historiography on mystical apparitions in the Kaiserreich, Michael E. O’Sullivan embraces gender studies as well as new approaches to religion, secularization, and modernity."

Mark Edward Ruff, Department of History, Saint Louis University, author of 'The Battle for the Catholic Past in Germany, 1945−1980'.:

"Extremely compelling and well written, Disruptive Power tells a terrific story centred on Therese Neumann, one interwoven with tales of Marian apparitions from other regions of Germany. In a remarkable mastery of detail and nuance, Michael E. O’Sullivan reconstructs the complicated web of reactions, power politics, and ecclesiastical scrambling that ensued in the wake of ongoing revelations, visions, pilgrimages, and cures. Disruptive Power is a masterful example of history written both from above and below − of church, gender, and social history. Written with a commanding grasp of the scholarly literature, it spans the Weimar Republic, the Nazi era, and the first two decades of the Federal Republic."

Audience: College/higher education;Professional and scholarly;