A social history of one of Canada’s most influential Catholic regions.
For generations eastern Nova Scotia was one of the most celebrated Roman Catholic constituencies in Canada. Occupying a corner of a small province in a politically marginalized region of the country, the Diocese of Antigonish nevertheless had tremendous influence over the development of Canadian Catholicism. It produced the first Roman Catholic prime minister of Canada, supplied the nation with clergy and women- religious, and organized one of North America’s most successful social movements.
Disciples of Antigonish recounts the history of this unique multi-ethnic community as it shifted from the firm ultramontanism of the nineteenth century to a more socially conscious Catholicism after the First World War. Peter Ludlow chronicles the faithful as they built a strong Catholic sub-state, dealing with economic uncertainty, generational outmigration, and labour unrest. As the home of the Antigonish Movement – a network of adult study clubs, cooperatives, and credit unions – the diocese became famous throughout the Catholic world.
The influence of “mighty big and strong Antigonish,” as one national figure described the community, reached its zenith in the 1950s. Disciples of Antigonish traces the monumental changes that occurred within the region and the wider church over nearly a century and demonstrates that the Catholic faith in Canada went well beyond Sunday Mass.