“Progressive Education and a Welcoming Church”: Vatican II, Feminism, and Sister Aloysius’ Uncertainty in John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt

Megan Halford


In this essay, I argue that Sister Aloysius projects her religious and social concerns onto Father Flynn and pursues him not out of certainty of his guilt but rather to prove that the changes proposed in Vatican II will breed corruption. Her actions stem out of her pre-existing doubts and exacerbate them when, finally, she loses her battle. Furthermore, despite seeming to hate progress of any sort, Sister Aloysius engages in a feminist rebellion against patriarchal authority within the Church by questioning a male superior and by stepping outside of the approved hierarchy to achieve her ends.

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EISSN  1927-4599
University of Victoria