One woman’s selfless and fearless pursuit of greater equality, justice, and reproductive rights for women, by author Paula Dáil.
Maggie Corrigan was born in 1932 to young Irish immigrants, and brought up in a rough, South Side neighbourhood of Chicago. Her mother, Maureen, died during childbirth when Maggie was just nine years old, leaving her to bring up her younger siblings as the oldest female in the household. Her father, Paddy, worked in the stock yards, and spent much of his spare time in drinking establishments. At the age of seventeen Maggie contemplates her future. She could marry and have children like her mother, or she could work for a pittance as a domestic, but Maggie wants more from life and wants to improve the lives of poor catholic women. She decides to enter a convent with the hope of changing the catholic church and making it more equitable for women. Maggie joins the Order of the Pax Christi Sisters of Charity and Justice (SCJ) motherhouse in Saint Xavier, Indiana, where she is assessed by her superiors for her commitment and suitability for religious life. Maggie is admitted into the novitiate, and six years after entering the Order, she becomes a fully professed member of the SCJ religious community. Maggie dedicates the rest of her life to improving the lives of women, by helping them gain the self-confidence and freedom to control their own futures and their reproductive lives.
In 2017, at the age of 86, Maggie contacts Professor Gillian Spencer, a sociologist, poverty researcher and women’s rights advocate, and invites her to write the story of her life. Gillian turns down the offer at first, but is eventually persuaded by Maggie to tell her story. Gillian travels to Chicago and immerses herself into the life of Maggie, following her journey back to her birthplace, through the church, to her work leading the women’s reproductive rights movement, and as a patient advocate in an Illinois abortion clinic.
Fearless, by author Paula Dáil, is a moving and inspirational story about one woman’s selfless and fearless pursuit of greater equality, justice, and reproductive rights for women. Maggie dedicated her entire life to God, and to helping poor catholic women, while overcoming her own childhood trauma, and risking her profession and reputation. This is an insightful, captivating and sometimes harrowing novel, with believable characters and authentic narrative. The book highlights the patriarchal control and authoritarianism that still exists in society and the Catholic Church today. It is a great way of engaging those who might find feminist literature inaccessible, in women’s rights issues. Whilst this novel is a work of fiction, it is inspired by the collective stories of real women. The many women that inspired this story are a true inspiration to women and girls everywhere.
Star rating: 5 Stars
Summary: A moving and inspirational story that highlights the patriarchal control and authoritarianism that still exists in society and the Catholic Church today.