My group and I did a case study on Konieczny’s book, The Spirit’s Tether: Family, Work, and Religion among American Catholics, and I was intrigued. I didn’t know much about Catholicism as I was growing up (all I knew was that they baptized babies and “worshiped” the Virgin Mary), so I took this as an opportunity to learn more about the religion itself. However, this book gave me two, very detailed, experiences at two very different Catholic churches.
When I read about the Our Lady of Assumption church, I didn’t understand how a Catholic church could be so strict. I always remembered my Catholic friends being allowed to do more than I was when I was younger, and their parents were always less strict. I always wanted to convert to Catholicism as a kid because it seemed more fun. But this church wasn’t what I thought a Catholic church would be like. They had bold opinions on abortion, there were gender roles, and there was a bit of a hierarchy. I was blown away when I read the stories of the people Konieczny interviewed.
The second church, Saint Brigitta, was interesting as well because it was very different from Assumption. It was definitely a lot more lax, and it seemed like the members enjoyed being members there. I thought it was crazy that they met in a gymnasium, compared to Assumption that met in a grand chapel with stain glass windows. I thought it was especially crazy that members of this church were pro-choice, and they weren’t reprimanded by the priest. Overall, I love how Konieczny wrote this book because she took two churches of the same religion in the same city, and showed how completely different they actually were.