"If they are useful, why expel them?" Las Hermanas de la Caridad and religious medical authority in Mexico City hospitals, 1861-1874

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


The expulsion of las Hermanas de la Caridad was a highly contentious battle in Mexico's nineteenth-century war between Church and State. Las Hermanas-who staffed and administrated Mexico City's hospitals for three decades (1844-1874)-are generally portrayed as the adventitious victims of President Lerdo de Tejada's attacks on religion. Using records from Mexico City's Secretary of Health archive, this article argues that public health officials were a major force behind the expulsion, and that the sisters were ultimately ousted not just because they symbolized the rising influence of Vincentians in Mexico, but also because their medical and administrative autonomy represented a threat to scientific and state authorities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-442
Number of pages26
JournalMexican Studies - Estudios Mexicanos
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History

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