Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

StFX's Kenzie MacNeil wins national James F. Kenney Prize

August 6th, 2019
L-r, StFX history and Catholic studies professor Dr. Barry MacKenzie, Kenzie MacNeil, recipient of the James F. Kenney Prize, and Dr. Peter Ludlow, president of the Canadian Catholic Historical Association.

The Canadian Catholic Historical Association (CCHA) recently awarded the 2019 James F. Kenney Prize to Kenzie MacNeil, a 2019 graduate of the departments of History and Sociology at St. Francis Xavier University. Named in honour of the historian, former Dominion Archivist of Canada and CCHA founder James F. Kenney (1884-1946), the prize is awarded for the best essay on any aspect of the history of Catholicism in Canada written in course by an undergraduate student. Ms. MacNeil’s paper, “Fishers of Women: The Congregation of Notre Dame’s Pioneering Efforts on Female Education in Nova Scotia,” examined the important role that religious congregations had in delivering education for Catholic women in communities like eastern Nova Scotia. 

CCHA President, Dr. Peter Ludlow, was very pleased with Ms. MacNeil’s paper and notes that this kind of scholarship is important in understanding how faith shaped all aspects of Canadian society. This paper helps demonstrate that “Catholic history is not merely about priests and bishops,” Dr. Ludlow noted, "but encapsulates issues like gender and ethnicity that together construct a fascinating social history.”

StFX history and Catholic studies professor Dr. Barry MacKenzie, who nominated Ms. MacNeil for the prize, was delighted with the news. “The Church, through both men and women religious, and in the way it guided the actions of the laity, played an immensely important role in the foundation and expansion of StFX, and in the region more broadly,” he commented. “Generally, that history is not well known, and so I was especially pleased that Kenzie took the initiative in telling the story of the CND sisters at Mount St. Bernard. We need to fully understand these stories, and in a more nuanced way.”

 

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