New Books Network

Michael O’Sullivan

Disruptive Power

Catholic Women, Miracles, and Politics in Modern Germany, 1918-1965

University of Toronto Press 2018

New Books in Christian StudiesNew Books in Gender StudiesNew Books in German StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in ReligionNew Books in Religion & Faith March 13, 2020 Ryan Stackhouse

How did Catholic mysticism shape politics and religion in 20th-century Germany? What do seers, stigmatics, and Marian apparitions reveal about broader cultural trends? Michael...

How did Catholic mysticism shape politics and religion in 20th-century Germany? What do seers, stigmatics, and Marian apparitions reveal about broader cultural trends? Michael O’Sullivan’s award winning new book examines how longing for the divine paradoxically drove secularism. In Disruptive Power: Catholic Women, Miracles, and Politics in Modern Germany, 1918-1965 (University of Toronto Press, 2018), O’Sullivan shares the stories of women who found agency in religious institutions as conduits of the miraculous amid political chaos. In a fascinating examination of politics and religious authority, Disruptive Power shows how miracles sustained religiosity, while ultimately speeding the collapse of church authority.

Michael O’Sullivan teaches a broad range of courses on European history at Marist College in New York. He earned his BA from Canisius College, and his MA and PhD from the University of North Carolina.


Ryan Stackhouse is a historian of Europe specializing in modern Germany and political policing under dictatorship. His forthcoming book Enemies of the People: Hitler’s Critics and the Gestapo explores enforcement practices toward different social groups under Nazism. He also cohosts the Third Reich History Podcast and can be reached at john.ryan.stackhouse@gmail.com or @Staxomatix.