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The Bread of the StrongLacouturisme and the Folly of the Cross, 1910-1985$
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Jack Downey

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823265435

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823265435.001.0001

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John Hugo and the Retreat’s Southward Migration

John Hugo and the Retreat’s Southward Migration

(p.139) 5 John Hugo and the Retreat’s Southward Migration
The Bread of the Strong

Jack Lee Downey

Fordham University Press

This chapter examines John Hugo's role in the spiritual regeneration of Lacouturisme in the United States. By the winter of 1949, the debate over Lacouturisme had become firmly rooted in America. Hugo, a diocesan priest from Pittsburgh, was the figurehead of the retreat movement. He translated the retreat into American idioms and almost single-handedly reconstituted what had been a primarily clerical, socially withdrawn, insular francophone movement within Québecois Catholicism into a powerful stimulant for Lacouturite spiritual revival in the United States. Under Hugo's stewardship, the retreat gained a more public, populist slant and also became more organized in its confrontational posture than it ever was in Québec. This chapter considers how Hugo's retreat inspired a form of “public Catholicism” that marked an evolutionary mutation in the American model. It discusses his manifesto entitled Applied Christianity, Joseph Clifford Fenton's response to it, and the anti-intellectualism and “the paranoid style” among the “Lacoutermites”.

Keywords:   retreat movement, John Hugo, Lacouturisme, United States, Catholicism, Applied Christianity, Joseph Clifford Fenton, anti-intellectualism, paranoid style, Lacoutermites

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