Altruism and sacrifice: Anglican priests managing ‘intensive’ priesthood and motherhood

Sarah-Jane Page

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Motherhood and Priesthood are two roles that carry with them particular expectations and demands; both are premised on the notion of altruism and sacrifice, constant availability, and putting the needs of others before one’s own (Carroll et al. 1983; Hayes 1996; Peyton and Gatrell 2013; Thorne 2000). This has also been gendered; sacrifice and altruism have traditionally been connected with women (Hays 1996). This article will examine what happens when clergy mothers simultaneously enact the roles of priesthood and motherhood, and how this is managed in the context of ‘intensive’ motherhood and priesthood. Based on in-depth semi-structured interviews with 17 clergy mothers in the Anglican Church, it will highlight the contradictions, negotiations and interweaving which occurs for both roles to be concurrently enacted, offering a contextual insight into the management of motherhood vis-à-vis professional life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47–63
Number of pages17
JournalReligion and gender
Issue number1
Early online date19 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2016

Bibliographical note

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license (unless stated otherwise) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).


  • intensive motherhood
  • intensive priesthood
  • Church of England
  • clergy mothers


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