Boundaries of Faith: Catholics and Protestants in the Diocese of Geneva offers a fine survey of religious conviction and devotion in the Catholic areas bordering Geneva She combines a social analysis of these people and their customs with assessments of rituals associated with Catholic reform in the Diocese of Geneva, providing a scholarly, in-depth analysis perfect for any college-level Catholic history and spirituality collection.
—Midwest Book Review, California Bookwatch
In Boundaries of Faith, Jill Fehleison explores the Catholic Reformation that sought to revitalize the church through the conversion of Protestants in the diocese of Geneva, the implementation of Council of Trent's recommended reforms, and the restoration of pre-Reformation boundaries in the formerly Catholic diocese. As Fehleison makes clear, such goals were complicated by secular and religious authorities, the shifting of political boundaries between Savoy and France, the poverty of parishioners that made support for the parish churches difficult, and the rugged topography of the region, which rendered frequent oversight impractical. Using ecclesiastical records and correspondence, Fehleison brings to life the complexities that made the complete reform of the region ultimately impossible.... The parishioner's simple faith, hardscrabble life, and enthusiastic embrace of spirituality (although not necessarily through practices endorsed by a visiting bishop) come through in Fehleison's book, enlivening her study as it comes to a close. Here, we glimpse the face of earnest, hardworking humanity, clinging stubbornly to life even as the world around them totters.
—Sixteenth Century Journal
This is a carefully researched and well-written case study of the diocese during the Catholic Reformation...[r]arely is the Catholic Reformation treated so positively with such intelligence and verve.
—Renaissance Quarterly, Summer 2011
Fehleison produces a vivid and intriguing picture of the process of Catholic reform and reconversion at the local level. Her book is exciting both for the information it presents and for the possibilities it suggests for future research on Catholics and Protestants in the region around Geneva.
—H-France Review, Summer 2011
Jill Fehleison’s study of the Diocese of Geneva in the late-sixteenth and early-seventeenth centuries is a fine addition to a lengthy list of books examining the Catholic Reformation in French, German, Italian, and Spanish dioceses. However, the Diocese of Geneva presents a particularly interesting example of the reform program. Since its former seat was now the center of Calvinism, it was on the front lines of the battle against heresy. The diocese also crossed a national boundary between the Duchy of Savoy and France. Among its bishops was one of the most famous figures of the Catholic Reform—the future saint, François de Sales.
—Catholic Historical Review, January 2012
This excellent book examines how three bishops in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries—Francis de Sales, his predecessor, and his successor in the diocese of Geneva—were successful and/or unsuccessful in promoting and restoring Catholicism.... The work also nicely complements other recent studies on how bishops received and implemented prescriptions of the Council of Trent for making bishops and parish priests effective agents of Catholic reform.
—Religious Studies Review, December 2011