by Peter Ludlow, PhD


In 1928, facing political marginalization, outmigration, rural abandonment, poverty in coastal communities, and social unrest in the colliery towns of Cape Breton Island, St. Francis Xavier University (St. F.X), the college of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, organized an Extension Department. Uncertain of success, and with few financial resources, Extension launched a program of study clubs, cooperatives, and credit unions that would ultimately be celebrated globally as the “Antigonish Movement.” While clergymen like Monsignor (Msgr) Moses M. Coady (1882-1959) and Father (Fr) James J. Tompkins (1870-1953), garnered most of the period headlines, the Antigonish Movement was unquestionably a vehicle for the Catholic laity, and most especially women, to resolve their own economic problems and become “masters of their own destiny.Continue reading