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KU leuven



This study on Catholic-inspired poverty care in Brussels between 1945 and 2000 is conducted by doctoral student Els Minne. Central to the research is the question of how Catholic poverty organisations managed their religious identity in a society that was firmly rooted in Catholic traditions, but where the pressures of ‘secularisation’ and ‘modernity’ began to increase. The research starts from eight case studies of both Catholic personalities and Catholic-inspired organisations that took up the fight against poverty.


Through an analysis of letters, newspaper articles, publications and oral history, the practices and discourses of these actors are examined. What help did these organisations offer, and what target group did they have in mind? What role did religion, from volunteers or clients, play in the organisations? In what ways did they try to influence political policy or academic research on poverty? How did the organisations respond to the increasingly diverse group of people living in poverty? By seeking answers to these questions, the project aims to complement knowledge about the role of religion and welfare states with local experiences, thoughts and practices.