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Unlike medievalists, modern historians have paid scant attention to the economic side of the history of Catholic religious institutes. Up to this day, most interest has been devoted to the spiritual aspects and apostolate of the different orders and congregations in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Given the spiritual calling of religious institutes, the economic activities necessary to keep the institutes running in a technical sense are seen by most historians as irrelevant to the essence of an organization that consists of education, preaching, charity, contemplation, and liturgy. Yet many religious institutes were very successful in re-establishing themselves after the French Revolution, sometimes accumulating large patrimonies, against the background of often-hostile political forces.
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