Kathleen Sprows Cummings

Director, Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism
Associate Professor of American Studies


403 Geddes Hall

Kathleen Sprows Cummings joined the faculty in 2001 and became director of the Cushwa Center in 2012. Her teaching and research center on the study of U.S. Catholicism and the history of women and American religion.

Her first book, New Women of the Old Faith: Gender and American Catholic Identity in the Progressive Era, was published in 2009 with the University of North Carolina Press. With R. Scott Appleby, she edited Catholicism in the American Century, which was published in 2012 Cornell University Press. Cummings is working on a new book,Citizen Saints: Catholics and Canonization in American Culture. She received an NEH Fellowship to support work on this project during the 2010-11 academic year.

Cummings has offered commentary and analysis to numerous publications and television and radio programs, including CNN, NBC, Commonweal, the New York Daily News, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and the Boston Globe.


Ph.D., M.A., University of Notre Dame
M.A., B.A., University of Scranton

Refereed/Invited Journal Articles and Chapters
  • “American Saints: Gender, Citizenship, and Catholic Devotion in the United States,” Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation, summer 2012.

  • “Teaching About Women, Gender, and American Catholicism,” chapter 10 in The Catholic Studies Reader, ed. Margaret McGuinness and James T. Fisher, Fordham University Press, 2011. (refereed)

  • “Rewriting His Story: Vocations, Teaching Sisters, and American Catholicism in the Progressive Era,” Josephinium Journal of Theology 16:1 (Winter/Spring 2009): 6-23 (invited)

  • “The Wageless Work of Paradise: Teaching Sisters and American Religious History,” Journal of Religion and Society, Supplement Series 5, 2009. (invited)

  • “The ‘New Woman’ at the ‘University’: Gender and American Catholic Identity in the Progressive Era,” chap. In The Religious History of American Women: Reimagining the Past, ed. Catherine A. Brekus (University of North Carolina Press, 2007). (refereed)

  • “‘We Owe it to our Sex as Well as our Religion’: The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, the Ladies Auxiliary, and the Founding of Trinity College for Catholic Women, Washington, D.C.” American Catholic Studies 115 (Winter 2004):21-36. (refereed)

  • American Saints (AMST 30136)

  • Gender & American Catholicism (AMST 30158)

  • Catholics in America (AMST 30164)

  • Women and American Religion (AMST 43148)

Awards and Honors
  • Fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities, 2010-11.

  • Large Research Grant, Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, October 2011.

  • Miscellaneous Materials Grant, Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, May 2010(applied toward intensive study of Italian language, summer 2010).

  • Best Paper Prize, Religion Caucus of the American Studies Association, 2009 Annual Meeting.

  • Mini-Conference Grant, “Transatlantic Catholicism: The French-American Connection,”Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, December 2009.

  • Joyce Award Grant, Office of the Provost, University of Notre Dame, (applied toward enhancing use of technology in classrooms), summer 2008.

  • Book Subvention Grant, Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, 2008.

  • Edmund P. Joyce Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, 2007.

  • Lilly Faculty Fellow, Notre Dame Vocation Initiative, 2002.