Sixth Triennial CHWR (2004)

The Sixth Triennial Conference on the History of Women Religious met at the Atchison Heritage Conference Center in Atchison, Kansas, June 27–30, 2004. Carol Coburn served as program chair, with a theme of “Crossing Boundaries: Comparative Perspectives on the History of Women Religious.” 95 presenters from Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, Japan, and Norway, in addition to the United States, presented research about the lives and activities of women religious on four continents. The program was notably internationalized (sessions on “Women Religious Under Communism: Chinese, Vietnamese, and Romanian Perspectives,” “Women Religious in Australia,” and “Learning Chinese: Letters to and from China in the 1930s” supplemented North American, British, and European panels) and interested in non-Catholic women religious (sessions on “Catholic and Protestant Women Religious in Great Britain and Ireland,” “Along the Borders of Faith–Catholic and Protestant Encounters,” and “Women Religious from Multiple Faith Traditions.”) Both aspects would have been greatly enhanced by a planned panel on “Mystic Women of India,” which unfortunately had to be canceled due to travel difficulties for its three presenters, all scholars from India. 

Elizabeth Rapley, who also won the sixth Distinguished Historian Award, gave the opening keynote address, on the topic “A Boundary Crossed: Apostolic Women in Early New France.” At the banquet, Anne Butler gave a keynote entitled “‘There Are Exceptions to Every Rule’: Adjusting the Boundaries–Catholic Sisters and the American West.” And director Jayasri Hart screened an early cut of the documentary Sisters of Selma, which premiered on PBS in March 2005, with a roundtable comment by three sisters featured in the film: Antona Ebo, F.S.M.; Barbara Moore, C.S.J.; and Rosemary Flanigan, C.S.J.

The second and third Distinguished Book Awards went to Diane Batts Morrow and Anita Caspary, IHM, and the first Lifetime Achievement Award to Mary Hermenia Muldrey, RSM.