Patricia Wittberg, S.C., speaks at Boston College during the July 2018 conference Envisioning the Future of Catholic Religious Archives.
The CHWR maintains connections to peer organizations, research centers and initiatives, relevant archives and digital collections.
Browse a list of resources below, and stay updated on CHWR news by subscribing to the Cushwa Center's mailing lists.
Scholarly Organizations for the Study of Women Religious
- Conference on the History of Women Religious (CHWR)
- For all historians and archivists of women religious from the early church to the present day
- Subscribe to the Cushwa Center's mailing list for CHWR news and updates
- HWR News and Notes, 1988–2011, is available online at the University of Notre Dame Archives. Subsequent News and Notes issues (from fall 2011 to spring 2019) are included in the American Catholic Studies Newsletter.
- The CHWR’s archives are held at the University of Notre Dame Archives with a detailed finding aid.
History of Women Religious of Britain and Ireland
- for all historians focusing on British and Irish women religious, including missionaries and overseas foundations
- annual conference, book reviews, active online presence
- excellent bibliography (including works on non-British sisters)
American Catholic Historical Association
- for all U.S.-based historians of Catholicism
- two annual conferences; travel and research grants; awards
Archivists for Congregations of Women Religious
- primarily for archivists of religious orders to share information about the special problems of religious orders’ archives; also open to historians
- If you are a researcher interested in contacting a particular congregation or archive, you can write to the ACWR at firstname.lastname@example.org and they will assist you.
Research Centers, Archival Collections, and Digitized Sources
University and other general archives (United States and Canada)
Note: Individual collections listed here do not include all resources to be found in any given archive. Please consult the archives’ websites and archivists for other potentially relevant collections.
- “Envisioning the Future of Catholic Religious Archives” (Proceedings, videos, and updates from the 2018 Boston College conference)
- Catholic Research Resources Alliance and the “Catholic Portal”
University of Notre Dame Archives
- National Assembly of Religious Women (U.S.) Records
- Leadership Conference of Women Religious Records
- Association of Contemplative Sisters Records
- Papers and records of individual congregations include: Our Mother of Perpetual Help Monastery (Redemptoristines); Indianapolis Carmelites; Carmel of Reno; Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, KY; Sisters of Loretto.
- Papers of individual sisters include: Elizabeth A. Johnson; Mary Margaret Funk; Patricia Marie Mulpeters; Mary Benet; Rose Eileen Masterman; Marie Augusta Neal; Lilliana Owens; Ursula Stepsis.
- Catholic University of America Archives
- Marquette University Special Collections and University Archives
Major Congregational Archives (United States and Canada)
Note: this list does not include the archives of individual local communities; if you are interested in these, please contact the congregation directly. Decentralized orders—including the Benedictines, Franciscans, and Ursulines—often have smaller individual archives held at various locations. Researchers interested in American sisters may find it useful to consult this list of congregations represented by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious or this list of member communities of the Council of Major Superiors of Women. Additionally, many American communities are or were international in scope; records relating to the communities may be held at their orders’ archives in Europe.
- Daughters of Charity, Province of St. Louise, Emmitsburg, MD
- Mercy Heritage Center, Belmont, NC
Martha Smith, CSJ, Ph.D., Archives and Research Center, Avila University
- contains both the CSJ Heritage Center Archives and a “repository for out-of-print and contemporary books, manuscripts, pamphlets, photographs, ephemera and other materials by, for and about American sisters” known as the Women Religious Special Collections.
- Sr. Mary Nona McGreal Center for Dominican Historical Studies, River Forest, IL
- Oblate Sisters of Providence, Baltimore, MD
- Maryknoll Missions Archives, Ossining, NY
- Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament & National Shrine of St. Katharine Drexel, Bensalem, PA
- Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (RSCJs), U.S.-Canada Province, St. Louis, MO
- The Provincial Archives of Alberta holds the records of five religious orders: Les Oblats de Marie Immaculée, 1842–1986; Les Soeurs de L’Assomption de la Sainte Vierge, 1868–1987; The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, 1849–1990; The Sisters of Providence, 1886–1978; and the Soeurs Grises/Grey Nuns, 1877–1967.
- Local Community Records of Women Religious in the Archdiocese of Seattle
- Who Were the Nuns? (database and analysis of English convents in exile, 1600–1800)
- Catholic Hospitals Digital History Books Collection (Canada)
- Catholic Sisters International (photos of dolls dressed in miniature habits; Pauline A. Money Collection, University of Dayton)