Cushwa Center to host meeting of the American Catholic Historical Association

Author: Heather Gary

The University of Notre Dame’s Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism will host the spring meeting of the American Catholic Historical Association (ACHA) from Thursday, March 26, through Saturday, March 28, at the Notre Dame Conference Center in McKenna Hall.


More than 100 scholars have registered for the event, which will feature 54 papers at 20 sessions. “It’s a privilege to host this event,” said Cushwa Center Director Kathleen Sprows Cummings. “The Notre Dame campus has so many ties to Catholic history that gathering historians of Catholicism from all over the United States—and beyond—in this place for this meeting is especially meaningful. We’re looking forward to an invigorating program.”

In recognition of the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, Michael Hochgeschwender of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU), Munich, Germany, will deliver a public lecture titled “At the Margins? Union Catholics and the Civil War” at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 26, in the McKenna Hall auditorium. Hochgeschwender, professor of North American cultural history, cultural studies, and cultural anthropology at LMU, has written extensively on U.S. Catholics and the Civil War.

Philip Gleason, Notre Dame professor emeritus of history, will present a plenary address titled “The Ellis-McAvoy Era: The Writing of American Catholic History Comes of Age at Mid-Century.” This address, by one of the field’s premier scholars, references John Tracy Ellis and Thomas T. McAvoy, C.S.C., two of Gleason’s distinguished predecessors in American Catholic history, will be presented at 5:00 p.m. Friday, March 27, in the McKenna Hall auditorium.

The meeting will also include a panel presentation on Pax Christi, the international Catholic peace organization celebrating its 70th anniversary, and a roundtable discussion of the 2013 book Catholics in the American Century: Recasting Narratives of U.S. History (Cornell University Press), edited by Cummings and former Cushwa Center director Scott Appleby, now dean of Notre Dame’s new Keough School of Global Affairs. Artist Abbie Reese will screen “Chosen (Custody of the Eyes),” her documentary film work-in-progress about a new member of the Poor Clare Colettine nuns at the Corpus Christi Monastery in Rockford, Illinois.

On Saturday, conference participants have an opportunity to visit five historic South Bend churches. A bus tour will make stops at Holy Cross Church, St. Adalbert Catholic Church, St. Augustine Church, St. Mary’s Polish National Church, and St. Matthew’s Cathedral. Participants also may take a guided tour of the Notre Dame Archives on Saturday afternoon.  

Registration for this event is online only and is open to the public. The general registration fee is $75; graduate students may register for $50. Faculty, staff, and students at Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s College, and Holy Cross College may attend at no charge, but must register to attend the banquet and/or the bus tour. There is no charge to attend the lectures by Hochgeschwender or Gleason.

The American Catholic Historical Association was founded in 1919 and meets semiannually. Members include scholars, archivists, teachers of Catholic studies, and others interested in the subject.

Visit for the conference schedule, registration, and other details.

Contact: Heather Grennan Gary, or 574-631-4696