Friends of Cushwa news and notes

Author: Shane Ulbrich

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The American Catholic Historical Association (ACHA) has approved the creation of the Christopher J. Kauffman Prize in U.S. Catholic History, to be awarded to authors of monographs that provide new and challenging insights to the study of U.S. Catholic history. A gifted scholar, Kauffman (d. 2018) tirelessly advocated for the field of U.S. Catholic history. Over the course of his long and distinguished career, he authored 10 books and over 100 articles. He served as editor of U.S. Catholic Historian and as general editor for two series, Makers of the Catholic Community: Historical Studies of the Catholic People in America, 1789–1989 and American Catholic Identities: A Documentary History. The ACHA has not set a date to begin awarding the prize, but aims to establish sufficient financial backing to fund the prize within two to three years. Visit to learn more.

Matteo Binasco (Università per Stranieri di Siena) has published Making, Breaking, and Remaking the Irish Missionary Network. Ireland, Rome, and the West Indies in the Seventeenth Century (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020).

Shaun Blanchard (Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University) published several essays on Vatican I to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the promulgation of Pastor Aeternus: “Settling Old Scores: Pastor Aeternus as the Final Defeat of Early Modern Opponents of Papalism,” Newman Studies Journal 17, no. 1 (Summer 2020): 24–51; “Balance and Imbalance: The Papacy and the Contested Legacies of the Vatican Councils,” Horizons 47, no. 1 (June 2020): 25–32; “Is the Pope Still Infallible? Reflections on the 150th Anniversary of Vatican I’s Definition,” Reality (Irish Redemptorist magazine), part one (May 2020): 12–17; part two (June 2020): 18–19; “The Twists and Turns That Led to the First Vatican Council,” Church Life Journal (Institute for Church Life, University of Notre Dame), July 1, 2020 (published online).

Michael Breidenbach has been promoted to associate professor of history at Ave Maria University and appointed a research associate at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He published The Cambridge Companion to the First Amendment and Religious Liberty (Cambridge University Press, 2020) and a chapter, “Church and State in Maryland: Religious Liberty, Religious Tests, and Church Disestablishment,” in Disestablishment and Religious Dissent: Church-State Relations in the New American States, 1776–1833, edited by Carl H. Esbeck and Jonathan Den Hartog (University of Missouri Press, 2019).

Theodore Cachey (University of Notre Dame) has been invited to sit on the scientific committee for the 2021 Dante centenary organized by the Pontifical Council for Culture. For the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante Alighieri (1321–2021), the Pontifical Council for Culture will celebrate the “profound link between the poet and the Holy See and between his literary production and the Catholic faith.”

Rev. James T. Connelly, C.S.C. (University of Portland emeritus) shares that the 40th annual Conference on the History of the Congregations of Holy Cross is scheduled to meet May 20–22, 2021, at the University of Notre Dame. Submit proposals for papers by December 1, 2020, to Father Connelly has written The History of the Congregation of Holy Cross, scheduled for publication by Notre Dame Press in December 2020.

Kathleen Sprows Cummings (University of Notre Dame) and Timothy Matovina (University of Notre Dame) have received Catholic Press Association book awards in 2020. Cummings’ A Saint of Our Own: How the Quest for a Holy Hero Helped Catholics Become American won first place in the category “Gender Issues” and second place in “History.” Matovina’s Theologies of Guadalupe: From the Era of Conquest to Pope Francis won first place in the category “History of Theology.” 

Annie Huey (University of Dayton) has published an article, “Communal Living with the Saints: A Late Nineteenth-Century Devotional Aesthetic at Immaculate Conception Academy, Oldenburg, Indiana,” in U.S. Catholic Historian, vol. 38, no. 2 (Spring 2020), 47–64. Annie received a Research Travel Grant from the Cushwa Center, which allowed her to discover essential material for this article.

Bill Issel (San Francisco State University) has published Coit Tower, A Novel of San Francisco, a mystery set in 1942 featuring a Catholic detective team of Tony Bosco, Dennis Sullivan, and Ruthie Fuller who seek to solve a murder that may have been committed by an Axis fifth columnist. Bill and his wife, Mary Claire, recently returned from Romania, where they were both teaching and consulting on Fulbright Scholar grants.

Hillary Kaell started a new position as associate professor of anthropology and religion at McGill University in August 2020. Her most recent book, Christian Globalism at Home: Child Sponsorship in the United States, was recently published by Princeton University Press (June 2020). It examines how U.S. Christians create and imagine global connections, through the lens of child sponsorship programs. It covers Catholic and Protestant iterations of this popular fundraising model over the last two centuries.

Theresa Keeley (University of Louisville) shares that her first book, Reagan’s Gun-Toting Nuns: The Catholic Conflict over Cold War Human Rights Policy in Central America, was published by Cornell University Press in September 2020. Reagan’s Gun-Toting Nuns argues that debates among Central American and U.S. Catholics over the Church’s direction influenced Ronald Reagan’s policies toward Central America. The manuscript benefited from a Cushwa Research Travel Grant and from feedback at conferences sponsored by the Cushwa Center and the Conference on the History of Women Religious.

Billy Korinko (director of the Cassandra Voss Center, St. Norbert College) successfully defended his dissertation, “The Construction of the American Catholic Church: Gender, Sexuality, and Patriotism in U.S. Catholic Media, 1917–1970,” to complete his Ph.D. in gender and women’s studies at the University of Kentucky. This project was aided by a Research Travel Grant from the Cushwa Center.

Joseph Mannard (Indiana University of Pennsylvania) has published “‘Our Prospects Are Mighty Dark . . .’: The Ordeal of the Sisters of the Visitation in Antebellum Wheeling,” American Catholic Studies 131, no. 1 (Spring 2020): 19–56.

Paul Murray (Siena College emeritus) published “The Reverse Integration of St. Joseph’s School: An Alternate Path to Integrated Education,” in the April 2020 issue of The Alabama Review.

Deirdre Raftery (University College Dublin) and Catherine KilBride have co-authored The Benedictine Nuns and Kylemore Abbey: A History (Irish Academic Press, 2020). Published in June 2020, this volume marks the centenary of the arrival of the “Irish Dames of Ypres” at Kylemore Abbey in Connemara.

Jonathan D. Riddle (Wheaton College) wrote a brief article on Christianity amidst the pandemic, “Christianity and the Coronavirus in the United States,” for the forthcoming Routledge Handbook of Religion, Medicine, and Health, edited by Philipp Hetmanczyk, Pamela E. Klassen, Dorothea Lüddeckens, and Justin Stein.

Susan Ridgely (University of Wisconsin-Madison) was awarded a Louisville Project Grant to continue her research on the generational consequences of the desegregation of the Diocese of Raleigh. Her article “Conservative Christianity and the Creation of Alternative News: An Analysis of Focus on the Family’s Multimedia Empire” was published in Religion and American Culture 30, no. 1 (Winter 2020).

Sister Edelquine Shivachi (University of Notre Dame) has published an article at, “Sisters Against Abusive Power: St. Teresa, Port-Royal, and Modern African Religious.” 

The Slavery, History, Memory, and Reconciliation Project (SHMR) of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States researches the lives of people who were enslaved to the Jesuits in order to engage in conversation with their descendants to move towards healing and justice. SHMR is launching a new monthly e-newsletter for descendants, activists, and scholars to share their work as well as reflections from descendants and those engaged in work at the intersection of racial justice and history. Subscribe to the newsletter at

Thomas Tweed (University of Notre Dame) has a new book: Religion: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, September 2020).

John Seitz shares that the Curran Center for American Catholic Studies at Fordham University recently completed its first annual essay competition for the New Scholar Essay Prize for Catholic Studies in the Americas. The center is excited to announce that this year’s prize winner is Tuan Hoang, assistant professor of great books at Pepperdine University. Fordham News’ Patrick Verel wrote a June 2020 article covering the competition and Hoang’s essay about Vietnamese Catholic refugees in the United States. Hoang’s prize-winning essay, “Ultramontanism, Nationalism, and the Fall of Saigon: Historicizing the Vietnamese American Catholic Experience,” was published in American Catholic Studies 130, no. 1 (Spring 2019). The Curran Center’s next competition will take place in 2021.

The Seton Writings Project has completed phase two of its research into documents written to and about Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, her family, friends, community, and advisers. This digital material, available in the Vincentian Heritage Collections of DePaul University Library, includes seven chronological charts listing more than 1,000 documents from 1767 through 1821 (the latest addition) and their archival locations. These materials shed light on Seton’s early life and conversion, the struggles and growth of Catholicism in the early republic, and the spread of the Vincentian charism in the United States. Digital transcripts of select documents are posted for each chart with permission from the respective repository. Learn more at

Sally Witt, C.S.J., shares news of the publication of Beyond the Frontier: The History of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia (KS Word Association, 2020). Four St. Joseph sisters arrived in Kansas in 1883 after their superior, Mother Stanislaus Leary, had been deposed by Bishop Bernard McQuaid of Rochester, New York. They educated children of the Plains and in the early 20th century established hospitals in rural towns and founded Marymount College. The sisters, formed by the often reluctant soil, the consistently wide sky, and the Jesuit spirituality of their 17th-century foundation, were ready for the renewal that followed Vatican II. They crafted new works in the United States and Brazil and faced major questions about religious life, justice, and land.

Jennifer A. Younger (University of Notre Dame emerita) writes that the Catholic Research Resources Alliance invites scholars to explore the Catholic News Archive ( for their teaching and research. Made possible through partnerships with dioceses and newspapers and supported by Catholic academic libraries, diocesan archives, and grants from the USCCB, the Catholic News Archive is a searchable, open digital collection of Catholic newspapers with over half a million pages and new content added regularly. Articles provide insight into lived Catholic experience and clerical and lay leadership and add an often-missing Catholic dimension to critical questions in American history. The CRRA welcomes comments and suggestions: contact Darren Poley at or Jennifer Younger at


These announcements appear in the fall 2020 issue of the American Catholic Studies Newsletter.