HWR news and notes

The American Catholic History Research Center at the Catholic University of America has recently acquired the records of the Mission Sisters of the Sacred Heart, who work in African-American communities and Latin America. Many of the records are video and film. No online finding aid is available as of June 2017; contact the center for more information.


A new history of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas— the product of a merger in 1991—is now available. Written by Denise Colgan, R.S.M., and Doris Gotttemoeller, R.S.M., Union and Charity: The Story of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas is available at lulu.com.


Agata Mirek, professor at the Catholic University of Lublin in Poland, has published Trudne Lata Wielkie Dni: Zakony żeńskie w PRL | Austere Years, Great Days: Convents in the Polish People’s Republic (Zabki: Apostolicum, 2015). With facing-page translation (Polish and English) it collects facsimile documents and photos as well as offers a narrative of “the participation of nuns in creating the history of the Roman Catholic Church and the society in the conditions of a totalitarian state in 1945–1989” (15).


Donna Marie Moses has published American Catholic Women Religious: Radicalized by Mission (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), a history of Dominican and Maryknoll foreign missions which also serves as an introduction to the larger role played by American women religious in 20th-century U.S. politics.


Filmmakers Bren Ortega Murphy and Michael Whalen’s 2011 documentary A Question of Habit, about the depiction of nuns in U.S. popular culture, is now viewable on YouTube. More information about the film is available at http://www.whalenfilms.com/aquestionofhabit.html.


Susan O’Brien has published Leaving God for God: The Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul in Britain, 1847–2017 (Darton, Longman, and Todd, 2017). O’Brien, a senior member of St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge, had full access to the Daughters’ London and Paris archives, and explores: Marian devotion; gender and lay/religious status; engagement with civil society and the state; the Second Vatican Council; and “the interplay of national identities in Catholic Britain,” among other themes. It is available for £25 (about $33) through amazon.co.uk, which will ship to the U.S.


Filmmaker Rebecca Parrish has produced Radical Grace, a documentary about the response of three sisters to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith’s investigation of the LCWR, including the Nuns on the Bus campaign. For information and to request a local screening visit radicalgracefilm.com.


A variety of Catholic school textbooks sponsored by the Commission on American Citizenship have been digitized by the Catholic University of America. These books and accompanying curriculum guides for teachers (not all of which have been digitized) were largely assembled by women religious, including Sister Joan Smith, O.P. (1890–1976) and Sister Mary Nona McGreal, O.P. (1914–2013), both Sinsinawa Dominicans. They can be found among the digital collections at cuislandora.wrlc.org.

Please send news and notes for the spring 2018 newsletter to pcajka@nd.edu by January 1. Thank you!