From the Director

Kathleen Sprows Cummings

Since the last issue of the ASCN the Cushwa Center has welcomed five new people into its ranks. Heather and I really appreciate the bustle our new colleagues have added to the office and the energy and new perspectives they bring to our initiatives.  You can hear from our postdoctoral fellow, Catherine Osborne, and our visiting fellow, Margaret Abruzzo, on pages 12-13, where they share a little about their work.

Lindsey Esbensen has joined us as senior research associate for a new study examining recent research on U.S. women religious. Lindsey received her PhD in moral theology from the University of Notre Dame and comes to Cushwa after teaching at Calumet College of St. Joseph in Whiting, Indiana. Details of the study she’s working on are on page 7.

We also expanded Cushwa’s reach by opening our first satellite office—in Rome! Matteo Binasco is a postdoctoral fellow who is working out of the Notre Dame Global Gateway in Rome. This fellowship is funded in part by the Office of Research and ND International, and is intended to produce a guide to Roman archival sources for historians of U.S. Catholicism. I enjoy my almost-daily email exchanges with Matteo Binasco and Matteo Sanfilippo, who is the Rome-based supervisor of the project. Even better, I was able to meet the two Matteos in person last month at Cushwa’s “Rome office,” where I learned more about the state of the project. See page 7 for information about Matteo Binasco’s work, and stay tuned for more details about the project in the next issue of the ACSN.  

Cushwa is the university’s first academic center to have a long-term presence at the Global Gateway in Rome—a distinction we earned in part as a result of hosting our fabulous two-week Rome Seminar in June on transnational approaches to U.S. Catholic studies. See the cover story by Charles Strauss on page 8 to learn more about the seminar.

Shane UlbrichShane Ulbrich

Finally, Shane Ulbrich joined us in July as administrative coordinator, taking the place of longtime Cushwa staffer Paula Brach after she moved to Chicago. Shane received his master’s in theological studies from Notre Dame in May and he also holds a master’s degree in philosophy from Boston College. He’s been a terrific addition to the staff, combining administrative expertise with abundant enthusiasm for and knowledge about the work that Cushwa does.

The entire Cushwa team is eagerly anticipating two events this spring: From March 26-28, 2015, the Center will host the spring meeting of the American Catholic Historical Association at the Notre Dame Conference Center. (The call for papers deadline is January 15. Go to for conference details or to submit a paper.)

And from May 7-9, 2015, Cushwa is hosting “The Nun in the World: A Transnational Study of Catholic Sisters and the Second Vatican Council,” a symposium at the university’s Global Gateway in London. We are looking forward to welcoming scholars from the U.K., the U.S., and beyond to this event. Be sure to check out for details.

--Kathleen Sprows Cummings