University of Notre Dame Archives Report

New Collections in 2014

In 1995 the Cushwa Center sponsored a conference called “Engendering American Catholic Studies.” Three of our new collections for the Spring of 2014 show our continued interest in documenting the contribution of women to the Church.

In February of 2014 we received the first box of papers from Dolores R. Leckey, who has served as a producer for WNVT in Northern Virginia, as a faculty member of the DeSales School of Theology, as executive director of the Secretariat for Family, Laity, Women and Youth at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, as an advisor to the bishops at the Synod on the Family (1980), and at the Synod on the Laity (1987), as a trustee of St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, the University of Dayton in Ohio, and the Northern Virginia Community College, and as a Senior Research Fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center, Georgetown University. Leckey has written The Ordinary Way: A Family Spirituality; Winter Music: A Life of Jessica Powers—Poet, Nun, Woman of the 20th Century; The Laity and Christian Education; Seven Essentials for the Spiritual Journey; Practical Spirituality for Lay People; Laity Stirring the Church: Prophetic Questions; Women and Creativity; and Blessings All Around Us: Savoring God’s Gifts.

The Leckey Papers (roughly two linear feet) document the work of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, especially on the draft of the never-finished women’s pastoral. They contain correspondence and other documents reflecting the ecclesiastical climate of the last quarter of the 20th century, and include speeches, diaries, printed material, photographs, and news articles. This collection is rich in documentation of women’s concerns, the role of the laity, and peace issues.  

In March we received the papers of theologian Elizabeth A. Johnson, a member of the Congregation of Saint Joseph who served as professor of theology at the Catholic University of America, 1981-91, and since then at Fordham University. She is author of many articles and books, including Consider Jesus: Waves of Renewal in Christology; She Who Is: the Mystery of God in a Feminist Theological Discourse; Women, Earth, and Creator Spirit; Friends of God and Prophets: a Feminist Theological Reading of the Communion of Saints; Jesus-Sophia: Ramifications for Contemporary Theology; and Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God.

The Johnson Papers (15 linear feet) consist of reports, correspondence, memoranda, minutes, subject files, photographs, audio-visual material, books, journal articles, book chapters, other scholarly writings, lectures, emails, and printed ephemera; with documents from her youth, her days as a student at the Catholic University of America, her career as a theologian at Catholic University and Fordham, her presidency of the Catholic Theological Society of America, and her life as a Sister of Saint Joseph. They include media clippings, honorary degrees and other honors, reviews of her books, scholarly and popular writings, appreciations and attacks; they also document her tenure battle at Catholic University, Rev. Charles Curran’s struggles there, and the reaction of the U.S. bishops against Quest for the Living God.

In April we received from Kathleen Biddick a small collection (one linear foot) of graduate and undergraduate syllabi and course packets for courses that she taught at the University of Notre Dame, 1984-2002. Biddick was a history professor associated with Notre Dame’s Gender Studies Program and author of The Typological Imaginary: Circumcision, Technology, History; The Other Economy: Pastoral Husbandry on a Medieval Estate; and The Shock of Medievalism. She served on the Task Force on the Status of Women at Notre Dame.

But not all of our new collections have to do with women in the Church. In April we received papers collected by Eric J. Jumper concerning scientific study of the Shroud of Turin and the use of technology to produce a three-dimensional model based on data latent in the shroud. In addition to files supporting and documenting the Shroud of Turin Research Project, this collection (16 linear feet) contains books, periodicals, and clippings having to do with the Shroud of Turin, publicity for the research project, background publications, multi-media programs, video and audio tapes, slides, x-rays, prints, negatives, and other images of the Shroud of Turin. With the papers came two large three-dimensional models produced by the research project.

Wm. Kevin Cawley, Ph.D.
Senior Archivist & Curator of Manuscripts
Archives of the University of Notre Dame