It’s been a good half-year for review and historiographical essays on the history of women religious. Margaret Susan Thompson has published a review essay, “Sisters’ History Is Women’s History: The American Context,” in Journal of Women’s History 26, no. 4 (Winter 2014): 182-190. Carol K. Coburn has published a review essay, “Living on the Edge,” in America (December 1, 2014). And Bernadette McCauley has published “Nuns’ Stories: Writing the History of Women Religious in the United States,” in American Catholic Studies 125, no. 4 (Winter 2014): 51-67. Finally, James M. O’Toole, Nancy Lusginan Schultz, and Paula M. Kane participated in a review symposium of Kane’s Sister Thorn and Catholic Mysticism in Modern America, which can be found in U.S. Catholic Historian 32, no. 3 (Summer 2014): 127-135.

A revised edition of Benedictine Men and Women of Courage: Roots and History by Sister Ann Kessler of Sacred Heart Monastery, Yankton, South Dakota, is now available. The first edition, published in 1996 and long out of print, was selling for up to $500 online, and Kessler decided to re-release the work with new material. It is available for order online at benedictinehistory.com.

The Catholic Theological Union in Chicago has opened a new Center for the Study of Consecrated Life, which launched in mid-February with an event including two speeches: “Re-Imagining Consecrated Life in a Changing World” by Robert Schreiter, C.P.P.s., and “Hope Encounters: Consecrated Life For Our Time” by Maria Cimperman, R.S.C.J. The center’s goal is to sponsor courses, symposia, and workshops that address “contemporary issues in consecrated life today.” An excerpt from its mission statement: “We want to encourage new scholarship across disciplines; provide processes for reflective dialogue and creative imagining; assist in the discovery of new calls to ministry; and explore the internationality of consecrated life. . . . The areas to be addressed include: vowed life in today’s world; community living that welcomes a diversity of cultures; communal discernment in decision-making; religious life in relationship to ecumenism and ministry; the consecrated life and preferential option for the poor; collaborative models of Church among religious congregations." 

Sister Elizabeth McLoughlin passed away at Morristown Memorial Hospital in New Jersey in October 2014. As many of her colleagues in historical and archival work know, Elizabeth was not only a great archivist but a faithful, solid, and noble woman religious. The Sisters of Charity of Convent Station, New Jersey, will miss a woman they truly admired and her many contributions to their congregation.
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This update was first published in the History of Women Religious section in the Spring 2015 issue of the American Catholic Studies Newsletter.