This site is intended mainly for Poor Clares. Since I was appointed federation archivist for the Mother Bentivoglio Federation in 1996, I have become more involved in archives work, both in the federaton and our own monastery in New Orleans. I know that Sister Mary Martha, of the Evansville monastery, has helped several of you with your archives. And yet, I have received several requests pertaining to archives myself. Since this site is available to me, free, I decided to post some things on the web for general information.
I belong to two organizations of archivists, one local and one national. If you have the opportunity to do so, join an organization. These groups of religious archivists, while having much in their archives that we would never have, have enough in common with us to make it worth while. When a close friend of our community here in New Orleans, Sister Dorothy Dawes, O.P. wanted me to join the local group, I declined at first, and then went to a few meetings rather reluctantly. Then one day, at the meeting, one of the Sisters asked if there was anyone in the group who knew anything about buying a computer. She was about to launch out into the world of cyberspace for the first time. All eyes turned to the Sister sitting next to me. That's how I met Sister Therese Gregoire, O.Carm., and we have become fast friends ever since. I learned more about computers at the archivist meetings than anywhere else. Therese taught computers for 20 years -- that's back when the very first personal computer was put out by Tandy. She has graciously come over and helped me with mine several times even though she lives across the lake -- that's 25 miles just across the bridge, cher. Their motherhouse is on this side of the lake, still across town, but she comes over every week or so to the hotherhouse because their main archives are kept there, so she would come over from there when I needed help. The local group of archivists consists of religious of all Orders and Congregations in the Archdiocese, and especially Doctor Nolan, the archivist for the Archdiocese. We get together three times a year, during the school year, and the meetings are rather informal.
You may not be fortunate enough to have a local group, but there is always the national group, the ACWR: Archivists for Congregations of Women Religious. This organization puts out a newsletter, and has a national meeting once every three years. I attended the meeting last September, and learned much, again a lot of it about computers. There were 202 Sisters and 1 Brother present. The URL for the ACWR is: http://www.homestead.com/acwr/index.html. There you can read more about it. At the meeting we got many papers about how to manage archives, how long to save records, what papers to use, what computer programs were good for archives, etc. I asked if I could share some of these papers with you, but getting that permission won't be so simple. Therese already gave me permission to use any of her papers for this web site, but the papers given at the ACWR are not the property of the organization, but of the individual Sisters. That would mean getting permission from each individual person. When I attend the next meeting two years from now, I will ask the speaker for permission to reprint her presentation right then and there, if I think it would be of use to you, and not too hard to put on the web.
If you have access to archival information requests that you think others would be interested in, please let me know. If possible, I'd like to get it on the web for all to share. Also, if you have a question about archives that you would like discussed among others, I can post it on this site, and anyone can email me an answer to post in return.
From time to time, I will post pictures and ask you to identify them. That is the bane of all archivists -- unidentified pictures. The friars in Cincinnati have a stack of unidentified photos, too. Marcan showed me some of them.Please send email