2018 Archivists for Congregations of Women Religious Conference

Examples of the "sister trading cards" that were distributed at the
registration desk of the ACWR conference in Louisville, KY.
The Archivists for Congregations of Women Religious (ACWR) gathered at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, KY, on September 13-15, 2018, for the 9th Triennial Conference of the group. Approximately 120 archivists, both laypeople and religious, originating from the United States and Canada, made their way to Louisville to discuss the challenges of preserving the history of women religious.

Sr. Ray Maria McNamara, RSM, gave a plenary session entitled
"Gratitude for the Past and Hope for the Future"
Monte Abbott, Director of Province Center Operations, Sisters of the Good Shepherd,
gave a second plenary session on "Long-Term Strategies for the Preservation of Archives
for Communities Facing or Planning Completion"
ACWR President Denise Gallo led a panel on Custodia, ACWR's initiative to assist in
planning for the future of archives of women religious. The panel included Sr. Janice Farnham, RJM,
Sr. Mary Navarre, OP, and Charlene Martin, Archivist for the Sisters of St. Francis.

Again and again, the concern surfaced, "what is happening to the archives of congregations that are reaching completion?" The answer varied according to the congregation. Some sisters have formed agreements with universities or colleges and transferred their collections there. Others have given their materials to Archdiocesan or Diocesan archives. Still others have formed partnerships with the institutes that they founded in order to ensure that the sisters' stories will live on. To assist with the planning for the future of archives of women religious, ACWR has formed Custodia, an initiative that can offer ideas and help connect archivists in similar situations. For more information about Custodia, please contact acwr-custodia@googlegroups.com.

Besides informative sessions and panels, the ACWR conference offered ample opportunity to network with fellow archivists, to share what it means to be a religious archivist.

ACWR's opening reception was held on the rooftop of the beautiful Brown Hotel.
Attendees toured the archives of the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville.
A dinner reception was held at the Cathedral of the Assumption.
The ACWR conference is a unique chance for archivists of women religious to commune with each other, to discuss best practices, and most of all, to revel in the history that exists in our collections. We departed invigorated and inspired by the accomplishments of the sisters that we serve and more determined than ever to ensure that their stories will be preserved for future generations.