Announcement: CROSS Conference on Truth, Transparency, and Access in St. Louis, MO October 30-31

 Catholic Religious Organizations Studying Slavery (CROSS) is holding a two-day conference in St. Louis, MO on October 30-31. Open Wide Our Archives: Truth, Transparency, and Access is for diocesan and religious order archivists, communication directors and leadership interested in the topic. The program is designed to assist organizations in gaining knowledge of their institution's history, exploring ways of promoting open access to records of the enslaved, and opening a dialog with your community about transparency and truthfulness. 

The cost of the conference, which includes conference materials, breakfast and lunch (both days) is $99. Registration is on a first come first served basis, due to capacity limitations. Deadline to register in September 15, 2023.

The website and registration information can be found here: CROSS Conference

 In Memory of Conrad Borntrager, OSM

Rev. Conrad M. (William) Borntrager, O.S.M. May 16, 1934 – April 11, 2023

Born in Chicago of William and Esther Borntrager, he attended Our Lady of Sorrows grammar school and St. Philip high school, Chicago. He was a member of the marching/concert band and played the flute. He entered the Our Lady of Sorrows American Province formation program and made first profession on September 5, 1954, in Granville WI, and Solemn profession on December 9, 1957. He was ordained to the priesthood in Rome on April 18, 1960; an S.T.L (Roma, Marianum 1960); M. of Arts (Washington D.C., Catholic University of America, 1961); L. Hist. Sc. (Leuven, Louvain, 1966). Fluent in Italian, French and reading knowledge of German, Greek, and Latin.

He taught Church history at the Servite Theologate in Mundelein (1967-1968) and at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago (1968-1971). His pastoral ministry included service as an assistant pastor at Our Lady of Sorrows in Chicago IL and as an Associate pastor at Annunciata on Chicago’s Eastside. He was a talented musician who enjoyed playing the recorder in the parishes he served.

In 1969, he organized the moving of an extensive library, the Morini Memorial Collection from Lake Bluff IL, to Our Lady of Sorrows monastery and saw to the merging of pieces of this collection into the newly formed library at Catholic Theology Union. The Archives of the various American province, rectorates, and vicariates were in several locations in WI and the Chicago metropolitan area. He became the archivist (1971) of the newly formed Eastern Province of Servites in America, gathering and inventorying the collections, moving them to the second floor of the monastery on Jackson Blvd. Together with Sr. Veronica, O.S.M. of the Ladysmith WI Servite Sisters, it took three years to complete.  He continued to add and organize materials of local and international Servite interest until retiring as archivist in 2016. Total blindness in one eye, deteriorating sight in the second eye, and deafness led to the decision to transfer the responsibility of the collection to archivist Fr. Paul Gins, O.S.M.

He taught classes and presented workshops on Marian history, church ethics, Servite Constitutions, European Servite history specializing in the foundation years 1233 to 1400, American Servite history 1852 to the 1970s, and spiritual assist to the Servite Seculars. He contributed to two Servite historical periodicals: Studi Storici, O.S.M. and Marianum.  He authored over fifty articles, fifteen book reviews, three books, two banker boxes of class presentation notes, editing the Necrology of Servite Friars in the United States, Ireland, Australia and Zululand 1870 to 2019, and edited the 300 page An American Servite Bibliography: 19th Century to 2019 and the Servite Bibliography: An Irish Contribution 1960 to 2020. He was a member of CARA, MAC, ACHA, and other professional groups.

He served on several Provincial committees over the years even when the province changed names several names. He truly gave excellent witness to living his vow of poverty in a world that teaches excess. He had few personal possessions and no financial resources upon his death at Villa Scalabrini, Northridge IL.

He weekly wrote or called his sister Rosemary, who was a Sister of Providence. She died on March 6, 2023, in St. Mary of the Woods IN. He was a faithful friar who enjoyed organizing, writing, teaching, and praying. He was a devoted Servant of Mary and is missed. He was buried on April 18, 2023, at the Servite plot in Queen of Heaven cemetery, Hillside IL.

 Rev. Paul Gins, O.S.M. - Chicago, IL - May 24, 2023


 CARA Holds Spring Meeting at St. Scholastica Monastery

On June 9, 2023, CARA members gathered for an in-person meeting and a tour of the archives and St. Scholastica Chapel at the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago on the far north side of the city. The main order of the day was a motion to change our by-laws to allow for a steering committee of 3 members. CARA members are urged to vote in the election for steering committee members! The ballot is included in Andrew Rea's email of June 12, 2023. Voting ends June 23, 2023.

At the meeting, we also greeted and renewed ties with old friends and colleagues. We were delighted to welcome new members, Paul Gins, OSM of the Servite Archives on the West Side and Kathleen Murphy of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Evanston. Fr. Paul offered space at Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica as a central Chicago area location for CARA meetings.

Sr. Virginia Jung, OSB walked members through the Benedictine Sisters' archives which are upstairs from the Oasis Room in the Laundry Building were we met. She also brought the group to the main chapel in the monastery where the stained glass windows and stations of the cross are the work of community member Sr. Celestine Fischer, OSB. 

The laundry building at St. Scholastica has been home to the archives since 1978. (photo: Jerice Barrios)

The most popular entrance to the monastery is the door of the infirmary, St. Joseph Court, built in 1980. (photo: Jerice Barrios)

Sr. Virginia Jung, OSB provides CARA members with background on the St. Scholastica Chapel. This worship space is in the 1925 school building; it was renovated in 1990. (photo: Jerice Barrios)

Sr. Celestine Fischer, OSB designed windows to represent the 7 hours of the Liturgy of the Hours. This window represents the hour of Prime, traditionally prayed at first light. (photo: Jerice Barrios)

From the Dialogues of St. Gregory the Great, comes the story of St. Scholastica, her brother St. Benedict, and the storm. This secco mural executed by Josef Steinhage in the 1930s, is a testament to the power of love and prayer. (photo: Jerice Barrios)

Jerice Barrios snaps a photo of the mural representing St. Joseph and the Christ child, documenting CARA's visit. (photo: Kathi Gormley)


Local Archivists Discuss Confidentiality in Religious Archives for National Audience

Whether or not you attended the Confidential Records webinar that Chicago Area Religious Archivists hosted on November 10, 2022, you will want to check out this recording of the proceedings. Attendance was excellent and the presenters shared valuable experience, information, and insight with us. CARA expresses our thanks to Russell L. Gasero for his attentive curation of the original Zoom recording which we offer to you in this post of CARA News. We also express our warm appreciation to Jane Kenamore who did the heavy lifting of hosting this exceptionally popular webinar. 

Malachy McCarthy, recently retired from the Claretian Archives, moderated the proceedings which included talks by three archivists, followed by a question and answer session. The entire webinar is about one and a half hours long and it is packed with news you can use. 

Kathleen E. Murphy has retired from Northwestern University where she was the social science data librarian and manager of the Social and Behavioral Institutional Review Board. She currently volunteers with the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago Archives. Kathleen addresses principles of ethical decision making for those engaged in archival work in her talk, "Ethical Thinking in Archival Work". Her talk references the core values and ethics from the Society of American Archivists and she offers us a process for ethical decision making.

Meg Hall is the director of the Archives & Records Center for the Archdiocese of Chicago. She presents on the important topic of "Access Policies for Catholic Diocesan Archives". These guiding principles can be adapted for religious archives of all kinds. Meg also emphasizes identifying and getting to know the various audiences for your archives.

Russell L. Gasero, a certified archivist emeritus, is archivist emeritus of the Reformed Church of America. Prior to that, he had been an archivist at the United Nations. Russ now owns Wit & Intellect Publishing, LLC. Russ stresses the importance of defining terms and setting policies and discusses why he identifies confidentiality as a key character trait of the archivist. He also unpacks the difference between confidential, private, and sensitive records. 

Here is your link to all of this wisdom and more!

Kathleen L. Murphy gets philosophical, helping us think about the values that inform decisions we make every day.