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! https://vimeo.com/776827196

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


ACWR announces the release of a working list of Native boarding schools

 The Archivists for Congregations of Women Religious are offering this session in early February. It is third one they have sponsored, on the role that archivists have when the record contains the story of social injustice. Even though this is about Catholic-operated schools, all archivists for religious archives can learn a number of things here. Here are the details:


The Role of Archives in Truth and Healing: 

The publication of a list of Catholic-operated Native boarding schools 

February 7, 2023, 3-4:30 ET (2-3:30 CT)  Register HERE

In collaboration with the Catholic Native Boarding School Accountability

and Healing Project (AHP), the Archivists for Congregations of Women

Religious (ACWR) offers the next webinar in its truth

and healing series for religious communities and dioceses.  

As a first step toward making boarding school archival records

more accessible to Native communities, ACWR

and the Archives and Cemeteries subcommittee of AHP 

will soon publish a working list of Native boarding schools

that were operated  by Catholic entities in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Though still a work-in-progress, the Catholic boarding school list 

includes the name(s), location, and dates of operation for each school; 

religious communities and dioceses involved at each school;

and the historical names for known tribal nations impacted by each school. 

Panelists will speak about what the publication of this list might mean

for your community and/or diocese, how best to interact with the information

on the list, how to be proactive in reaching out to tribal nations 

about the archival material your community may hold, and the important role

that locating and making accessible archives can play

in the truth and healing process for Native communities and the Church. 


Michele Levandoski, MLIS, MA, 

Archivist for the School Sisters of Notre Dame in Milwaukee, WI.

Along with a team from the AHP Archives and Cemeteries subcommittee,

Michele created the list of Native boarding schools operated by

Catholic entities, and continues to update and revise it as necessary. 

Maka Akan Najin Black Elk (Oglala Lakota)

is the Executive Director for Truth and Healing

at Red Cloud Indian School in Pine Ridge, SD.

A descendant of boarding school survivors,

Maka is a member of the board of directors

for the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition 

and also serves as chairperson

of the American Indian Catholic Schools Network 

where he advocates for truth and healing in Catholic ministries

and schools serving Indigenous peoples.


Sr. Pat Kennedy, OSB is a member of Saint Benedict Monastery,

St. Joseph, Minnesota.

As the Monastery Heritage Coordinator, she oversees the work

of the monastery’s Art and Heritage Place-Museum, Archives,

and Art Collections. Sr. Pat currently serves as

Saint Benedict Monastery’s liaison for “Building Protocols

for Sharing Native American Boarding School Archival Materials,”

 a collaborative partnership with the White Earth Nation

 and the College of Saint Benedict.  


Register HERE

Registration is intended for vowed and lay members

of religious communities,

Catholic clergy, chancellors, and archivists.

Questions? Email archivesintruthandhealing@gmail.com

CARA Offers Webinar on Confidential Records: Principles and Practice



Webinar Sponsored by the Chicago Area Religious Archivists (CARA)

Thursday, November 10, 2022

  2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Central Time


Archival confidential records has been problematic for leadership and archivists. What should be kept, how should they be managed, and what can be deaccessioned? Our three panelists offer different perspectives on the topic as each comes from a diverse community.  The goal of the panel is not to provide listings on what to keep but rather looking at principles that should be applied to practice.

Sufficient time will be allotted for questions and answers.  Join CARA’s initial national event to inform interested parties how to deal with these demanding issues.

To reserve a seat at the ZOOM table by November 4, 2022, please register with the link below. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.



Kathleen Murphy, MSW, PhD, MLIS is retired from Northwestern University where she served as the Social Science Data Librarian and as manager of the Social and Behavioral Institutional Review Board which is the ethics review process for human research. Currently volunteering at the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. The focus of attention for Dr. Murphy’s presentation will be on the principles of ethical decision making for those engaged in archival work.


Meg Hall serves as the Director of the Archives and Records Center for the Archdiocese of Chicago, an integrated records management and archives program, with a repository for records of all closed diocesan parishes and schools, as well as the inactive and historical records of the administration of the Archdiocese. 


Russell L. Gasero was the archivist for the Reformed Church in America from 1978 until his retirement in 2020. Prior to that, he had worked in the Archives of the United Nations for five years. Russell helped establish the Archivists of Religious Institutions, was the co-founder of the Lone Arrangers Roundtable, and was a former moderator of the Archivists of Religious Collections. He has been a regular presenter on religious archives issues at the SAA and regional gatherings. 


                                                Malachy McCarthy, Claretian Missionaries, moderator

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The current issue of Society of American Archivists newsletter has a story on several collaborative venues for religious archives, one of which is planned for Chicago. You can read the story article here: