Chicago Area Religious Archivists Event

Preserving the Religious Foundations of Chicagoland

Ward Miller, Director of Preservation Chicago

Thursday, December 9th, 2:00 pm. to 3:30 p.m.

Saint James Commons

65 East Huron, Chicago, IL


Religious institutions play a primary role in American society. Following the pattern of Eastern cities, people came to Northern Illinois to gain land and greater economic opportunity.  Unlike the East coast, Greater Chicago had no predominant continuous religious group that determined the course of the city’s history. With the arrival of immigrants, religious pluralism became a reality and gradually these newly arrived citizens established faith-based institutions to voice their concerns.  Today, religious architecture reflects the impact these communities had on determining the city’s landscape and its multilayered neighborhoods.

Ward Miller, Director of Preservation Chicago will offer an insightful and illustrated presentation on the role of religion in shaping Chicagoland, the challenges to preserve its structures, and the opportunity to find ways to repurpose vacant edifices. Religious archivists play a critical role in this preservation effort as they possess the materials to understand the importance of these associations and can become an ally in the quest to preserve not only its intellectual religious materials but also its structural heritage.

CARA is delighted to welcome back its members and interested individuals and organizations to join us for this unique lecture. The Episcopal Diocese of Chicago has graciously allowed us to have our meeting at Saint James Commons, 65 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL. Adjacent to the Magnificent Mile, we hope you can join us and your friends for an afternoon of comradery and opportunity to reconnect with colleagues.

Please RSVP at by December 1st. This will allow us to plan for social distancing and security at Saint James Commons. Looking forward to pre-holiday archival celebration!

🍁  🌾  🍂  🌽  🍂  🌾  🍂  🌽  🍁  🍂  🌿  🌾  🌽  🍂  🍁  

 Job Opening in Springfield, Illinois

Please spread the word with your contacts of this job posting for a part-time Archives Assistant at the Dominican Sisters of Springfield. Interested persons can contact Maira Herrera 

 Archives Assistant

The Dominican Sisters of Springfield is seeking a part time Archives Assistant. The assistant will have the opportunity to engage in historical research, as well as assist in digital preservation and records management initiatives.

Dominican Sister of Springfield: Springfield, Illinois

Job Type: Permanent

Position will be 24 hours a week between Monday and Friday.

Position Details:

·         Arrange and describe a series of DSOS archival files, performing minor conservation treatment as needed

·         Process archival records according to current archival best practices

·         Create Finding aids using archival standards

·         Assist in making archived materials accessible to a wide range of users

·         Assist in records management initiatives

·         Work with the Archivist to implement at least two to three physical exhibit per calendar year

·         Assist in fulfilling Reference request from researchers

·         Assist in updating sister files (ensure preservation and maintain privacy and confidentiality of records)

Minimum Qualifications:

·         Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited institution

·         Prior library, archives and/or museum experience required.

·         Good English writing skills.

·         Attention to detail.

·         Advanced research skills.

·         Good organizational skills essential.

·         Ability to work independently and with minimal supervision after initial training period.

·         Capacity for learning Archival database software

·         Comfortable using Microsoft Office (Word and Excel).

·         Ability to lift and carry boxes weighing up to 40 lbs.


Interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume to: Maira Herrera at

 Sister Mary Hennessey, RC 1929-2020

CARA member, Sister Mary Hennessey, RC, the past archivist of the Cenacle Sisters, passed away here in Chicago, after a brief illness in January 2020. 

Sister Mary will be buried this upcoming Saturday, November 6, 2021 in Brookline, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. Sister Mary had lived and worked in pastoral care and communications in that area for many years before coming to Chicago. You can read her obituary from the Boston Globe by following this link.

Students and Faculty to Benefit from CARA Member's Instruction

Merle Branner, MS, MLIS is the new Technology Coordinator and Curriculum Developer for Queen of Angels School in Chicago. Merle will be teaching K through 8th Grades Technology. She will also be writing a technology plan to integrate technology into the curriculum. Additionally, Merle will start her new position on August 16. She is still the Contract Archivist for the Ruthie & Bill Katz Archives at North Shore Congregation Israel in Glencoe.


Chicago Area Religious Archivists Elects Slate of Officers for 2021-2022

Chicago Area Religious Archivists has elected five individuals to continue its role in providing a network of educational opportunities for Greater Chicago and Midwest Religious Archivists. 

Kristen Gravelin
, Archives Assistant, Robert M. Myers Archives, Chicago Province of the Society of the Divine Word, Techny, IL.

Virginia Jung, OSB
, Community Archivist, Benedictine Sisters of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Jane Kenamore
, Archivist / Archives Consultant, Kenamore & Klinkow, LLC, Wilmette, IL.




Malachy McCarthy
, Province Archivist, Claretian Missionaries Archives USA-Canada, Chicago, IL.


Andrew Rea
, Director, Robert M. Myers Archives, Chicago Province of the Society of the Divine Word, Techny, IL. 



CARA ordinarily has two meetings each year and welcomes suggestions for programming efforts. The meetings are always held during a weekday afternoon.