1989 Awards

Sr Evangeline ThomasSr. Evangeline Thomas, Distinguished Historian Award 

Sister Mary Evangeline Thomas, C.S.J.,

Ardent lover of God and neighbor who united yourself and your life’s work in early adulthood with the Sisters of St. Joseph in the heartland state of Kansas, in the ‘City of United Hearts,’ Concordia:

Intrepid pioneer in a congregation of pioneer women whose history you so brilliantly authenticated in Footprints on the Frontier in 1948;

Curious, imaginative pioneer whose doctoral dissertation, Nativism in the Old Northwest, published in 1936; chapters in the centennial volumes, Kansas: The First Century, published in 1956; contributions to the New Catholic Encyclopedia in the 1960s; and articles published in the 1970s and 1980s attest to a lifetime of unfailing interest in and devotion to the historian’s art;

Inspirational, humorous, resourceful pioneer whose professional skills and mastery of organizational detail illuminated the trial of archival research through directorship of the National Archives Project from 1976 to 1983, for which you secured grants totaling over 130,000 dollars from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission; assembled the advisory and working committees necessary for the successful completion of such a project; conducted archical workshops benefiting 375 women; surveyed and analyzed the holdings of archival centers maintained by women religious, and completed the monumental task of editing the findings;

Visionary pioneer whose Archives Project outcome, Women Religious History Sources: A Guide to Collections of Manuscripts and Archives in the United States, opened up a new frontier by encouraging historians to lift their sights beyond individual congregations in order to examine the tapestry of social, political, and cultural history woven by the multitude of congregations, immigrant and native, Catholic and Protestant, whose 583 repositories of documents you analyzed;

Global pioneer whose travels have taken you as a keen observer of religious life and the human condition to Europe, Africa, and Latin America;

Dedicated woman whose constant willingness to share your gifts as a scholar; as a teacher of history at Marymount College in Salina, Kansas; as a speaker; and as a member of many professional associations and corporate boards witnesses to your wide-ranging interests and generous spirit of service, and has gained for you recognition in the form of election to high office, the naming of scholarships in your honor, and the bestowal of numerous honors and awards;

Now therefore we members of the Network of the History of Women Religious here assembled, salute you as our mentor, colleague, and friend.  We thank you for your seminal contributions to the history of women religious, in token of which we confer on you the History of Women Religious Distinguished Historian Award, symbolized by this scroll and medal, given the twenty-seventh day of June in the year of Our Lord nineteen hundred eighty-nine, and the Conference on the History of Women Religious gathered at The College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minnesota.