To subscribe to HWR News and Notes send a check or money order for $10 for one year, $18 for two years or $24 for three years to the editor:

Karen M. Kennelly
1880 Randolph Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55105

news & announcements


ACHA Call for Papers
American Catholic Historical Association, Chicago, January 2012
 In keeping with the American Historical Association’s theme of “Communities and Networks,” the American Catholic Historical Association (ACHA) seeks panels that explore the various dimensions of Catholicism in its engagement with society and culture.  The 2012 conference in Chicago provides scholars with the opportunity to reflect on a range of topics from transnational to local, such as Catholic progressivism, the importance of material culture, and the changing role of the laity in relation to the institutional church. Topics regarding lay-directed reforms, the impact of religious sexual misconduct, the downsizing of Roman Catholic churches and schools and the decline of religious orders have profound consequences for the direction of Catholic life and culture.  ACHA welcomes panels of historians, architects, educators, journalists, and archivists interested in exploring how Catholic communities and networks have functioned in a pluralistic society. We particularly encourage graduate students to apply.  Please send your proposals to the 2012 ACHA program committee:

Dr. Malachy R. McCarthy,
Ellen Skerrett,
Dr. Larissa Juliet Taylor,

The deadline for AHA joint sessions is February 15th
ACHA individual or session proposals is May 15th


Band of Sisters

Band of Sisters, a documentary film about Catholic sisters in the U.S. who responded to the call of Vatican II to work for justice for the world's poor, is 85% shot and nearing completion. The film is intended for national broadcast on PBS, and will also be screened at national and international film festivals, Catholic universities, motherhouses, community centers and other venues. Band of Sisters will be available for use by women's congregations and their ministries for fundraising and vocation work.

The film follows Mercy Sisters Pat Murphy and JoAnn Persch, whose weekly prayer vigil outside of Broadview Detention Center near O'Hare airport (the last stop before undocumented immigrant detainees are deported) propels them into leadership of an interfaith group of activists intent on changing the country's immigration laws. Band of Sisters also features Nancy Sylvester, IHM, former president of LCWR and former Executive Director of NETWORK. The film finds her at a crossroads: trying to find a path amidst the impasse many people are experiencing in our society, our political system, our religious institutions, and our relationship with the planet.

These current-day stories will weave in with the larger story of the transformation of U.S. sisters after Vatican II. Over a dozen sisters will describe how the changes came about in religious life, what this has meant to their personal and community life, and to their spirituality. Viewers will witness key moments in sisters' movement toward justice (the formation of NETWORK, the murder of the four churchwomen, Pope John Paul II's visit in 1979, the 2010 health care reform act, etc.) and see that the work continues. Against the backdrop of the current Vatican investigation of American women religious, the film will show how the sisters have built networks and organizations that have a transformative impact on the communities around them.

Mary Fishman, the film's independent producer/director, is targeting the end of 2011 for the film to be ready for release. A significant amount of money still needs to be raised to pay for editing and other finishing costs. Ms. Fishman respectfully asks HWR members to visit the film's website, to make a tax-deductible donation if they are able, to spread the word to their congregations, colleagues, family members and friends, and to contact her if they have suggestions for fundraising or questions about the film.


Call for Papers | Annual H-WRBI Conference:
Interactions with the Continent, Sept. 1-4, 2010

Our counterpart, the Women Religious of the British Isles, are seeking 
papers for their next conference. Click here for more information.

CLA Archives Workshop

The Catholic Library Association is pleased to announce the fourth Introductory Archives Workshop for Religious Communities to be held at the Techny Towers Conference and Retreat Center, Techny, IL from July 25-30, 2010. The 5-day intensive program is directed toward individuals who are interested in learning about archival theory and practice or who wish to update their archival training.   

Unlike other archival workshops, the sessions will focus on the unique types of records found in the archives of men’s and women’s religious communities. These records document not only the communities themselves, but also the evolution of Catholicism in the United States, and its impact on educational, social and charitable institutions that shaped the nation’s history.   
The program, directed by professional religious archivists, will include lectures, tours, and opportunities for sharing experiences.  

Complete program and registration information and a registration form are posted on the Catholic Library Association website at, or contact the CLA at or phone 413-443-2252.