Second Triennial Conference (1992) Recap

The 150 participants in the second Triennial Conference met from June 28-July 1, 1992, at Marymount College, Tarrytown, NY. The theme, “Women Religious and the Social Fabric,” with Mary Ewens, O.P., as program chair, attracted numerous papers on ways women religious addressed areas of social concern, principally in North America in the nineteenth and twentieth century. Participants also discussed diverse approaches to researching and writing the history of women’s congregations; publication; and integrating the narratives of women religious into more general histories. Patricia Byrne, CSJ, gave the keynote, “Women Religious and the Social Fabric, a Paradigm: Sisters of St. Joseph (1650-1992).”

The second meeting showcased the developing role of archivists in the group. 3 paper sessions focused on archivists’ special problems, and the meeting’s business session focused in part on the questions of a common archives for women’s congregations.

General reaction to the Conference was expressed in participant comments:

  • “It was thoroughly engaging, conceptually well put together, and such a good exchange among so many active participants … There’s gold in our stories.”

  • “I found the topics … very stimulating.”

  • And, from a first-time participant, “This was the best constructed and best executed conference I have yet to attend. As a student of nineteenth-century sisters, I feel as if I were present at the continuing, if evolving, power of women living in community with women. It was an awesome revelation.”

Just over 150 persons attended, including 7 from Canada, 2 from Australia, 1 from the Philippines, and the remainder from 26 states of the U.S.–the largest single number (31) from New York, reflecting the conference location. This time nearly one-fifth (28) were lay persons. Religious came from over 50 different orders or congregations including those of contemplative and monastic as well as apostolic traditions. About a third had also attended the 1989 conference.

The second Distinguished Historian Award was presented to Marie Augusta Neal, SNDdeN.