Women & Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America


I don’t think this topic has been raised here, and I think it might be of interest to some.

Women & Spirit is a museum exhibit which started at the Smithsonian Institution and is currently touring the US. It shows how Catholic sisters have been involved in shaping the US over the past 300 years.

“It’s really amazing to see all they’ve done for our country,” Smithsonian spokeswoman Becky Haberacker told Catholic News Service during a recent tour of the exhibit, which made its Washington debut Jan. 15. “It’s also really interesting to find out how rugged they are. That just isn’t something I imagined before when I thought about nuns.”

The exhibit includes an 1804 letter from President Thomas Jefferson to an Ursuline nun, braided corn husk shoes worn by pioneer sisters, the nurse’s bag of a nun used during the Civil War and student work from the Oblate Sisters of Providence, the first all-black community.

Perceptions of women religious 300 years ago, and today, are often not accurate, Sister Annmarie said.

“So, we think this exhibit would show another side to what the public might normally perceive as the life of Catholic sisters.”


The exhibit is currently at the Maltz Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. This museum may seem an odd choice since it is devoted to Jewish heritage. A local paper asked for an explanation:

“It makes a strong statement about interfaith dialogue and interfaith collaboration,” said Sister Cecilia Liberatore, head of the local province of the Sisters of Notre Dame.

“The stories of the sisters coming to America, facing language barriers and discrimination, are the stories of Jewish settlers coming to America.”

Added museum director Feniger: “It made perfect sense to us. We’re a museum of diversity and tolerance.”


So if you are in the Cleveland area, you might want to pay it a visit before it closes on Aug 28th. :slight_smile:
And if you are in the Columbus area, you might want to use this as an excuse to leave for awhile, since Columbus was just identified as the most bedbug infested city in the US, even beating New York! :o

Future stops for the exhibit include:

September 24, 2010 – January 22, 2011
Statue of Liberty National Monument / Ellis Island Immigration Museum (Liberty Island, New York)

February 2011 - April 2011
The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium (Dubuque, Iowa) (Yay!)

June 17, 2011 - August 14, 2011
Mount St. Mary’s College (Los Angeles, California)

September 2, 2011 - December 31, 2011
Center for History in association with the University of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College (South Bend, Indiana)

Here is the official website for the exhibit.
(warning: a video will start playing immediately)

At the site you will find photographs, videos, educational materials and other interesting stuff. I hope you will find the website, and the exhibit worth your while.


Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I'd definitely go and see this when it comes to L.A.


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