This is a guest post by our archival intern for the semester, Jenna Brady, Mount St. Mary’s University class of 2023.
My time at this internship has been a very enlightening experience, as it has served to not only give me more information on the history of the Daughters of Charity, but has also been extremely instructive about the processes of archival work. I have had the opportunity to work on many different projects while I have been working at the Daughters of Charity Archives including recording West Provincial Newsletters from the 1970s, transcribing Italian letters, transcribing the oral history of Sister Isidore Allain, and assisting in putting together one of the exhibits that are on display. In this post, I would like to discuss my encounters with each of these projects and highlight some of the skills I have been provided with through my work.
The first project that I was able to focus on during the internship was going through the newsletters from the 1970s of the West Central Province. The newsletters chronicled many important events that happened for the sisters throughout that time including the canonization of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and many important meetings that would take place in Rome that the sisters would attend. The newsletters also served to chronicle the monthly lives of the sisters and their many placements throughout the province. These newsletters showed the progression of the province as things around them began to change in the world during the 70s. I recorded all of these newsletters into an excel sheet that will provide information about people and places mentioned within the newsletters so that it is easier to pinpoint the information.
While working in the archives, I also had the opportunity to listen to and transcribe the oral history of Sister Isidore Allain. This allowed me not only to hear Sister Allain’s story through her own words but also to understand all of the work that goes into transcribing an oral history. Its an experience that will certainly stick with me as I was able to hear a firsthand account of history from the direct word of the woman who lived through it. It also helped me to see how an individual story tied into the overarching period of the West Central Province.
The final project that I want to mention working on is the exhibit that recently opened in the archives on April 26th. There are now two new exhibits open in the archives both focusing on the lives and works of the sisters of the province. The exhibit that I was able to assist with highlights all those who live and work at the Emmitsburg campus in the different departments. It was an honor learning about all of the different departments and people who assist throughout the various ministries that occur here.
The experiences that I have had while working at the Daughters of Charity Archives have given me a deeper understanding of everything that is included in archival work and it has been an honor being able to learn so many new things. I have truly enjoyed my time here and look forward to learning even more about the sisters in the future.