Saturday, July 10, 2010

Women and Spirit: Coming to a museum near you!

From the time the Ursulines arrived in New Orleans in 1727 up to today, women religious have made an incalculable contribution to this nation. Running schools, hospitals and orphanages from America's earliest days, these women helped foster a culture of social service that has permeated our society. Over the centuries these courageous women overcame many obstacles--both physical and cultural--to bring their civilizing and caring influence to every corner of the country. Understanding and celebrating the history of women religious is essential to understanding and celebrating the history of America.
(Cokie Roberts, news analyst and author)

If you haven't already visited, I strongly recommend a trip to see Women and Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America, sponsored by the LCWR (Leadership Conference of Women Religious). I saw the exhibit on a recent trip to Cleveland, and can't recommend it highly enough.

The exhibit pays tribute to the extraordinary legacy that Catholic sisters played in the development of America, from building strong institutions in the cities to ministering to God's people on the frontiers and the edges of society. It does an excellent job of putting the sisters' accomplishments into historical perspective, and answering questions about issues faced by the Church in America throughout the years. For example, one part of the exhibit addresses the significance of the Catholic school system. The exhibit explains how many things we might take for granted as American Catholics were quite counter-cultural.

The exhibit will take you about 90 minutes to view, and is very accessible for all ages, although the educator's guide is helpful as well. The exhibit contains a nice variety of tributes to history, historical objects (such as possessions of St Elizabeth Ann Seton and Mother Cabrini), and multimedia.

Another aspect I find truly Catholic is that at the end of the exhibit are brochures for local congregations of women religious, recognizing that this exhibit may be the first time many young women think about a vocation.

As we celebrated the Year for Priests, we gave thanks for their ministry to the Church. "Women and Spirit" is an opportunity to pay tribute to the sisters who have done so much for our country.

Hopefully you can see "Women and Spirit" somewhere near you. Ellis Island is a very appropriate host site; I am also thrilled it is coming to the environs of Our Lady's University.

1 comment:

Margaret Mary said...

I see one of those that will fit into my travel plans nicely! Thanks!