This Summer while we were in our temporary digs in Avila Hall, I kept busy by working with a committee to create the exhibit you see here. This exhibit focuses on the history of the Sisters of St. Joseph and was co-curated by myself and Dr. Carol Coburn. I was responsible for tracking down all of the content we wanted to include in this exhibit and that entailed searching extensively through our archival collection of the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph for images as well as factual information for the descriptive text. As a committee we decided that this exhibit should tell the story of all Sisters of St. Joseph, so I also contacted numerous congregational archives across the U.S. to obtain photos and images that would help us create a well-balanced exhibit. The responses I received were overwhelmingly positive and the archivists for each congregation were quite generous with their contributions. Dr. Coburn served as the subject specialist for this exhibit and we worked closely to create a cohesive story line that highlights significant historical facts and guides the viewer through the timeline of events. The exhibit begins with the foundation of the order in Le Puy, France, in 1650, and leads the viewer through the sisters’ immigration to the United States in 1836. Also, we felt it was important to introduce our viewers to the process and commitment involved in becoming a Sister of St. Joseph. And since we had a fixed amount of space for our exhibit, we decided to select a few important stories to help illustrate the mission and great works the sisters have orchestrated since coming to America. In addition, we wanted to convey to the viewer that these sisters’ imbue everything they do with the “dear neighbor” in mind. To this end, their vocations are dedicated to issues of healthcare, education, social welfare, and social justice. They have been pioneers and leaders in these fields since their arrival in America and our exhibit helps to illustrate the spread of their influence, both locally and globally.
Our committee began work on this exhibit in February, 2014 and the completed exhibit was unveiled to the public at our open house on August 25, 2014. I would like to acknowledge the many hours of hard work that the committee put in to make this exhibit happen. Committee members were: Adonna Thompson, Carol Coburn, Sue King, Ann O’Mera, Angie Heer, Kathleen Finegan, Dave Armstrong, Mike Stuckey, Maureen Reardon, and exhibit designer Connie Fey, from Madden-McFarland Interiors. I would also like to thank Bob Luder for proof reading our copy, Phil Stewart for this photo and his digital work on the exhibit and all of the congregational archivists (as well as several individual sisters) for their time and generous photographic contributions.