|Evelyn O'Neill Collection
|Named for the founder of Avila University, Evelyn O'Neill, CSJ, this collection consists of books about women religious currently owned by the Hooley-Bundschu Library. It will expand as additional volumes and other reference materials are acquired. The holdings now include over 300 books on a variety of topics concerning individual sisters as well as their institutions, activities and achievements in the U.S. and Europe.
|George C. Stewart Collection:
|Donation of the books and papers of George C. Stewart, Jr., augmented the collection in 1997. Stewart's 1994 book, Marvels of Charity: History of American Sisters and Nuns, traces the history of American sisterhoods and is considered the most complete compilation of statistics on Catholic women's orders and their institutions currently available. His gift added over 500 books plus assorted pamphlets, materials, papers and photographs on a wide variety of religious orders.
|Mary Austin Carroll Collection
|In 1998, the library received the personal collection of Sister Hermenia Muldrey, RSM, author of Abounding in Mercy: Mother Austin Carroll. Acquired over many years, Sister Hermenia's collection includes over 200 books plus vocation pamphlets, inspirational literature, anniversary booklets and more than 300 manuscripts. The gift has been named The Mary Austin Carroll Collection in honor of a prominent member of the Mercy congregation. Many items concern the Sisters of Mercy in the United States, Ireland, England, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
History and Purpose
The Women Religious Special Collection, begun in the fall of 1997, is unique as the first college/university library collection focused entirely on the experience of Catholic sisters and nuns. Intended as a repository for out-of-print and contemporary books and materials on American sisters, the Women Religious Special Collection was created to acquire and provide access to books and materials related to the communities and activities of sisters and nuns in the United States. Founded and sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, Avila University and the Hooley-Bundschu Library are a natural home for this singular collection to highlight the activities and accomplishments of women religious and to serve as a research site for scholars, historians, and others interested in the history of women religious.
The Women Religious Collection is important and very timely. The spiritual, educational and social services of nuns have sustained the U.S. Catholic Church throughout its history, reaching a peak in the 1960's with approximately 200,000 sisters engaged in teaching, healthcare and social work. Since then, the rapid decline of sisterhoods has raised the possibility of their partial or even total extinction and the potential loss of many of their valuable records. Because the sisters' role in both the church and society has been far from adequately researched, understood or recorded, it is imperative that existing books and materials related to their experience be carefully preserved. The special collection is designed to encourage the preservation of relevant materials, to facilitate their use, and ultimately to foster a wealth of much-needed new scholarship on the historical experience and the influence of religious women in the American Church and the wider society.
Examples of Significant Acquisitions:
The collection includes a number of items especially valuable because of their age, rarity, notoriety, and/or unusual usefulness to researchers.
- Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk of the Hotel Dieu Convent of Montreal: The Secrets of the Black Nunnery Revealed. Maria Monk, 1854.
- In Our Convent Days. Agnes Repplier, 1905.
- Religious Orders of Women in the United States. Elinor Tong Dehey, 1930.
- Complete set of the Sister Formation Bulletin, 1954-1972.
- Women Religious History Sources: A Guide to Repositories in the United States. Evangeline Thomas, ed., 1983.
- Marvels of Charity: History of American Sisters and Nuns. George C. Stewart, Jr., 1994.
Books and Materials in the Collection
- Histories of women's religious communities and/or of women religious in general, and studies of particular aspects of religious life for women in the United States and elsewhere.
- Biographies and autobiographies of individual women religious, including founders of orders and/or saints such as Madeline Sophie Barat, St. Teresa of Avila, and Mother Cabrini, as well as others who were notable in some way such as Hildegard of Bingen, Mechtild of Magdeburg, etc.
- Writings by or about women religious including memoirs, journals, devotional literature, poetry, etc.
- Prescriptive literature for women religious.
- Demographic, institutional data and photographs on a variety of women's congregations.
The acquisition of materials is ongoing and the Hooley-Bundschu Library hopes to expand the Women Religious Special Collection through additional donations of books, papers, and financial contributions to supplement maintenance and acquisition costs. The collection is open to the public as well as to historians and researchers doing work on Catholic sisters and nuns.
Back to top
For additional information, to make an appointment to work in the collection or to discuss the collection, please contact:
Director of Library Services
816.942.8400 ext. 2311