Sisters’ archives department receives grant
The Sisters of Providence Archives Department recently received a Heritage Support Grant from the Indiana Historical Society which will allow the department to make much needed improvements.
Heritage Support Grants are provided by the Indiana Historical Society and made possible by Lilly Endowment Inc.
Sister Marianne Mader, who ministers as the department coordinator, said the grant will be helpful.
“We were hoping we would receive it,” Sister Marianne said. “We were very excited. It’s like someone gave us a free gift and we can have the latest equipment and the latest material to do our job better.”
The grant – estimated at more than $4,000 – will help with the purchase of two new computers, a mobile work bench, a printer and archival supplies.
“The Indiana Historical Society wants to support organizations that have been working on their heritage for a long time, and we’ve been working on ours since 1840,” Sister Marianne said.
Archives Assistant Sister Janet Gilligan was directly involved in the writing of the grant. She started her ministry in the department in September 2016 and began working on the grant proposal in November.
Her computer specifically needed to be upgraded.
“We have very little revenue and we do not have the funding,” Sister Janet said, regarding the upgrades.
The department officially learned they had received the grant in early spring this year.
“We were really grateful,” Sister Janet said. “We were delighted that the Historical Society recognizes the value of our collections.”
Both Sister Marianne and Sister Janet said part of the grant money will be used to digitize many of the materials the department has to offer. Beginning in August, the Archives staff plans to work with the Wabash Valley Visions and Voices Program to digitize the letters of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin and other fragile manuscripts. The Sisters of Providence are founding members of the program.
“We have digitized Mother Theodore’s original journals and other interesting items, such as material about the Civil War and pictures of early artifacts. But less than 10 percent of our collection has been digitized,” Sister Janet said. “This grant will certainly help.”
“Digitizing our materials is important,” Sister Marianne added. “If an unforeseen event were to happen to our system, we’d lose a lot of it.”
Sister Janet said the department has already started the process of applying for another grant through the Indiana Historical Society. If they receive it, it will be used to move shelving from Owens Hall – where Archives was previously located – to the department’s new location, which is in the lower level of Le Fer Hall.
“Our archives department contains an amazing range of interesting, valuable materials,” Sister Janet said. “I think it’s a very important resource.”
About the Sisters of Providence
The Sisters of Providence, a congregation of 214 women religious, with 300 Providence Associates, collaborate with others to create a more just and hope-filled world through prayer, education, service and advocacy. The Sisters of Providence have their motherhouse at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, located just northwest of downtown Terre Haute, Ind., which is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin founded the Sisters of Providence at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in 1840. Today, Sisters of Providence minister in 13 states, the District of Columbia and Asia, through works of love, mercy and justice. More information about the Sisters of Providence and their ministries can be found at SistersofProvidence.org.