Post by Sarah Noonan, Saint Mary’s College
In the spring of 2019, Saint Mary’s College received a $10,000 grant from the Council of Independent Colleges to support the project: “Refuge(es): Telling the Story of Global Displacement Through the Archives of the Sisters of the Holy Cross.”
During the 2019-2020 academic year, three faculty members and two student researchers collaborated to digitize and showcase material from the Archives and Records of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross that focuses on the sisters’ close work with refugees and displaced persons during the American Civil War (1861-65) and the refugee crises in Cambodia (1979-80), Lebanon (1982-83), and El Salvador (1983-86). Students in four grant-affiliated courses have also contributed to this initiative, bringing the total project team to over 30 individuals. Throughout our work on this project, we have sought to encourage community discussion on appropriate and viable responses to the ongoing mass displacement of populations worldwide and to model meaningful, research-based engagement between the Congregation and the College.
Our main public event will be a museum exhibit at the History Museum where we will curate physical and digital exhibits, including a Scalar edition of a journal of refugee narratives housed in the Archives. On the evening of our exhibit opening, we plan to offer a community presentation. Additionally, as keynote speakers for the URC’s annual Interfaith Breakfast, we hope to lead a discussion on displacement and notions of “welcoming”. Due to social restrictions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, we have tentatively rescheduled both events for early September 2020.