There is urgency for congregations in diminishment to find permanent repositories for their archives. In 2017, Franciscan Federation President, Kathie Uhler, OSF, sent a letter to Third Order Regular USA leadership asking for discussion. Those meetings led to the Franciscan Central Archive Initiative. Our vision is a sustainable, charism-based collaborative repository for the combined archival collections of Franciscan congregations across the United States.
Our vision has been affirmed by the CARA Women Religious Archive Survey Report of 2022: “Respondents who are anticipating transitioning their archive to a repository were asked about the desirability of different options. The most favored was a charism-based archive (42% “very” desirable).”
The FCA will be joining the Chicago Collaborative Archive Center which also has interest from the Order of Franciscan Minor six USA provinces. It will be a facility with shared resources and support within reach of multiple universities and easy access to public transportation and airports. Dominican University has a library and information science program which could aid in preservation. If an FCA congregation needs temporary storage prior to completion, we have a location and local archivist for support.
The FCA was awarded an Academy of American Franciscan History grant for a needs assessment and strategic planning. Archival Consultant, Veronica Buchanan began January 2023. We will seek additional grants for new communities to be assessed, implement recommendations, and help begin fundraising. The FCA welcomes participation from First, Second, and Third Order Regular Franciscans, as well as Secular Franciscan groups. Please contact: FCArchive@franciscanway.org