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Groundbreaking in Fall 2024!

The Women Religious Archives Collaborative (WRAC) Heritage Center in Cleveland, Ohio will be a place of study and celebration. Housing the archives of up to 40 congregations of women religious in a state-of-the art $22 million facility, WRAC will make them accessible for research in person and online. It will also present public exhibits and events, and interactive digital programs, that honor the unique contributions of women religious to their communities and the country.

“You can’t adequately tell the history of the United States without including the contributions of Catholic Sisters.”

– Susan Durkin, OSU, Executive Director, WRAC

Remembering Sisters’ Remarkable Legacies

Dorothy Kazel OSU
Sisters' Stories

Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland

On October 3, 1979, shortly before El Salvador erupted in a bloody civil war that would last for twelve years, Sister Dorothy Kazel wrote the following to her friend and former missionary co-worker, Sister Martha Owen

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Sisters' Stories

Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine

Sometimes referred to as the “Angel of Alcoholics Anonymous,” Sr. Ignatia Gavin, CSA, was instrumental in helping thousands of individuals reach sobriety through her work with Alcoholics Anonymous.

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Sr. Lucia Perea as a young Sister of Loretto
Sisters' Stories

Sisters of Loretto

Four Sisters of Loretto arrived in Santa Fe from Kentucky in 1852. In January of the next year, they established Our Lady of Light Academy, the first school for young women in the Territory of New Mexico. Dolores Perea (Sr. Lucia Perea) was an early student of the Academy.

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Sisters' Stories

Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament

Although the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament was founded in 1625 by Jeanne Chézard de Matel, it wasn’t until 1852 when Bishop Odin visited France to seek Sisters for the mission territory in Texas, that God transported the Order to the New World. A small group of Incarnate Word Sisters responded, and the first house was opened in Brownsville, Texas in 1853.

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Laying of the cornerstone, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, May 1902
Sisters' Stories

Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis

For a number of reasons, the time called for a gala religious and civic celebration in Stevens Point, WI. May 20, 1902, Pentecost Tuesday, according to tradition was observed as a first-class holyday and holiday by many Polish immigrants, particularly in rural areas. The new convent and academy, where the cornerstone was to be laid that day, symbolized achievement and hope for the Polish American parish communities.

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Serving Those Who Served Us

Meeting Congregations’ Needs


of congregations lack professional archivists


need to relocate their archives in the next 10 years


of communities don’t have a long-term plan for their archival collections


of women religious are 70+ years old

Sources: Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate study, Georgetown University, 2022; National Religious Retirement Office study, 2020

Help Write the Next Chapter

Just as they were there for us, women religious need us now as they work to ensure their legacies. Please donate today and become a Founding Donor of the WRAC Heritage Center. Your gift will help preserve and celebrate the important contributions of women religious.

The state-of-the-art, $22 million center will secure the archival collections of up to 40 congregations, reducing the financial burden on each; make archives available for study by students, academics, and family members; and share the remarkable stories they contain with the public—in person and online. 

Thank you for your support!

News & Updates

News & Updates

Sisters of Charity Foundation highlights WRAC

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland is proud to be a founding funder of WRAC, a nonprofit organization serving women religious in preserving their congregations’ unique histories and charisms for future generations—work that has become increasingly urgent.

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News & Updates

WRAC featured in Dome, A publication of The Ursuline Sisters of Louisville

The Ursuline Sisters of Louisville Archives contains invaluable records showing the remarkable impact our Sisters have had in the communities they’ve served for the past 165 years. As archivist, I receive dozens of requests each year from scholarly researchers, former students of Ursuline schools, family genealogists related to an Ursuline Sister, and others who have been touched by the Ursulines in some way and who are seeking information only our records can provide.

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