By Mary DeTurris Poust
"Women & Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America," an exhibit celebrating the courageous and determined women religious who came to the United States almost 300 years ago and changed the landscape of their new land through their groundbreaking work in education, health care, child care, and so much more, is now on display at the Smithsonian Institution's International Gallery of the S. Dillon Ripley Center through April 25.
Sponsored by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in association with the Cincinnati Museum Center, the exhibit starts with the Ursuline Sisters who arrived in New Orleans in 1772 and works its way through Revolutionary times, the Civil War, civil and women's rights battles to the present. Among the artifacts on display is a letter from Thomas Jefferson praising the work of the Ursulines, the nurse's bag of a Sister of Charity who was known as the "Angel of the Battlefield" for tending to soldiers on the front lines of the Civil War, and the gavel of a Sister of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary who became the mayor of Dubuque, Iowa, in 1980—the first woman religious to be elected mayor of an American city.
After the exhibit wraps up at the Smithsonian, it heads to Cleveland, followed by Liberty Island, New York; Dubuque, Iowa, and South Bend, Indiana. For the full schedule, click HERE.