Fr. Stephen Van Lal Than

A section of the stacks room in the diocesan archives at the McRaith Catholic Center. COURTESY OF ARCHIVES

Archives looks forward to sharing more stories from our diocese’s rich and varied history


My first article for this new printing cycle of The Western Kentucky Catholic, following its summer break, will be an update of the archives and a look forward into possible artifacts to be featured in upcoming articles. This should give readers some information on the plans of the archives for the coming months. It will also serve as a bit of an introduction for first-time readers of the column and a refresher for those who have read and enjoyed it in the past.

First off, I would like to mention that in the past year, a welcome situation has presented itself. Several requests have been made from institutions around the diocese for information and photographs to honor sisters, nuns and priests who served them. These requests came from multiple churches as well as schools. The requests were not made from simple curiosity but expressly for the purpose of creating alumni walls and halls of honor. This could not be more celebrated by the archives. The stacks rooms where we keep the information is a good place to preserve our diocese’s history. Among the people, the faces, and knowledge of times past this information breathes, has new life, and teaches. Our walls keep it safe but, spread beyond those walls, our history can live among us.

The archives currently has several objects lined up to be featured in upcoming articles. An item I am particularly interested in is one mentioned last year, a lock of hair encased behind a small 19th-century painting. This was in the possession of a deceased priest who had a love for history. There are also several items from Mount Saint Joseph’s old museum that will be covered. A group of such items that have gained quite a bit of attention are the Eucharistic host makers from when the Ursuline Sisters used to bake the hosts for parishes throughout the diocese.

The coming months will be busy for the archives. We currently have several projects underway. At the Mount, we will be finishing up the monumental task of decommissioning the museum. We are also assisting in planning and celebrating the 150-year anniversary of Mount Saint Joseph, which will take place next year. Audio digitization and organization of the new stacks area continues at the McRaith Catholic Center, as well as several new policy implementations.

We look forward to bringing as much of your history to you as possible. Whether through these articles, assisting your churches or other means, we hope to draw you closer to the history of your incredible diocese. We also appreciate all the feedback we get on the articles that you find interesting or that are moving to you; it means a lot, thank you. Sr. Emma Cecilia Busam, namesake of our archives, pray for us!

Edward Wilson is the director of the Diocese of Owensboro’s Archives and the Archives of the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph. Comments and questions may be sent to [email protected].

Originally printed in the August 2023 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.

Current Issue

Publisher |  Bishop William F. Medley
Editor |  Elizabeth Wong Barnstead
Contributors |  Riley Greif, Rachel Hall
Layout |  Rachel Hall
Send change of address requests to [email protected]