Professional development is an ongoing process which helps us to keep up with the current standards, knowledge and skills in our particular field of work. I find it really helps me to gain perspective on current themes and trends which directly relates to how I approach our work in the archives. It also helps to network and share resources. In the Canadian Province each year, we make an effort to attend relevant conferences and workshops as much as we are able. Some examples this year:
Ignatian Spirituality Workshop
While I did not attend the event in its entirety, I did manage to attend some of the conference. I found this helpful on various levels. From the beginning it proved to be a great opportunity since I was able to meet and interact with some our Sisters from the US province. Attending allowed me to strengthen my understanding of Ignatian Spirtuality in a more concentrated and dedicated way than my previous research had done. It also allowed me to experience first-hand one of our Institute events which provided me with personal experience of the types of events that we record in our archives. My favourite “take-away” was definitely the Ignatian idea of the Daily Examen – I really took to the idea of daily, consciously considering one’s actions.
GC2014 Preparation Meetings
I was asked to help with preparations for our Province’s GC14 meetings and felt extremely honoured when I was invited to attend. Again, from an archival standpoint, I was able to gain first-hand experience of what one of these types of meeting is actually like. We often encounter agendas, minutes, accounts etc. in the archives, of course, but being able to attend gave me a better sense of what they are actually like. It was a large gathering of Sisters, associates and some staff. We viewed a video and then shared our reactions, thoughts and ideas in smaller groups. The video was excellently executed and if you get the chance to see it – you won’t miss the mention of the institute archivists! Sharing in this way, I was able to interact and get to know some of the sisters that I don’t always see/get a chance to talk to at the Abbey.
History of Women Religious Triennial Conference
When we received word that Sr. Kathleen would be presenting at this conference last year, I didn’t imagine that I would get the opportunity to attend! It was amazing being able to reconnect, and also support her while she spoke. I could compare the importance and usefulness of this conference to the one we (Sr. Kathleen, Áine, Robin and I) attended in Dublin. Being specifically about women religious, almost every session was relevant and presented strains of research that could be undertaken in our own archives. It is so important to see how archival materials are being used (which informs us further on what to weed out, what to keep) and how researchers are engaging the archives and archivists (many positive experiences, some bad). As archivists at this type of conference, our contributions regarding practices, as well as advice and opinions, are appreciated.
Catholic Archivists Group Conference
CAG is our national group of Catholic archivists in Canada. The group holds a conference annually in different locations. This conference mixes practical sessions and lectures with excursions to Catholic/archival sites in the area. The most beneficial facet of this conference is by far connecting with other Catholic archivists (small group), most of whom are “Lone Arrangers” in their archives. It presents a unique and unequaled opportunity to share experiences (trials and triumphs). Next year’s conference is scheduled to be held in Niagara Falls, Ontario, at Mount Carmel Retreat Centre (right beside our former Loretto Academy). I can’t wait! You can check out the group’s website here:
Sharing Display Ideas