I would like to briefly introduce myself, my name is Nicola Kelly and I began working as the Archivist for the Religious Sisters of Charity, Sandymount, Dublin in May 2017. I am currently familiarising myself with the rare treasures buried within the archives confines, each letter, photograph, diary entry etc. forms an integral part of the Congregation’s rich tapestry.
The Congregations archives are the most precious, they are the gifts of one generation to another, and the extent of our care of them marks the extent of our civilisation.
In the recent weeks, Sr. Mairéad, Sr. Mary Therese and Sr. Monica have been (kindly and patiently) introducing me to the extensive history of the Foxford Woollen Mill and its remarkable foundress Mother Arsenius Morrogh-Bernard. While each item in the Foxford archive warrants merit for its historical significance, some unique items which I have found most interesting are the Foxford Visitor’s Book, dated 1892-1991, Mother Arsenius’ diaries and some newspaper cuttings, which record the Woollen Mills activities in it’s founding years.
The visitor’s book spans nearly 100 years of visitor’s signatures to the Foxford Woollen Mill, pictured below are some interesting signatures:
Emily Morrogh-Bernard, (sister of Mother Arsenius), 25 July 1893
Maud Gonne, 1898
Eamon de Valera, 7 August 1944
Douglas Hyde, First President of Ireland, 1 June 1939
The Earl and Countess of Arran, 1940
Mary Robinson, 7th President of Ireland
The Congregation’s original archival material seems to be especially rich with potential for providing meaning since the process of discovery is always possible. The keeping of original archival material is a hefty responsibility not only because it may contain evidence of past behaviours or thoughts, but because it could contain the potential connection that makes it more than just a piece of paper or more than just files. In the coming months, I look forward to discovering and cataloguing more treasures within the archives confines.