This year we lost a real treasure in the Archivist community, and I'd like to honor her memory with a modest attempt at sharing her legacy.
Sister Jane Aucoin, a sister of St. Joseph passed away last month. Sr. Jane was an active member of the Greater New Orleans Archivists Association (GNOA). When the Mother house was flooded during Katrina and after suffered a fire and was completely destroyed Sr. Jane moved back to Baton Rouge where she had been born. She was educated at St. Joseph Academy in Baton Rouge and then earned a Bachelor’s degree in education from Loyola New Orleans. Later she earned a master’s degree at Notre Dame. She professed her final vows in 1949, and served as teacher and administrator and archivist in New Orleans. She passed away at the age of 91 at her home in the Mount St. Mary Convent in Wichita.
Sometime in the mid 1850’s a group of St. Joseph Sisters were sent from France to Louisiana and Mississippi. Their ministry was to the poor and suffering. Eventually the Sisters began establishing schools and staffing hospitals. Most notable in the Baton Rouge area is the much admired St. Joseph Academy, which was established in 1868. Even I had no idea it was that old. I believe that the Our Lady of the Lake Hospital was founded by a different Order of Catholic Sisters, but I could be mistaken. I’ll research that another day.
In the US there are seven Founding Congregations of St. Joseph. Two are in Louisiana; Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The Congregation Archives document the charities and ministries of the Sisters from their arrival in the United States from France in the 1850s, to the present time. Types of materials in the archives include historical manuscripts & correspondence, administrative records, financial ledgers, photographs, audio & video recordings, scrapbooks, architectural drawings, artifacts, books, dissertations, & newsletters. If you wish to contact the Congregation about archival material you can reach out to them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
RIP Sr. Jane. You will be missed.
Can we talk about digitizing or microfilming to preserve your precious documents or archive? It doesn’t cost a penny to talk.
Kathryn Smith, CDIA+- Helper to Those That Manage Records and History