What are Archives?
Archives are an asset to an organisation, community, state or nation when they are managed well. They hold much of our personal, corporate and social memory. They tell our story, document out identity and have an on going use for enquiries. (Keeping Archives)
The archives of the Daughters of Charity in Ireland is based in St Catherine’s Provincial House, Dunardagh, Blackrock, Co. Dublin and consists of documents, supporting materials, artefacts received since its foundation in Drogheda 1855. These documents are preserved and arranged for the needs of the administration or Management of the Company. The archivist also process enquiries that come from relatives of deceased sisters and from people tracing their family tree.
Words of St. Vincent
"In the future please keep the letters written to you and to members of your house, no matter from whom they may come, whatever they contain any noteworthy details that may or may not be instructive for the future" (1660)
In its decree on Religious the Second Vatican Council emphasised the importance of preserving the spirit and charism of their founders. The appropriate renewal of religious life involves a contininuous return to the sources of all Christian life and the original inspiration behind a given community and an adjustment to changed conditions of the times.
(The document of Vatican 11, Walter M. Abbott SJ. Pg 468)
Daughters of Charity
The 2004 edition of the constitutions and Statutes of the Daughters of Charity states:
The archives establish a link with the past and contribute to maintaining the continuity of the Spirit of the Company. Their preservation is to be assured at all levels, local, provincial and general. (Statuet 76, pg. 186).
There are a number of approaches or standards that can be used to create an archival arrangement or a catalogue but the one used in this instance is ISAD (G) as it is the international standard and is used in conjunction with the existing national standards. The purpose of an archival description is:
To identify and explain the context and content of archival material in order to promote its accessibility. Specific elements of information. (Creation, Appraisal, accessioning, conservation, arrangement) This standard contains General rules that may be applied, irrespective of the form of the archival material (International Council for Archives pg. 7)
The Daughters follow the recommendations for the storage and exhibition of archival documents- BS 5454:2000. They comply with the National Archives Act, Local Government Acts and Data Protection Act.
The importance of archiving material cannot be emphasised strongly enough as we owe it to those who come after us. It is only right to archive the personal, corporate and social memory of the Company. This will help to keep alive the memory of those who have gone before us. The future is built on the past and as we live in the present we have an obligation to respect both, in order to protect our Heritage.
‘Nature demands that trees be deeply rooted before they can bear fruit
and this is a gradual process’ (St. Vincent Vol 13b pg. 219)