Unlocked: 1967 survey of 140,000 US sisters now accessible to all

Unlocked: 1967 survey of 140,000 US sisters now accessible to all

Sister Marie Augusta Neal, SNDdeN, conducted the 1967 survey of 140,000 U.S. Sisters. (Courtesy of Cushwa Center for American Catholicism at the University of Notre Dame)

In the late 1960s, as the effects of the Second Vatican Council began to reverberate through the Catholic Church, Sr. Marie Augusta Neal of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur conducted a survey of American women religious in active ministry.

The survey was mailed to 157,917 sisters in 398 orders, and 89 percent of recipients responded to the questionnaire, which asked the sisters for their individual opinion on topics such as theology, social changes and the Vietnam War and led to detailed analysis of religious life at the time.

Though Neal published her findings from the survey and follow-up work for decades afterward, the data itself — originally encoded on computer punch cards then stored on computer tapes — had been inaccessible to other researchers. But on Oct. 6, the University of Notre Dame announced that Neal's data is now available for researchers around the world to analyze, thanks to a university project. 

Read the full article from Global Sisters Report.