Ursuline Sister Emma Cecilia Busam was honored Oct. 22 with the 2012 Kentucky Archives Month Certificate of Merit for Significant Service as an Archivist.
“I’m not sure how we’ve given this award for 10 years without honoring Sister Emma Cecilia,” said Barbara Teague, the state archivist and records administrator. Teague came to Maple Mount to present the certificate in person.
“She is proof that you can work hard at your job every day and still be a nice person,” Teague said. The award comes from the Kentucky State Historical Records Advisory Board, which selects one person each October to honor during Archives Month.
Sister Emma Cecilia took a collection of papers and other historical items and built an archive for the Ursuline Sisters beginning in 1983, following a 38-year career as a teacher and principal. In January 1991, she also became the archivist for the Diocese of Owensboro, Ky., the first person to truly occupy that position.
She decided to retire from her position at the Mount in 2001 and work solely with the diocese, which she believed needed more attention. She became a member of the Society of American Archivists in 1983, and in 1994, that group honored her with the Sister M. Claude Lane Award, for her significant contribution to the field of religious archives. She is one of the founding members of the Archivists for Congregations of Women Religious.
When she retired from the diocesan position on Feb. 15, 2011, Bishop William Medley changed the name of the archives to the “Sister Emma Cecilia Busam Archives.” Next year Sister Emma Cecilia will celebrate her 70th year as an Ursuline Sister.
Sister Emma Cecilia thanked the many people who have helped her through the years with the archives. The letter alerting her to the award said, “Your contributions to the Kentucky and national archival communities have been immeasurable, and we appreciate your service so much.”
She was nominated by Mary Margaret Bell, coordinator of archives and retrieval systems for the Jefferson County Public Schools. Valerie Edgeworth, a member of the advisory board, and Kevin Kauffeld, chancellor of the Diocese of Owensboro, both attended the presentation.