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Sister Colleen Waterman papers

Identifier: A-03-1039

Scope and Contents

This collection contains newspaper clippings, correspondence, writings, and audiovisual material regarding poverty ministry.  The bulk of the material relates directly to Sisters Colleen Waterman and Maigread Conway’s involvement with the Summer Achievement in Learning (SAIL) program, Echo House, and Neighborhood House in Charleston, South Carolina. Sister Colleen also collected newspaper clippings regarding various social issues including the Hospital Workers’ Strike in Charleston, the Poor People’s March, education, and Project Cabrini.  Also included are newspaper columns written by Monsignor Thomas Duffy.


  • Created: 1965-2007
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1973-2004
  • Other: Date acquired: 11/15/2004


Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Diocese of Charleston makes no representation that it is the owner of any copyright or other literary property in the materials contained in its archives. In providing access to or permitting the reproduction of any such materials, the Diocese of Charleston does not assume any responsibility for determining the nature of any rights, ownership or interest therein; nor for obtaining the appropriate permissions to publish or use; nor for determining the nature of any liabilities (for defamation and invasion of privacy) that may arise from any publication or use. This rests entirely with the researcher.

Biographical or Historical Information

Colleen Waterman, a religious sister and registered nurse, was born in Rockwell City, Iowa, to Evelyn and Richard Moore in 1934.  In 1936, Colleen’s father was killed in an accident. Later, her mother remarried William Waterman and Colleen adopted his last name. Colleen attended St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Elementary School and Rockwell City Public High School, in which she graduated as valedictorian of her class in 1952.  After high school, Colleen attended St. Mary’s School of Nursing in Rochester, Minnesota, and the College of St. Teresa in Winona, Minnesota. She received a nursing degree from Marquette University in Wisconsin. After graduating from nurse's training in 1955, Colleen entered the Sisters of St. Francis of Rochester, Minnesota, the following year.  She took her temporary vows in 1958 and her perpetual vows in 1961. She then requested to go into public health nursing, and her superiors sent her to Charleston, South Carolina, to work with Sister Maigread Conway at Echo House in Union Heights. In the summer of 1965, Sister Maigread Conway was featured in The Catholic Extension Magazine for her success with Project Cabrini, a free-form summer school program available to children living in the Cabrini-Green segregated housing development in Chicago, Illinois. After viewing the article, the bishop of Charleston, Ernest Unterkoefler, arranged for Sister Maigread to come to Charleston to launch the Summer Achievement in Learning (SAIL) program.  Monsignor Thomas Duffy, director of the Diocese of Charleston Catholic Charities, sponsored the project.  After Sister Colleen’s first summer of SAIL, she stayed to work permanently in poverty ministry. Neighborhood House, located at 77 America Street in Charleston, was established in 1915 as a social service center by the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy and St. Francis Hospital. In the 1960s, Catholic Charities assumed the sponsorship of this work, and a soup kitchen was started under Monsignor Duffy. The Franciscan Sisters of Minnesota ministered to the local community. Sister Colleen’s ministry has included a soup kitchen, senior citizen outreach, literacy tutoring, adult education, sewing classes for mothers, a clothing center, AIDS ministry, and prison ministry. She marched for fair wages, against abortion and capital punishment, advocated for the homeless, and was a Low Country AIDS volunteer. In 2007 Sister Colleen received the papal honor of Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Cross for her service to the poor.  She celebrated her golden jubilee in 2008. In 2010, after forty-two years of service in Charleston, Sister Colleen returned to her mother house in Rochester, Minnesota.

Note written by


2.09 Linear Feet (4 document boxes; 2 slim boxes; 7 audiocassettes; 4 VHS (TM); 2 16mm film; 5 1/4 inch tape; 2 oversize folders)

Language of Materials



Newspaper clippings, correspondence, and audiovisual material regarding the social outreach programs run by Sisters Colleen Waterman and Maigread Conway: Echo House, Neighborhood House, and Summer Achievement in Learning (SAIL).  Also included are writings by Monsignor Thomas Duffy.

Arrangement Note

1. Social Outreach 2. Franciscan Sisters of Rochester, Minnesota 3. Monsignor Thomas Duffy 4. Subjects

Technical Access Requirements

Special equipment required to view or access audiovisual materials.

Source of Acquisition

Received from Sister Colleen Waterman, OSF in November 2004 and December 2009.

Method of Acquisition


Accruals and Additions

Ten photograph albums, three audiocassettes, and three VHS (TM).

Separated Materials

Audiocassette box 1: 7 audiocassettes Videocassette box 1: 4 VHS (TM), 3 tape reels Audio/Visual shelf: 4 tape reels Oversize box 2: 2 oversize folders

Processing Information

Processed by Brian P. Fahey 2005; and Melissa Bronheim September 2014.

Inventory of the Sister Colleen Waterman papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Catholic Diocese of Charleston Archives Repository

114 Broad Street
Carriage House
Charleston SC 29401 US