Periodicals in the Archive


"Pictures from ‘Tidings’ and other missionary magazines would have represented one of the primary ways by which Irish people would have seen depictions of Africa and its peoples before the widespread ownership of televisions."  

Tidings Vol 1 No 1, 1948.jpgTidings Vol 1 No 1, 1948, p. 1.jpg

The front cover and page one of the first edition of 'Tidings' in 1948. Images courtesy of the OLA Provincial Archive.

One of the most interesting collections in the Archives are the periodicals produced by the OLA. These issues are a valuable resource which record the important events that occurred within the OLA from year-to-year. Earlier and later editions of these periodicals can be compared to show how approaches to mission, congregational priorities and depictions of Africa have changed from the early twentieth century to today.

'Tidings' magazine

One of our largest collections of periodicals is of the OLA magazine, ‘Tidings’, which was produced by the Irish Province for public consumption. This magazine ran from 1948 to 1984. It was one of the main tools by which the Irish Province communicated its work to the world. The magazine acted as an important means of gathering donations and recruiting young women to the congregation. The use of the magazine as a vocational tool can be in seen in the inside front cover of the first edition which bears a picture of OLA Sisters and the headline, “A Career for You!”. The inclusion of photographs from the first magazine is an interesting feature. These pictures from ‘Tidings’ and other missionary magazines would have represented one of the primary ways by which Irish people would have seen depictions of Africa and its peoples before the widespread ownership of televisions.  As well as having an outward facing purpose, the magazine also performed an internal function of helping to form and maintain the Irish Province’s sense of community by keeping the Sisters of the Province up-to-date on their colleagues’ activities. ‘Tidings’ ceased publication in 1984, when the Irish Province decided that instead of running their own magazine that they would contribute instead to the SMA Irish Province’s magazine, ‘The African Missionary’.   

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Images which appeared in the first edition of 'Tidings'.

After ‘Tidings’ ceased publication, there arose a need in the Irish Province for a medium through which it could communicate with its members.  In 1988 the first ‘Newsletter’ of the Province was printed which is still being published today on a bi-annual basis. A much simpler affair, the ‘Newsletter’ was more inward facing, its primary audience being members of the Province. The ‘Newsletter’ provides a forum by which the Provincial Leader and the Provincial Council can communicate with the sisters of the Province, and they in turn can be kept abreast of what their colleagues are doing.

International OLA periodicals

As well as having periodicals printed by the Irish Province, the Archives has periodicals published by the OLA Generalate, the worldwide governing body of the congregation. This includes the editions of the journal ‘L’Etoile du Missionaire’ (1939 – 1951), and the newsletters, ‘L’Echo’ (1956 – 1977) and ‘Meeting Point’ (1987 – present). Just as the Irish periodicals provide a means by which the Irish Province can help build a sense of community and exchange news, these periodicals do the same for the whole congregation.

L'Etoile du Missionnaire, No. 21, June - July 1946.jpgHorizons, No. 74 Jan. 2001.jpg

The OLA Generalate journal ‘L’Etoile du Missionaire’ from 1946 and a 2001 edition of the 'Horizons' newsletter edited by the OLA Province of France.

Window into non-anglophone countries

The Archive contains the newsletters of other provinces and districts including, the Provinces of Nigeria and Ghana which were part of the Irish Province up to 1990 and 1997 respectively. These newsletters provide a link between the Irish Sisters and the countries where they ministered. The Archive also contains the newsletters of the OLAs in Algeria, Benin Republic, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, France, Italy, Lebanon, Niger, Quebec and Togo. These newsletters are in French except for the material from Italy which is in Italian. These newsletters demonstrate the international nature of the congregation and provide a window into its non-Anglophone parts.

As a whole the periodicals in the Irish Province Archives provide an excellent source for understanding the Sisters of Our Lady of Apostles. They can provide a snapshot of the congregation at certain point in time or they can be used to gauge how the congregation developed over a longer period.


- Michael Kelliher, Contract Archivist Officer, OLA Province of Ireland.


Click here to contact the OLA Province of Ireland Archives Office.

Click here to view the OLA 2017 'Explore Your Archive' series.