- University of Notre Dame
- Professor of American Studies and History
- Faculty Fellow, Teaching Lab Fellow (2023-2024)
- Global Catholicism
Kathleen Sprows Cummings is Professor of American Studies and History at the University of Notre Dame, where she also directs the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism. Cummings holds a concurrent appointment in Gender Studies and the Department of Theology and is an affiliated faculty member in Italian Studies and the Nanovic Institute for European Studies. Cummings’ most recent book, A Saint of Our Own: How the Quest for a Holy Hero Helped Catholics Become American, was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2019.
Cummings’ first book, New Women of the Old Faith: Gender and American Catholicism in the Progressive Era, also was published by University of North Carolina Press, 2009. She co-edited, with R. Scott Appleby, Catholics and the American Century: Recasting Narratives of U.S. History (Cornell University Press, 2012). She also co-edited, with Timothy Matovina and Robert Orsi, Catholics in the Vatican II Era: Local Histories of a Global Event, published in 2017 with Cambridge University Press. She is also the editor of Roman Sources for the Study of American Catholicism, 1763-1939, a guide to 59 archival repositories in Rome and at the Holy See (Notre Dame University Press, 2018). From 2020-2022, Cummings directed the Cushwa Center’s project “Gender, Sex, & Power: Toward a History of Clergy Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church.” Cummings served as the president of the American Catholic Historical Association in 2017.
Cummings teaches classes on the history of women, Catholicism, sanctity, and American religion at the University of Notre Dame. In 2021, she received Notre Dame’s Sheedy Excellence in Teaching award, presented annually to an outstanding teacher in the College of Arts and Letters who motivates and enriches students using innovative and creative teaching methods that influence learning within the department, College, and University. She was the 2021 winner of the Sheedy Award for Excellence in Teaching. In addition to directing the Cushwa Center, Cummings presently oversees the Conference on the History of Women Religious, an academic organization devoted to the historical study of Catholic sisters. Cummings often serves as a media commentator on contemporary events in the Church. She appeared on NBC’s live coverage of the conclave in March 2013, the canonization of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII in April 2014, and the papal visit to the United States in September 2015. She is frequently quoted in the New York Times and other media outlets on a variety of Catholic subjects. In fall 2022, Cummings served as the Teilhard de Chardin Fellow at the Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Tradition at Loyola University Chicago.