ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Franciscan Friars long have had a presence in the Southwest.
Now their papers, photos, collections of Navajo rugs and pottery, as well as other historical artifacts, will have a permanent home in Albuquerque.
A new 5,000-square-foot archive, in Bernalillo County’s South Valley, is intended to showcase the work and accomplishments of Franciscans in New Mexico and Arizona, said the Rev. Jack Clark Robinson, minister provincial of the Franciscan Friars of Our Lady of Guadalupe Province.
Franciscans in the modern era arrived here in 1898 and have acquired an institutional memory of the Hispanic and Native American people across a vast area of the two states, Robinson said.
“The memories aren’t just our memories,” he said. “Our memories contain a lot of the memories of people in the Southwest with whom we have worked.”
Robinson led a tour Monday of the archive and a nearby 6,100-square-foot retreat center at the Franciscans’ compound on Lakeview Road SW. The $2 million project features a reading room, walk-in refrigerators for perishable materials and ample space for materials collected by more than 100 Franciscans who have lived and worked in the Southwest.
The archive is named “A Becoming Place” from the writing of St. Francis of Assisi, who urged followers to gather worthy writings and place them in “a becoming place.” The archive will be open to academic researchers and scholars exploring the history of New Mexico and Arizona.