Friday, 16 March 2018

Record of the Week: Archbishop Lynch's Boyhood Home

It's St. Patrick's Day tomorrow, so today began with the question, "what kind of records do we have about Ireland?" The answer turned out to be that we have a photo of the school where Archbishop Lynch was raised and received his early education in Lucan, County Dublin, Ireland.

One source explained: "One of the first national schools in the Lucan area was located in the Hollow. It is recorded as being independent until 1833 when it came under the control of the National Board. In 1836 110 boys and 93 girls are recorded being educated there under the auspices of Mr. James Lynch and Mrs. Anne Lynch.One of their sons and a pupil of the school, John Joseph Lynch ... became the first Roman Catholic Archbishop of Toronto, Canada. In 1864, 140 boys and 120 girls are recorded as attending this school with Elizabeth Knight as headmistress. However at this time the school is recorded to have been in a state of bad repair with a very poor supply of schoolbooks and teaching aids.The school finally closed down in 1864 and the pupils moved to two new schools in St. Mary's Church grounds. The girls' school became known as St. Anne's and is still part of the Convent building. The boys' school was Lucan Boys National School, in existence up until 1963. It then became the parish centre until 1994 when it was finally demolished to make way for new development."

"Old Schoolhouse"
Lucan, Co. Dublin
Boyhood home of Abp Lynch .
Bldg. served as his father's school house besides being the Lynch's home.
PH 04\26P

In 1851, Thom's Irish Almanac described Lucan this way:

"Lucan, an inland town and parish in Newcastle barony, Dublin county seven miles W. from Dublin comprising an area of 1,126 acres of which 33 are in the town. Population of parish l,l39, of town, 563, inhabiting 91 houses. It is situated close to the line of the Great Southern and Western Railway, of which it is the second station from Dublin, and upon the mail-coach road to Galway and Sligo. After the Conquest this place was settled on Richard de Peche, one of the early English adventurers ... The town is prettily situated in a fertile vale, on the east bank of the River Liffey, which is here crossed by bridge of one arch, with granite parapet, surmounted by iron palisades, and consists of one wide angular street of small but neat houses and cottages, most of which are let in summer to visitors and invalids. Its public buildings are, the Parish Church, a neat structure with a tower and spire, a large new Roman Catholic Chapel, and a Wesleyan Methodist Meeting House. It has a Dispensary and a Loan Fund; a Lending Library, and National Schools. It is a Chief Constabulary Police Station and Petty Sessions are held every alternate Tuesday. Lucan is noted for its chalybeate spa, and is much resorted to for its efficacy in scorbutic, bilious, and rheumatic complaints ... The scenery around Lucan is delightfully varied, and in part romantically beautiful, particularly in the grounds of Weston park, in which is the well known and much-frequented waterfall, called the "Salmon Leap;" which consists of a succession of rocky ledges on the Liffey, over which the fish dart at one bound. It forms a beautiful cascade, the picturesque effect of which is greatly increased by the rich and lofty wooded banks of the river, and the adjoining tastefully embellished demesne of the Leixlip Castle..." 

Sounds like a nice place to grow up!

You can find more photos of Lucan and area on the South Dublin County Libraries website.

P.S. You can buy your very own schoolhouse in Lucan for 600,000 euros!

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Happy International Women's Day!

Today, March 8, is International Women's Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

What better opportunity to recognize the work of the Catholic Women's League in Canada, and all that they do to bring women together and to enhance the role of women in the church.

The 41st annual convention of the Catholic Women's League.  Photograph by Sexton, 1961.

ARCAT Catholic Women's League Accession 2013-006, Box 2.

The Catholic Women's League was founded in 1906 in England and Wales. The first Catholic Women's League in Canada was established in Edmonton in 1912, with the objective to provide protection and support to women and girls, particularly those immigrants seeking work. Other women's groups were then organized across Canada modeled on the League in England.

On June 17, 1920, a meeting of all C.W.L.'s and representatives from other women's groups was held in Montreal, and the Catholic Women's League of Canada was formally established.  There are now over 1300 parish based C.W.L. councils in Canada that continue to come together every year in a national convention. The League's many accomplishments show us the strength in a united group of women.

One of C.W.L.'s many social welfare initiatives has been to help immigrants and refugees in Canada.

  OC26 T17
 Other Collections, Catholic Women's League - Toronto Diocesan Council, Special Campaigns & Projects

 In 1958 the C.W.L. Toronto Archdiocesan Council offered its members a leadership training course through St. Michael's College to help remedy a shortage of trained women leaders in the city. Just one example of how the C.W.L. created opportunities of empowerment for its members.

"Every woman owes it to herself and her organization to TRY" 

  OC26 T17
 Other Collections, Catholic Women's League - Toronto Diocesan Council, Special Campaigns & Projects

The C.W.L. continues to enrich parish communities, support spiritual growth, promote Catholic values, and advocate for social justice.

Today and everyday, let's show our thanks to all the women who contribute to the Church, both in our communities and around the world.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Thursday, February 30

We often come across letters seeking the support of the Church for various ideas. Today, we came across a letter from Elisabeth Achelis of the World Calendar Association asking bishops to advocate for a change in the way we label the days of the year. According to her obituary in the New York Times, Achelis wanted to "give the year's measuring stick the stability and permanence of the clock, the ruler, and the scale."

It makes sense that Achelis wrote to Catholic authorities; the calendar most countries use today was created by them. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII introduced what became known as the Gregorian Calendar, which replaced the Julian Calendar. The problem for any calendar designer comes from the way we divide time. Years are defined by the length of time it takes for the earth to travel around the sun once, months are defined by the phases of the moon, and days are defined by the amount of time it takes for the earth to rotate on its axis. Unfortunately, these aren't wrapped up in a nice mathematical bow. There are 365.2422 days in a year. If our calendar only accounted for the length of a day, over time the beginning of the year would drift through the seasons. 

To address this, Julius Caesar added an extra day every four years: a leap year. However, that system still allowed for a gain of three days every 400 years. For Catholics, the issue was that the date of Easter was calculated based on the spring equinox, so eventually, it would be held at a time of year that was not intended. Pope Gregory XIII fixed the problem by making it so that years evenly divisible by 100 would not be leap years unless they were evenly divisible by 400. 

However, no system is perfect, and people found issues with the Gregorian calendar. Critics point out that because days of the week don't line up consistently with dates, new calendars need to be printed every year, and holidays and schedules are always different. In 1930, Achelis proposed the World Calendar, which would always start on Sunday, January 1. It would still have 12 months, but each quarter would have three months of 31, 30, and 30 days. An extra, un-numbered day would be added outside the calendar after December 30 as a world holiday to account for the earth's trip around the sun, and in leap years a day would be added after June 30.

Despite some support and the continued existence of a group promoting it, the World Calendar has not yet caught on. The World Calendar Association - International is pushing for adoption in 2023, since that is the next year in which January 1 falls on a Sunday.

"Your Excellency:

Fra Gianfranceschi, long a leading authority in Rome on calendar reform, has suggested to this Association that we write to all the Archbishops and Bishops of the Church regarding the current proposals for a perpetual calendar and a stabilized Easter.

In following his suggestion, we are mailing you herewith a pamphlet dealing with these questions as prepared by the Reverend Edward S. Schwegler, an authority within the Church on the subject of calendar reform. This material has been published in outstanding Catholic Journals in this country and has been very favorably received.

We believe that the subject matter will interest you, and hope that your study of it may lead you to petition His Holiness, Pope Pius XI, to give this subject His earnest consideration. 

With sincerest respect and appreciation of your courtesy in this matter, we remain Sincerely yours, The World Calendar Association By Elisabeth Achelis, President.

February 26, 1934

Archbishop McNeil Fonds

MN AH23.31

For more information about the fascinating and complicated history of the calendar, check out some of these sites:

Official Site of the World Calendar Association - International
Calendars through the Ages
The Home Page for Calendar Reform
Encyclopaedia Britannica

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Dog Blog

Today is apparently Walk Your Dog Day. (Although your dog will not hesitate to remind you repeatedly that every day is Walk Your Dog Day).

The Chinese Year of the Dog began last week.

Alas, this blog post is going to the dogs.

Photographs Special Collection, PH24H/20P and /21CP

Photographs  of Rev. James J. G. Hayes with his first dog, a Rough Collie (left) and visiting the St. Andrews Parish Cemetery, Brechin, with his Basset Hound, "Guv'nor" (right).
Photographs Special Collection, PH18D/25CP

Cardinal Carter's love of dogs was well known and his breed of choice was the Golden Retriever. His dog, Duffy, is pictured here at Cardinal Carter's residence, ca. 1984. 

Photographs Special Collection, PH18D/25CP

Cardinal Carter's dog, Kelty, among her litter mates (above) and a photo of the town in Ireland after which she was named. 

Artifacts Special Collection, AF322a&b

Collar, leash and dog tags belonging to Cardinal Carter's dogs, Duffy and Kelty

Textiles Special Collection, TX 112a&b

Dog coats made for Cardinal Carter's dogs, Kami and Heidi, complete with decorative mitres.

Photographs Special Collection, PH 14C/28CP

Archbishop Pocock relaxes with a poodle at the cottage, ca. 1975.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Record of the Week: Lenten Regulations, 1928

In honour of the beginning of Lent, our Record of the Week is a list of Lenten Regulations issued by Archbishop McNeil in 1928.

During Lent, Catholics prepare for Easter through penance, fasting, prayer and almsgiving. These traditions can be traced back to as early as the fourth century, however how they are practiced has undoubtedly changed to reflect local needs and contemporary issues.

The regulations below specify exactly who must fast, when fasting is to be observed, and what must be abstained from, in the boundaries of the Archdiocese of Toronto.

MN AH17.08a

Archbishop McNeil Fonds

 It is interesting to compare these to the Regulations Bishop de Charbonnel issued in 1855. Reading the two side by side, there appears to be a shift in the scope of the regulations. For example, Rule 10a of the Archbishop McNeil regulations suggests some new ways the pious can observe Lent:
"Avoiding all public amusements, such as theatres, moving picture shows, dances, etc." 
You can learn more about how we observe Lent and the Easter season today through the Archdiocese of Toronto's website.

Friday, 9 February 2018

Medal Metals: Bronze, Silver, and Gold

The Olympics are here again! For the next two weeks, 2,952 athletes from around the world will compete for bronze, silver, and gold medals in 102 events in 15 disciplines such as curling, figure skating, and ski jumping.

Olympians have been receiving medals since the first modern Olympics in 1896, but the bronze, silver, and gold tradition started in 1904. The top competitors in the ancient Olympic games received an olive wreath. 

Thinking about the different medal metals made us wonder what we had in the archives made of the three. Turns out there were some interesting finds!

Let's start with third place bronze. 

This cross and chain came from the estate of Cardinal Carter. Not too much is known about it other than the fact that it has been corroding. We hope that storage in a climate-controlled environment will mitigate the damage!

ARCAT Artifacts Collection

This bronze statue was given to Cardinal Carter by the Caritas Family Association in 1995.Unfortunately the piece does not have an artist's name or mark.

ARCAT Artifacts Collection

This statue is also from the Cardinal Carter estate.

ARCAT Artifacts Collection

This figure of the crucified Christ is another from the Cardinal Carter estate. Perhaps he was fond of bronze!

ARCAT Artifacts Collection

And for something completely different, this is a bronze printer's plate of a photo of Bishop Allen.


ARCAT Artifacts Collection

Now for second-place silver:

Two silver trowels presented to Cardinal McGuigan for laying cornerstones for St. Joseph's High School in Etobicoke in 1947 and St. Michael's College in 1935.

AF020, AF021
ARCAT Artifacts Collection

This ice pitcher was presented to Archbishop Walsh on the occasion of his 25th year as a bishop by the 'pupils of Loretto Convent' in 1892. The pitcher made by the Acme Silver Company in Toronto is double walled to keep water cool. You can find it in the company's catalogue here.

AF 245
ARCAT Artifact Collection

The Ancient Order of Hibernians also presented Archbishop Walsh with a water pitcher for his jubilee, but this one is a bit fancier. It rests on a stand and tilts so that guests have an easier time handling it when it is heavy. It includes a place to rest your cup. This victorian tilting set can also be found in the catalogue listed above.

AF 247
ARCAT Artifact Collection

Apparently tilting sets were popular gifts in the latter half of the 19th century. Archbishop Walsh received this one on the 25th anniversary of his priestly ordination in 1879. Before they came to ARCAT, the two Victorian tilting sets in our collection were on display outside Cardinal Carter's office in the old chancery building downtown.

ARCAT Artifact Collection

And in first place, gold!

This gold pocket watch was presented to Cardinal Carter by Chief Julian Fantino on behalf of the Toronto Police Service in 2000.

ARCAT Artifact Collection

A pair of 10k gold Birks cufflinks belonging to Archbishop Pocock with his coat of arms.

ACC 2014-005

Another set of gold cufflinks belonging to a member of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre.

ARCAT Artifact Collection

Let's wish our Canadian athletes luck in bringing home some silver, bronze and gold!

Friday, 2 February 2018

Groundhogs, mind your own beeswax

Today is Candlemas, more commonly referred to as the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, or the Purification of the Blessed Virgin. This feast is one of the oldest on record, observed by early Christians since the 4th century A.D. in Jerusalem.

Candlemas is always celebrated on February 2nd, forty days after the birth of Christ. According to Mosaic law, a Jewish woman who delivers a male child is considered unclean for seven days following the birth and then housebound for an additional 33 days. After this time period, the mother visits the temple to be purified and present her child to the Lord and the community.

When Mary and Joseph presented Jesus at the temple, they encountered an eldery holy man, Simeon. The Holy Spirit had revealed to Simeon that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. When he held the baby Jesus, Simeon knew the prophecy was fulfilled, calling Jesus the saviour of all,
“A light to the revelation of the Gentiles and the glory of thy people of Israel." (LK 2:22-40)
Because of this allusion to Christ as the Light of the World, the tradition of blessing candles has been included in the Candlemas liturgy. During the Mass, clergy bless the candles that will be used in the church for the year, and parishioners can bring candles from home to be blessed. Candlemas officially marks the end of the Christmas season, so if the nativity scene is still up, your procrastination is vindicated!

Archbishop John Lynch fonds, LRC68.08

May 24, 1885 - An indult granted to John Lynch, Archbishop of Toronto, by the Sacred Congregation for Propagation of the Faith under Pope Leo XIII transferring the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin and the blessing of candles to the Sunday following the Feast. 

The liturgical candles blessed on Candlemas are supposed to be made of beeswax, which is mystically significant. The pure wax produced by bees symbolizes the pure flesh of Christ received from His Virgin Mother. The candles do not have to be of pure beeswax, but a majority percentage is required. The most recent decree of the Congregation of Rites (1904) determined that the paschal candle must be of beeswax in maxima parte, which has been interpreted as at least 75 percent. The percentage is not as high for other liturgical candles.

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, as the following letters demonstrate:

Archbishop Denis O'Connor fonds, ORC82.19

March 14, 1899 - A letter from the Sacred Congregation for Propagation of the Faith granting to Msgr. Neil McNeil, Vicar Apostolic of St. George's, Nfld., the faculty of using oil burning lamps for Holy Mass and other religious services in his jurisdiction since beeswax is not easily obtainable. This special consideration is granted for the duration of ten years.

Second World War series, SWGC01.98

December 19, 1942 - A letter to the Controller of Beeswax, Ottawa, from the plenary assembly of Catholic archbishops of Canada informing him that the percentage of beeswax required for liturgical candles is reduced to 51% for Mass candles and 25% for other functions of worship, in cooperation with the imposed war restrictions.

February 2nd also happens to mark the midpoint of winter between solstice and equinox. European weather lore held that if the day was sunny and clear, people could expect a long, harsh winter; if the sky was overcast, warmer weather was imminent. Hence the old English poem:

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come winter, have another flight.
If Candlemas bring clouds and rain,
Go winter, and come not again.  

In German-speaking areas, prognostication was left to the fauna. A sunny Candlemas meant that the local badger would see its shadow, foreboding a longer winter. This tradition was brought to North America by the Pennsylvania Dutch, who substituted the European badger with the local groundhog.

So today, grab your beeswax candles and check out Wiarton Willie's predictions for spring in Ontario.