Friday, 15 March 2019

The Archdiocese of Toronto on the World Wide Web

 "...Now we have the Internet. The content of what we wish to tell remains the same: Jesus Christ and his Church."

These were the words of Cardinal Ambrozic when the Archdiocese of Toronto officially launched its first website back in 1999.

March 12th of this week marked the 30th anniversary of the World Wide Web and Tim Berners-Lee first model of a hyperlinked, global information system. We thought it would be a fun opportunity to take a look back at the history of our online presence.

The Archdiocese of Toronto announced its website on December 16, 1999. In the press release announcing its launch, the Archdiocese described how "offers visitors not only information on the parishes, social and other services, [but also] public statements and activities of the Archdiocesan community."

Here is what first looked like: Home page, 1999-mid 2000s

Captured on June 2004 by the Internet Archive

The website got a much needed update in 2006: Home Page, 2006-2013

Captured January 2010 by the Internet Archive

And another in 2013: Home Page, 2013-2015

Captured October 2013 by the Internet Archive

And was most recently updated in 2015: Home Page, 2015-present

Captured June 2015 by the Internet Archive

The screenshots of our past websites were all taken from The Internet Archive Wayback Machine. The Internet Archive has saved 496 times between October 13, 1999 and March 15, 2019. You can learn more about how the Internet Archive works, and the services they provide, here.

Here's to 30 more years of the World Wide Web!

Friday, 8 March 2019

A Woman's Role in 1930s Toronto

For well over a century, March 8th has been celebrated as International Women's Day. Since 1911, this day has brought attention to women's struggle for equality and celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

Each year, IWD selects a year-long campaign theme that highlights how we can continue to strive for complete equality amongst men and women. With 2019's theme being Balance for Better, the campaign focuses on achieving a more gender-balanced world. This includes a gender-balanced workplace, a gender-balance in wealth, and a gender-balanced government.

Campers at Marygrove Camp for Girls in Penetanguishene, Ontario.
Photograph taken by Rev. John J. Kelly

Msgr. Jean Marie Castex of St. Ann's Parish established the camp exclusively for underprivileged girls. Over the years it developed into one of the best-equipped, best-run camps in the province.

Rev. John J. Kelly Fonds
PH 73/51P

To appreciate how far we've come, let's jump back 80-90 years. With the stock market crash in 1929, the 1930s were marked with great economic struggle. The Toronto Civic Unemployment Office and Central Bureau for Unemployment Relief was created in 1930, and in 1932 the Public Welfare Department began finding jobs for the unemployed through relief work. By 1933, the unemployment rate for Torontonians reached 30%. Within the Archdiocese, the Catholic Adjustment Bureau was created specifically for unemployed Catholics, with Rev. Michael John McGrath leading as its Director.

Rev. Michael John McGrath

Photograph Collection
PH 24MC/32P

At the same time, the 1930s brought better employment opportunities for women in female-dominated occupations and many women became the primary breadwinners for their families. In her book, Breadwinning Daughters: Young Working Women in a Depression-Era City, 1929-1939, Katrina Srigley examines how young women were central to the labour market and family economies in Toronto during this time.

This shift in gender roles challenged the stereotypes of men being the sole providers and women remaining home to care for the children. While many women enjoyed this independence and economic responsibility, it left many men feeling ashamed for not being able to provide for their families. In the context of the time, this shift was quite jarring for society.

As a response, Rev. Michael John McGrath anonymously wrote to the editor of the Globe and Mail proposing a solution:

A letter of the Rev. Michael J. McGrath (signed "student") to the Globe and Mail suggesting that married female wage-earners resign their jobs in favour of unemployed men who have families to support.

June 16, 1939

James C. Cardinal McGuigan Fonds
MG SO06.126

It was news to me that many states in the U.S. enacted legislation during the 1930s that removed married women from competitive gainful employment.

Now, let's jump to today. International Women's Day gives us a chance to celebrate women and our changing attitudes about their role in the world. IWD is celebrated at the Vatican and marked with a number of events sponsored by various groups looking to bring women's voices to the forefront. Last year, the Vatican called for more gender equality in the Church, specifically at the Vatican level. Pope Francis has spoken out against the continuing marginalization of women, and recognizes that a more gender-balanced world is a better world overall.

From the women at the Archives of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto, we wish you a Happy International Women's Day!

Friday, 1 March 2019

O Blessed Joseph

March is here! Today I learned that Pope Leo XIII dedicated this month to St. Joseph, whose feast day is March 19th, in his 1889 encyclical Quamquam Pluries.  

St. Joseph was special to Canada from the earliest days of the Recollect missionaries: they chose him as the patron of New France. From the chapel at Fort Ste. Marie to today's parishes and schools, many places in the Archdiocese of Toronto have been named after St. Joseph.

St. Joseph Chapel - Ste Marie Among the Hurons

S. Somerville, 1982

PH 31S/207SK

ARCAT Photograph Collection

St. Joseph's Parish in Leslieville was erected in 1878 and the first church was dedicated in 1886.

St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, Leslie Street


B 6-8c

Baldwin Collection, Toronto Public Library

The Sisters of St. Joseph have a long history of serving the people of the Archdiocese of Toronto. They had a convent on Wellesley Street from 1863.

St. Joseph's Convent, Wellesley Street



Baldwin Collection, Toronto Public Library

The first St. Joseph's in Highland Creek, Scarborough, was completed as a mission church in 1856:

St. Joseph's Church, Highland Creek


PH 075/01P

ARCAT Photograph Collection

St. Joseph's Church in Streetsville, Mississauga was consecrated in 1858:

St. Joseph's Church, Mississauga


PH 152/51P

ARCAT Photograph Collection

Beaverton also has a St. Joseph's since the 1850s:

St. Joseph's Church, Beaverton


PH 129/01CP

ARCAT Photograph Collection

The Sisters of St. Joseph founded St. Joseph's Hospital in 1921 on the site of their west-end orphanage:

St. Joseph's Hospital


PH 92S/01CP

ARCAT Photograph Collection

One among many schools named for St. Joseph, the high school in Barrie was first opened in a former Sisters of St. Joseph convent in 1946. Go Jags! 

St. Joseph's High School, Barrie


PH 28S/20P

ARCAT Photograph Collection

Clearly St. Joseph has had an influence on the Archdiocese of Toronto! This month, we can say Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St. Joseph:
To thee, O blessed Joseph, we have recourse in our affliction, and having implored the help of thy thrice holy Spouse, we now, with hearts filled with confidence, earnestly beg thee also to take us under thy protection. By that charity wherewith thou wert united to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, and by that fatherly love with which thou didst cherish the Child Jesus, we beseech thee and we humbly pray that thou wilt look down with gracious eye upon that inheritance which Jesus Christ purchased by His blood, and wilt succor us in our need by thy power and strength.
Defend, O most watchful guardian of the Holy Family, the chosen off-spring of Jesus Christ. Keep from us, O most loving Father, all blight of error and corruption. Aid us from on high, most valiant defender, in this conflict with the powers of darkness. And even as of old thou didst rescue the Child Jesus from the peril of His life, so now defend God's Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity. Shield us ever under thy patronage, that, following thine example and strengthened by thy help, we may live a holy life, die a happy death, and attain to everlasting bliss in Heaven. Amen.

Friday, 22 February 2019

The Venerable Cardinal Mindszenty

The cause for Cardinal Mindszenty's canonization advanced last week as the Vatican officially named him Venerable.

József Cardinal Mindszenty (29 March 1892 – 6 May 1975) was leader of the Catholic Church in Hungary. He held the titles of Prince Primate, Archbishop of Esztergom, and Cardinal at the time of his arrest in December 1948 by the Communist government of Hungary .  He was sentenced to life in prison as an enemy of the state, which was a significant turning point in his decades long struggle for religious and democratic freedom in Hungary.
Cardinal Mindszenty would visit Toronto twice, once in 1947 during his trip to Canada for the Marian Congress, and once during a North American tour in 1973.
We have quite a few files on Cardinal Mindszenty, his visits to Canada, and his arrest. The documents include photographs, newsclippings, ephemera, and correspondence between Cardinal Mindszenty and our Ordinaries at the time of his arrest and exile, Cardinal McGuigan and Archbishop Pocock. Below are a few items that resonated with me:
Cardinal Mindszenty celebrates Mass with Toronto's Hungarian faithful at St. Elizabeth of Hungary parish, 1947.

PH 35M/09P

Prayers for the Persecuted leaflet that was distributed soon after the Cardinal's arrest in 1948.

This leaflet uses a dramatic shade of red, which is now associated with Communism. Red is used here as the colour of the Cardinalate and to symbolize the blood of martyrs.

MG SP24.29b  
"They will send you before the Tribunals (Mark 13:9)" Our Lady of the Cape, March 1949

This issue is dedicated almost entirely to Cardinal Mindszenty, describing his life, his visit to Canada and the significance of his arrest.

MG SP24.32
You can also catch glimpses of the Cardinal at the Marian Congress in the video footage we posted last month.

Friday, 15 February 2019

The Family Bible

On Monday February 18th, we celebrate Family Day. Schools will remain closed from the weekend, most people get the day off work, and families of all definitions are encouraged to get together just for the sake of it.

Whether it's accepting donated items from the relatives of clergy members or finding Sacramental Records for soon-to-be-married couples, here at ARCAT we encounter the concept of family in a number of ways. One way in particular is through the multitude of genealogy requests we receive. Genealogy is the study of family history and requires the searcher to trace a family's lineage through oral histories, historical records, and other records that shed light on a person's ancestry.

Sacramental Records such as marriage certificates prove to be a rich resource for genealogists, along with birth and death certificates from government archives. However, mandatory government-implemented vital records registration only traces its roots back to the 19th century. In Canada, the Census and Statistics Act was first passed in 1847, providing for a decennial census and the registration of births and deaths. Legislation enforcing the registration of these life events with civil authorities was passed by various provinces between 1864-1905.

For vital records that pre-date mandatory vital records registration, where might a genealogist search for proof of lineage? The answer for many genealogists is the Family Bible.

Prior to the 20th century, the Family Bible was a staple in households and acted as the official place for a family's vital records. These books were often given as gifts to married couples or passed down through generations, allowing members to record their marriage, births of children, family deaths, and other vital family events. These sections for family history were found either at the back of the bible or in between the first and second testament.

Enjoy three family bibles from our collection:

1. The Holy Bible (Family Bible), published in Philadelphia by John E. Potter and Company.

The Holy Bible (Family Bible). Philadelphia: John E. Potter and Company. (Appropriation of Archbishop James F. Wood of Philadelphia).

1883 or earlier

Special Collections: Rare Books

Page for Marriage Certificate

Special Collections: Rare Books

Pages for births

Special Collections: Rare Books

Pages for deaths and marriages

Special Collections: Rare Books

Pages for family portraits

Special Collections: Rare Books

Bonus genealogical resource! Note Adam is listed first as 'created'.

Genealogy of the Patriarchs

Special Collections: Rare Books

2. The Holy Bible Translated from the Latin Vulgate, published in New York by D & J Sadlier.

The Holy Bible Translated from the Latin Vulgate. New York: D & J Sadlier. (Appropriation of Right Reverend Dr. Hughes, Bishop of New York).

Mid-19th Century

Special Collections: Rare Books

Pages for family records - annotations by previous owner

Special Collections: Rare Books

Names and news clipping recorded under 'Deaths'

"MACMILLAN. - On January 24th., at Tarbolton, Co. of Carleton, Ont., at the age of 101 years, Mary MacMillan, relict of the late John MacMillan, of Glengarry, for many years and elder of the Scots Church Lochiel. Mrs. MacMillan was a native of Lochaber, Scotland. She immigrated with her husband to Canada in 1791, at the age of 22 years. Of her 15 children, 8 survive her; the eldest being 80 years of age. She leaves 138 grand, and 185 great grandchildren. Mrs. MacMillan was aunt to the late Mr. McDonald, of the Montreal Transcript."

Special Collections: Rare Books

15 children, 138 grandchildren and 185 great-grandchildren. Can you imagine?!

"Died at Alexandria on the 31st of September after a lingering and painful illness.
Catherine McDonald, a native of Glasgow, Scotland but a resident of Glengarry since 1815.
Deceased was a sister of the late Donald McDonald (Proprietor Montreal Transcript) widely known in this city."

Special Collections: Rare Books

List of names

Special Collections: Rare Books

Bonus leaf from the family tree...

Pressed leaf found within the pages

Special Collections: Rare Books


3. The Devotional Family Bible with Practical and Experimental Reflections on Each Verse of the Old and New Testament, and Rich Marginal References, published in London & New York by George Virtue.

The Devotional Family Bible with Practical and Experimental Reflections on Each Verse of the Old and New Testament, and Rich Marginal References. London & New York: George Virtue. 2 volume set.

ca. 1880

Special Collections: Rare Books

Page for family record - marriages

Special Collections: Rare Books

Pages for births and deaths

Special Collections: Rare Books

Page for births - close up on illustrations

Special Collections: Rare Books

Page for miscellaneous - close up of illustrations

Special Collections: Rare Books

Friday, 8 February 2019

Record of the Week: The Late Pope Pius IX

On February 7th, 1878, Pope Pius IX died. Archbishop Lynch saved the February 16th issue of Canadian Illustrated News commemorating the late pontiff:

The Late Pope Pius IX.

February 16th, 1878

L AJ01.01
Archbishop Lynch Fonds

Pope Pius IX Fast Facts:
  • He was history's longest serving Pope, from June 16th, 1846 to February 7th, 1878.
  • He was the last sovereign of the Papal States, which were seized by the Kingdom of Italy over several years ending in 1870.
  • He was known as 'Pio Nono.'
  • He convened the First Vatican Council, which defined Papal Infallibility.
  • He defined the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
  • He brought rail service to the Papal States, and his private rail cars are on display in Rome.
  • He raised Toronto to a metropolitan see in 1870, making Bishop Lynch an Archbishop. 
  • He created 17 dioceses in Canada.  
  • He was the first pope to be formally photographed.
  • He suffered from epilepsy.
  • He was beatified September 3rd, 2000, by Pope Saint John Paul II. 
Read the article inside the newspaper about Pope Pius IX here.

Friday, 1 February 2019

A Day for Rest and a Day for Football

Watching the Super Bowl is an annual tradition for many of us, and Sunday Night Football is such a part of our weekly routine, that it might come as a surprise to hear that Ontario banned commercialized sports on Sundays until well into the twentieth century.

Blue Laws  were a way for governments to restrict work, trade, and leisure on Sundays, which for Christians is the day set aside for worship and rest. These types of laws were common throughout North America and Europe. In Canada, Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier introduced the Lord’s Day Act. The act passed in 1907 and prohibited sport, entertainment and most commerce on Sundays, ensuring that most businesses close for the day.

In 1950, Toronto held a referendum to determine if the law should change to allow for commercialized sports on Sundays. The proposed change was pretty controversial in its day; citizens formed groups lobbying for the restrictions to remain in place. Cardinal McGuigan voiced support for the Lord's Day Alliance and the Toronto Citizens Committee Opposing Commercialized Sunday Sports. As you can see in the pamphlet below, most of the arguments against Sunday Sports are based solely on religious beliefs.

"Read what Prominent Citizens have to say...they all say NO!"
Leaflet against Sunday Sports, c. 1949
MG PO05.14c
Cardinal McGuigan Fonds

We have a couple of letters addressed to the Cardinal that show not all Toronto Catholics agreed with his viewpoint. The writer below presents some solid arguments as to why commercialized sports wouldn't demoralize Canada.

Letter to Cardinal McGuigan, December 6, 1949.

MG PO05.15d

Cardinal McGuigan Fonds

In the end, Toronto voted to allow sports on Sundays, however other areas of the Lord's Day Act would be upheld until the 1960s and even the 1980s.

If you're wondering where the Church stands on Sunday sports now, Pope Francis made a statement indicating they were approved as long as they did not prevent you from attending mass.