Monday 26 March 2018

Exhibit Opening: Love Your Neighbour as Yourself

Last Thursday, we had the pleasure of attending the launch of Love Your Neighbour as Yourself: Catholic Social Teaching in Toronto, an exhibition at the John M. Kelly Library, University of St. Michael's College.

The evening began with a public lecture by Most Rev. Paul-André Durocher, Archbishop of Gatineau, entitled Echo Chamber or Megaphone? The Church in Canada and the Prophetic Voice of Pope Francis. Archbishop Durocher gave a brief history of Catholic Social doctrine, which is constantly enriched through the writings of the popes. Specifically, he highlighted quotes by Pope Francis on each of the seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching and also shared anecdotes from his own life and career. We were left with a sense that Catholics really are lucky to have the Church's wisdom on social issues to guide their own decisions.

At the reception that followed, we had a chance to see the exhibit for the first time:

ARCAT Staff Photo

Guests peruse the display cases during the reception.

ARCAT Staff Photo

Catholic social doctrine has its roots in scripture and the writings of the saints, such as St. Augustine and St. Francis of Assisi.
However, the Church's contemporary Catholic Social Teaching really began with the publication of Rerum Novarum, the 1891 papal encyclical by Leo XIII on the rights of workers.

This introductory case features the Kelly Library's treasured copies of Rerum Novarum.
ARCAT Staff Photo

This timeline plots the publication dates of the papal encyclicals and letters that contributed to Catholic Social Teaching. Also included are the establishment dates of the religious orders that were fundamental to education at St. Michael's College - the Basilian Fathers, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto and the Loretto Sisters.

The exhibit was curated by James Roussain, Outreach Archivist at the Kelly Library, who decided to organize content around the seven principles of Catholic Social Teaching. St. Michael's College's community partners, including the Archdiocese of Toronto, were invited to contribute brief narratives that exemplify the themes. Many of these stories highlight active ministries and programs, underscoring the fact that Catholic Social Teaching is active and relevant in the College community.

Special Collections from the Kelly Library are also featured, including material from The Henri J.M. Nouwen Archives and from the G.K. Chesterton Collection.

ARCAT Staff Photo

The theme of the case (above) is "Life and Dignity of the Human Person." ARCAT contributed archival material from ShareLife to illustrate this theme. ShareLife is the annual charitable appeal of the Archdiocese of Toronto. It was established in 1975 to ensure that Catholic fundraising would not be used to support abortion counselling and referrals.

ARCAT Staff Photo

The exhibit also includes the art pieces installed along the back wall.

ARCAT Staff Photo

This case allowed each of the participating archives to highlight individuals from their organizations whose careers particularly embodied Catholic Social Teaching.
Top left: ARCAT contributed a biography of Henry Somerville (1889-1953), an ardent socialist and Catholic journalist. With the support of Archbishop of Toronto Neil McNeil, Somerville brought the Catholic social teachings of Rerum Novarum to the attention of Canadians through his work at The Catholic Register.

Curating archivist James Roussain (Kelly Library) and Dr. James Ginther (Dean of the Faculty of Theology) with the archivists of the Loretto Sisters, Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto, Archdiocese of Toronto, and the Basilian Fathers, who contributed material to the exhibition.

You can visit the Love Your Neighbour as Yourself exhibition on the ground floor of the the John M. Kelly Library, 113 St. Joseph St., Toronto, until June 8, 2018.

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