Wednesday, 31 December 2014

On the sixth day of Christmas, ARCAT stored for me…

...six pairs of buskins,

Textiles Special Collection, TX.106a-f

Buskins are ceremonial liturgical stockings traditionally made of silk.  They are worn by the celebrant of a Pontifical Mass, which follows the Extraordinary Form. Buskins can be worn with episcopal sandals (low slipper-like footwear) or over regular socks and with dress shoes. They match the liturgical colour of the chasuble worn by the bishop or pope. These six pairs of buskins belonged to James Cardinal McGuigan.

five golden rings,

four photographs,

three mitres,

two maniples,

and a pen used to vote at Conclave.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

On the fifth day of Christmas, ARCAT stored for me…

...five golden rings,

Artifacts Special Collection, AF.362, AF.103, AF.354, 2014-004, AF.095

We decided not to get too creative with the lyrics today!

Bishops' rings are considered collective property of the Church. ARCAT stores episcopal rings for the current archbishop, who inherits the previous ordinary's ring collection, in trust, on behalf of the Church. Clockwise from top:

  • Cardinal’s ring, belonged to G. Emmett Cardinal Carter.  Crucifixion scene, with the Madonna and St. John depicted at the foot of the Cross.  When a bishop is elevated to the Sacred College of Cardinals, he receives a Cardinal's ring from the Pope, which replaces his Bishop's ring.  All cardinals elevated under the same pontificate receive identical rings; this is the design issued by Pope John Paul II.
  • Second Vatican Council ring, given to Most. Rev. Philip Pocock while he was Co-adjutor Archbishop of Toronto. Gift from Pope Paul VI in 1965 to all the prelates who had attended the ecumenical council.  The ring is pointed at the top like a mitre. Depicted are three arched niches: Christ in the centre; St. Peter on the left; St. Paul on the right.
  • Episcopal ring, belonged to James Cardinal McGuigan. This large amethyst ring was given to the Cardinal by the Basilian Fathers after he was elevated to the Sacred College of Cardinals in 1946. His coat of arms can be seen on the side, in rose gold.
  • Bishop's ring, belonged to Aloysius Cardinal Ambrozic.  The stone is a garnet. Engraved and enameled around the stone are the Greek words "ΚΥΡΙΟΣ ΙΗΣΟΥΣ" meaning Jesus is Lord. This is considered one of the earliest professions of faith in Jesus Christ and was adopted as Cardinal Ambrozic's personal motto. The Latin translation, Jesus est Dominus, appears on his coat of arms.
  • Bishop's ring, belonged to Auxiliary Bishop of Toronto, Pearse Lacey, and Bishop Kidd of London before him.  It is unusual because it has a shell cameo of the Madonna rather than a gem stone. We received this ring after Bishop Lacey died in April of this year. The ring's history was described in a previous post.  

four photographs,


two maniples,

and a pen used to vote at Conclave.

Monday, 29 December 2014

On the fourth day of Christmas, ARCAT stored for me…

...four photographs,

Photographs Special Collection: PH0002/05P; PH65/331CP; PH24F/21P; PH31P/227AL(35)

While we have more than 6,000 photographs stored in the archives, these four represent significant 2014 anniversaries.  Our most common requests for photographs result from anniversary celebrations. Clockwise from top:
  • All Saints Parish, Etobicoke, turned 50 years old this year. Photo of the church's ground breaking ceremony shows Rev. Martin O'Grady with a shovel while Auxiliary Bishop Francis Allen looks on.
  • We marked 30 years since John Paul II visited the Archdiocese of Toronto during the first Papal Visit to Canada.  The Pope was also canonized this past year. Photo of the pontiff disembarking a military helicopter in Midland, Ontario.
  • Msgr. Vincent Foy celebrated 75 years of ordination to the priesthood in June.  He is the first priest of the archdiocese to reach this milestone. Photographic portrait taken in 1964.
  • The construction of St. Ann's Church, Toronto, was completed a century ago. The first Mass was celebrated by Archbishop McNeil on the feast of St. Ann, July 26, 1914. This photo was taken as part of an archdiocesan property survey in 1914. Piles of construction material and debris can be seen in front of the building.

three mitres,

two maniples,

and a pen used to vote at Conclave.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

On the third day of Christmas, ARCAT stored for me…

...three mitres,

Textiles Special Collection, TX.97, TX.92 and TX.82

A mitre is a tall folding cap, consisting of two flat, peaked parts sewn together at the sides. Two fringed lappets always hang down from the back.  It is worn over the zucchetto and removed for prayer. Mitres are the reserved headdress of bishops. There are three types of mitres as shown above:
  • pretiosa (precious): decorated with precious stones and gold and worn on solemn feast days;
  • auriphrygiata (gold): plain gold cloth or white silk with gold, silver or coloured embroidered bands; usually worn by bishops when they preside at the celebration of the sacraments and for private functions;
  • simplex (simple): undecorated, white linen or silk with red fringes on the lappets. Cardinals vested in the presence of the Pope wear a mitre of white damask, such as the one above.
These mitres belonged to Cardinal Carter and Cardinal Ambrozic.

two maniples,

and a pen used to vote at Conclave.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

On the second day of Christmas, ARCAT stored for me...

...two maniples:

Textiles Special Collection, TX.65b and TX.77

A maniple is a piece of liturgical vesture worn over the left forearm of the priest or deacon during Mass. It has two strings to tie together for a secure fit. Its origin is the large handkerchief laid across the arm of Roman magistrates signifying authority and service (similar to the cloth that a maître d’ hangs over his forearm).  Following Vatican II, the maniple was considered to be unnecessary and is no longer used in common Mass.  It is still used where Latin Masses (Extraordinary Form) are celebrated. (Latin Mass is available at four parishes in the Archdiocese of Toronto)

The red maniple is made of velvet lined with silk and likely dates to the early 20th century.  The shiny fabric and slim line of the purple maniple suggests a 1960s aesthetic.  The cross decoration is framed in a mandorla, so called for its almond shape.  Maniples would have been part of a matching vestment set with a stole and chasuble or dalmatic.  The colours are indicative of the liturgical calendar.  Red (symbolizing fire, blood, sacrifice, charity, zeal and the Holy Spirit) is worn at Pentecost, Palm Sunday, and Feast Days of the Martyrs.  Purple (symbolizing repentance, sorrow, penitence, preparation) is used during Advent and Lent.

and a pen used to vote at Conclave.

Friday, 26 December 2014

On the first day of Christmas, ARCAT stored for me...

...a pen used to vote at Conclave:

Accession 2013-017

Following his participation in the most recent Papal Conclave, Archbishop of Toronto Thomas Cardinal Collins presented the archives with some souvenirs.  The cache included a blue Pilot pen and an explanatory note identifying its provenance as 
"one of the pens placed at each Cardinal's place in the Sistine Chapel in the Conclave of March 2013 that elected Pope Francis, and the one I used in voting."

[Our professional glee at receiving this artifact greatly compensated for our disappointment at learning that the conclave issued ballpoint pens instead of quills handcrafted from dove feathers of purest white.]

From Boxing Day until Epiphany, we will be marking the Twelve Days of Christmas by highlighting different objects archived at the archdiocese. (We paid special attention to making the lyrics syllabically consistent with the original tune.)

Interestingly enough, there is a Canadian and Catholic angle to this beloved and much-parodied Christmas carol.  In 1979, a Canadian hymnologist, Hugh McKellar, claimed The Twelve Days of Christmas was a catechism song to help young Catholics learn their faith at a time when practising Catholicism was criminalized in England.* For example, he proposed that the four calling (or colly) birds stood for the four gospels and the eight maids-a-milking were code for the beatitudes. 

Though there are many theories regarding variations of the song's lyrics and their symbolism, the origins of the hymn remain unknown.

*McKellar, Hugh D. "How to Decode the Twelve Days of Christmas." U.S. Catholic, December 1979.
McKellar, Hugh D. "The Twelve Days of Christmas." The Hymn, a journal of congregational song, October 1994.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

(Spiritual) Home for Christmas

It's Christmas, and we couldn't resist posting this heartwarming story about Sacred Heart Parish in King City.

A Toronto Star clipping from the parish files tells the story of what happened on February 6, 1960:

According to the parish history, the local parishioners banded together and through their generosity, a new church, as shown below, was built within a year. The first mass was held on Christmas Eve, 1960.

Sacred Heart Church as it was in 1963.
Sacred Heart Church as it was in 1963.

Even if you're not at home for the holidays, you can find a spiritual home at a church in any town, big or small, with a family ready to celebrate the birth of our Saviour with you.

Friday, 19 December 2014

"He came unto His own, and His own received Him not."

This verse, John 1:11, was chosen by Archbishop of Toronto Neil McNeil as the theme of his homily on 23 December 1917.  It was the fourth Sunday of Advent and the archbishop preached at St. Joseph's Parish, Highland Creek, and St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Toronto.

Noted on the back of the homily is when and where it was preached.
Archbishop Neil McNeil fonds, MN AR04.06
In the archives, we have the administrative papers of all of our previous ordinaries. These records often include working copies of homilies, articles, and addresses.  Drafts can be very interesting to researchers because they provide some insight into the author's thought process. For example, it's apparent that Archbishop McNeil abandoned his first theme ("There was no room for them in the inn," Luke 2:7) right off the bat.

Marginalia: "J. M. J." in the upper left corner of the first page stand for Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Archbishop Neil McNeil fonds, MN AR04.06
Marginalia can also be fascinating.  For example, the letters "J. M. J." in the upper left corner of the first page stand for Jesus, Mary and Joseph. It is common to find this notation at the top of essays and correspondence of a certain age. Catholic school children were often  taught to write J. M. J. on their page before starting their homework.

Taking time to form these letters is meant as a kind of prayer, invoking the Holy Family to inspire and oversee one's endeavours. The pious practice may also suggest a particular devotion to the Holy Family -  a physical reminder that everything one does is dedicated to J+M+J.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

A March Down Yonge Street: Archives and the Upper Canada Rebellion

At the archives we have the privilege of interacting with historical events through the documents we care for. Books tell us the broad details of history, but letters and photographs tell us how those events affected individuals.

For example, we have several documents that relate to the Upper Canada Rebellion. In 1837, a group of prominent gentlemen who did not like the way that Upper Canada was being administered decided to stage an armed takeover. On December 5th, a group of approximately 700 rebels marched south on Yonge Street from Montgomery's Tavern, which was located at the site of present-day Postal Station K, at the corner of Yonge and Eglinton. They were met and quickly turned back by a group of loyalists. A few days later, a loyalist force dispersed the rebels from the tavern.

We don't know the context of the below document, but for some reason, Bishop MacDonell received certification that Edmund Barnet served with the loyalist force and was injured. Perhaps he was an employee of the Bishop?

"I hereby certify that Edmund Barnett served as a volunteer at my gun on Yonge Street during that attack against the Rebels at Montgomery's on the 7th December last; that he is an excellent soldier; and I have every reason to believe he sustained a severe injury in the leg on the above occasion, having been jammed between the timber of the gun and the gun carriage. [Signed] James Leckie, Captain"

As we have seen in past posts, it was common for people to write to bishops for intercession on behalf of loved ones in different situations:

"My Lord, Under other circumstances I would feel some hesitation in troubling your Lordship, but on the present occasion I have taken the liberty to call your attention to a subject in which I feel particularly interested during the disturbances in December last the Magistrates of the London District found it necessary to confine in the gaol of London many whome they found were not well affected to the British Constitution. Among others a man of the name Alvaro Ladd in whose behalf I fondly hope to interest your Lordship.

"This person I have known since I first came to the London mission and I assure a more moral and uprightly man I have seldom met with. On December last he was torn from his home his wife and children, was thrown into a loathsome prison where he was left to pine as that inclement season under privations not to be mentioned. He was arraigned in March last, for treason. I was present during his trial, was convinced as most of all present were convinced that nothing was elicited during a tedious examination of witnesses to implicate him in the least. And though the judge told the jury that he did not think they could find a verdict for the crown, yet to our great surprise the jury after a short deliberation among themselves returned a verdict for the crown. A verdict which consigns to an ignominious death. An inoffensive man, bereaves a wretched wife of the means of support, and stamps the seal of infamy on the forehead of his children, forever. Though A. Ladd may have no personal claim on your Lordship’s interest, yet he has through another person. A. Ladd my Lord, is the Brother in law of Dennis O’Brien, your Lordship has met him more than once. Your Lordship must also be aware that in the House of D. O’Brien the priests of the London District have always found a house and a home. And I am certain that no priest ever experienced or stood more in need of his attention than I did. And it is for his sake that I interest your Lordship to use your influence and press Sir James McDonell to use his interest in pressing the prayer of the enclosed memorial on the Earl of Durham.

"I remain my Lord with the greatest humility your Lordship’s humble servant, Joseph Maria Burke MA"

"My Lord, Should your lordship succeed in averting from my family a calamity that will forever destroy their peace of mind, I assure your lordship, your charity will not only be not abused but that I will [lose] no opportunity to prove to your Lordship that I can be both sensible and grateful for your Lordship’s kindness. Dennis O’Brien."
Alvaro Ladd, a prominent London area merchant, was involved with a group of rebels who decided to march on Toronto from southwestern Upper Canada. This group was also quickly stopped. Ladd's arrest and trial are described by Colin Read in The Treason Trials of 1838 in Western Upper Canada (pp 106-109) which can be found in the book Canadian State Trials: Rebellion and invasion in the Canadas, 1837-1839, edited by Frank Murray Greenwood and Barry Wright. As explained by Read, Ladd escaped execution.

The University of Western Ontario Archives holds the Dennis O'Brien Fonds. O'Brien was an early merchant in London, and was a supporter of the Catholic Church in that city. He was related to Ladd through his wife's sister, to whom Ladd was married. As a Church benefactor, O'Brien was able to gain the favour of the local Pastor, who advocated for Ladd.

Through these and other documents, we are able to see a small part of  the stories in Canada's history. When combined with documents held by other archives, the story is fleshed out and given life. Like pieces of a mosaic, letters, photographs, and artifacts combine to create a picture of where we have been as a society. It is imperative to preserve these pieces to ensure that the picture remains a clear reflection of the events that made us what we are today.