Monday, 27 April 2015

What's behind the sweet suite door: Archives Open House

The Archives serve the offices of the archdiocese on a daily basis but many employees at the Catholic Pastoral Centre have no idea of what lurks behind the Archives suite door.  So we decided to invite everyone to come and see for themselves during an informal open house last Friday:

Our open house promised three things:
  • Treasures: samples of the most interesting, eye-catching or generally awe-inspiring documents and artifacts in our holdings
  • Trivia: a contest ballot that visitors could complete while wandering around the archives 
  • Treats: we made some edibles based on records in our holdings
ARCAT Director Marc Lerman (left) discusses vestments.

Bling is always a hit with visitors!
In addition to pectoral crosses and episcopal rings, there was also a benemerenti and a Companion to the Order of Canada medal on display.

In our reading room were documents such as papal bulls, the decree erecting the See of Toronto and items from the most recent papal conclave.
We loaded microfilm of an old baptismal register to be deciphered for a trivia question.

Examples of different types of black and white photos and their storage.

Examples of textual records, such as a broadsheet of The Toronto Mirror (1856), a ticker tape telegraph, greeting cards, and a note signed by Prime Minister John A. MacDonald

Visitors were encouraged to explore one of our climate controlled storerooms.  The newest addition is this wall-mounted grid that allows us to hang framed items, including archbishops' portraits, our old archdiocesan coat of arms and a limited edition crucifixion relief by Salvador Dali.

The trivia questions.  Happy to report we some very intrepid trivia hounds and three winners.

On their way out, we invited guests to help themselves to some records-inspired treats.
We made "French Kisses" (coconut and almond meringues) that were listed under Ornamented Confectionery in this 1884 banquet menu (only because we thought "Arches of Buffalo Tongues" was slightly over the top).
We also made a Cinnamon Loaf cake from the 1976 Centennial Recipe Book from St. Patrick's Parish, Schomberg.

In addition, we tried to familiarize our colleagues with some of the work we do by setting up a conservation station, a processing station, and a photography table.

Our conservation "lab" displayed various preservation tools and materials (right) as well as a humidification chamber (centre).  We have been using the chamber to soften brittle, rolled architectural drawings, so they can be flattened and stored flat (left).

At the processing station we demonstrated how contemporary records that are transferred to us are appraised, arranged, described and rehoused.
The photography table in the background is for shooting items for the Sacred Objects Exchange.

We are happy to report that the open house was a sweet suite outreach success. Our colleagues were engaged and it was fantastic opportunity for us to show off the archives!

Saturday, 18 April 2015

The Year of Consecrated Life: Franciscan Orders

This week, we are highlighting the many Franciscan orders that have been present in the Archdiocese of Toronto throughout its history.

St. Francis of Assisi is one of the most popular and well known saints. The orders that follow the example of St. Francis demonstrate a shared commitment to the values of poverty, simplicity, and self-denial. They live the Gospel in joy and hope and walk in the footsteps of Jesus with humility and charity.

Franciscan friars and religious are especially noticeable due to their distinctive habit or robes. They typically wear a brown, black or gray habit with a simple three-knotted cord which represents their vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

TX.56: Complete black/brown Franciscan habit. Includes: a) cassock; b) hood; and c) cincture. 
In researching for this post we discovered anew some Vocations posters and literature distributed by the Felician Sisters of Mississauga and the Capuchins of Mount Alverno in Orangeville. Although the items are from several decades ago, the message remains relevant.

Religious Orders fonds: Franciscan Felician Sisters (C.S.S.F.): Publications: Vocations Posters

Religious Orders fonds: Capuchins (O.F.M. Cap.): Capuchins of Central Ontario - Orangeville, Ont.: History
The following is a list of Franciscan orders who are currently sharing or have shared their missions and ministries with the Archdiocese of Toronto:

Religious Orders fonds: Franciscans (O.F.M.): Publications
from: The Franciscan Fathers of the Immaculate Conception Province: Silver Jubilee Commemoration at Saint Agnes Church Grace and Dundas Streets Toronto, Canada. 1959.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Archives Awareness Week 2015: Summerhill Then & Now

We are in the midst of Archives Awareness Week in Ontario.  To engage the staff who work at the Catholic Pastoral Centre, we decided to use this opportunity to permanently install a series of photographs in the foyer outside our office:

Outside ARCAT's office: a new permanent installation of historical photos purchased from the City of Toronto Archives.  The photos show the site of our office building and neighbourhood.

The five photographs show the current site of the Catholic Pastoral Centre at 1155 Yonge Street as it was between 1910 and 1945.  The northeast corner of Yonge Street and Shaftesbury Avenue was formerly occupied by the Rosedale Hotel. The photos also capture the surrounding streetscape, including the CPR crossing (now beside the flagship LCBO) and streetcar track extension (eventually replaced by the Yonge Street subway line).

Click the titles below to see the historical images:
Northeast corner of Yonge Street and Shaftesbury Avenue, Rosedale Hotel, 1914 (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1231, Item 1114). 
What it looks like now: 

Rosedale Hotel, ca.1945 (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 535). 
 What it looks like now: 

Yonge Street at Canadian Pacific Railway level crossing, looking north, 1910 (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 502). 
What it looks like now:  

Yonge Street track extension looking north to Shaftesbury Avenue, 1916 (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1231, Item 489).  
What it looks like now:    

Yonge Street track construction at Shaftesbury Avenue, ca. 1920 (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1231, Item 423). 
What it looks like now:  

Copies of the photographs were purchased from the City of Toronto Archives, which is home to a wealth of photographs featuring streetscapes, many of them digitized. Check out the amazing historical images of Toronto on the City's Flickr page.

So why not use your new found awareness of archives to search for photos of your street or neighbourhood through the City of Toronto Archives?

Friday, 3 April 2015

Record of the Week: Stations of the Cross

Good Friday observances usually include the Stations of Cross because they encourage the faithful to reflect, pray and mediate on the events of Christ's Passion.  Most famous, perhaps, is the televised Way of the Cross through the ancient Roman Colosseum that the Pope traces as part of his annual Good Friday devotions.

We are all familiar with Stations of the Cross found in every church and chapel - tableaux usually mounted on the walls in a sequential circuit around the walls of the nave.  So ubiquitous are these Stations that we might not give very much thought to their history. Did you know...?

  • The Stations probably evolved from the Way of the Cross or Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem.  This was the path that pilgrims were encouraged to follow during their pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
  • The development of the Via Dolorosa is often attributed to the Franciscans, after they were granted administration of the Christian holy sites in Jerusalem in 1342.
  • In the 15th and 16th centuries, seeking to replicate the Way of the Cross for pilgrims in Europe, the Franciscans laid out similar shrines or meditation stations along pilgrimage routes on the Continent.
  • The number of stations along these routes varied between 7 and 30.
  • In 1686, Pope Innocent XI granted the Franciscans the right to erect stations within their churches.  Following that, the right was extended to all churches, as long as the Stations were erected by Franciscans and with the Bishop's permission. At this time the number of Stations was fixed at fourteen.
  • Of these fourteen accepted stations, only eight are clearly founded in Scripture. Stations 3, 4, 6, 7 and 9 are not described in the Gospels.
  • To provide a version more closely aligned with the Bible, Pope John Paul II introduced a new form of devotion, the Scriptural Way of the Cross, in 1991.
  • Minimal requirements for the Stations are fourteen wooden crosses and numerals; pictures alone do not suffice.  For example, during outdoor Good Friday processions (and when the Pope processes around the Colosseum tonight), the Stations are said without any images - just temporary crosses to mark the way.
  • The devotion is also shared by Anglican and Lutheran denominations.

At the Archives, we have photographs of any least one station from each of our churches. Today, we've pulled together a full set from fourteen different parishes that exemplify the wide range of style, material, size and subject matter of the Stations of the Cross found across our Archdiocese:

1986 Parish Photographic Survey, Slide Collection, PH78 #163

I. Jesus is condemned to death
St. Paschal Baylon Church, Thornhill
2008 ARCAT Cultural Heritage Inventory Pilot Project, #084C002

II. Jesus carries his cross
St. Mary's Church, Toronto
1986 Parish Photographic Survey, Slide Collection, PH78 #49

III. Jesus falls the first time
Our Lady Queen of the World, Richmond Hill
2008 ARCAT Cultural Heritage Inventory Pilot Project, #121C004

IV. Jesus meets his mother
St. Clare of Assisi Church, Woodbridge

These Stations, painted on tiles, were created by an artist from Assisi in Italy, hometown of the parish's patroness.
1986 Parish Photographic Survey, Slide Collection, PH78 #25

V. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the cross
Holy Spirit Church, Scarborough
2008 ARCAT Cultural Heritage Inventory Pilot Project, #062C006

VI. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
St. Fidelis Church, Toronto

These Stations were made in Tanzania.
1992 Archdiocesan Sesquicentennial Calendar Project, PH76/48T

VII. Jesus falls the second time
Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto, Motherhouse Chapel at Morrow Park

These marble Stations, carved in a neoclassic style, uniquely feature a female figure in each vignette, which was specifically commissioned by the religious community of Sisters.
Photographs Collection, PH0093/50CP

VIII. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
St. Paul's Basilica, Toronto
1986 Parish Photographic Survey, Slide Collection, PH78 #7

IX. Jesus falls the third time
Blessed Trinity Church, Toronto
Photographs Collection, PH78-154/18CP

X. Jesus is stripped of his garments
St. Mary Immaculate Church, Richmond Hill

Photographs Collection, PH0055/18CP

XI: Jesus is nailed to the cross
St. Clare's Church
1986 Parish Photographic Survey, Slide Collection, PH78 #139

XII. Jesus dies on the cross
St. Margaret of Scotland Church, Toronto
Photographs Collection, PH0072-15PXIII.

Jesus is taken down from the cross

St. John Bosco, Toronto

1986 Parish Photographic Survey, Slide Collection, PH78 #22

XIV. Jesus is laid in the tomb
Holy Name Church, Toronto