Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The Year of Consecrated Life: Carmelite Orders

The Order of the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel was established around 1154 A.D. near the fountain of Elias on Mount Carmel, Israel.  The founders, after witnessing the horrors of the Crusades, retired as hermits to live a cloistered Christian life.*  The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to one of the early priors and presented him with the brown scapular - a sort of work apron - which is why Carmelite Orders wear brown habits. As the Order’s patroness, Mary is referred to as Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Carmelite Brothers and Fathers were invited to the Archdiocese of Toronto in 1875 by Archbishop Lynch. In Niagara, they built a monastery directly above the Canadian Falls. The house served as a spiritual retreat centre and became a Carmelite seminary in 1919.  In 1958, the Diocese of St. Catharines was established, separating the Niagara peninsula and the Carmelites from the Archdiocese of Toronto. However, Carmelite fathers were later invited by Archbishop Pocock back to the archdiocese to serve as pastors in Mississauga and Barrie parishes. The Mount Carmel Spiritual Centre in Niagara Falls continues to offer facilities for retreats and conferences.

Photograph courtesy of Wanita Bates, 2014

The original Carmelite monastery and seminary in Niagara Falls is now called the Mount Carmel Spiritual Centre.  It offers facilities, accomodations and services for retreats and conferences. The 2014 Catholic Archivist Group conference was held here.

Female branches of the ancient Order of Carmel have also served Toronto. After petitioning Archbishop Neil McNeil, the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus were invited to establish an orphanage and minister to Polish and Italian immigrants in the city. Upon their arrival in 1913, the archbishop drove the nuns around house hunting in his own carriage, until they decided on a place on Ossington Ave.*

Religious Order series,  Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus, Foundations 1912

Letter to Archbishop McNeil, petitioning him to allow the Carmelite Sisters "to establish our community in Toronto for the purpose of serving the Emigrants." 
Photographs Collection, Religious Orders album, PH31P-228AL, ca.1960s

Top: Carmelite Provincial Motherhouse, Novitiate and Home for the Aged in Erindale (Mississauga), purchased in 1954. 
Bottom: Children's Home at 312 Ossington Avenue, Toronto, the Sisters' first home.

In 1967, another female Order, the Carmelite Missionary Sisters of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus came to Toronto.  They continue to run the Carmelite Day Nursery.

*Archdiocese of Toronto. Walking the Less Travelled Road: A History of the Religious Communities with the Archdiocese of Toronto 1841-1991 (Toronto: Mission Press, 1993), pp. 15-20.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Papal Encyclicals of the Past

Last week, the world received a letter from Pope Francis entitled Laudato Si': On Care for Our Common Home. He wrote about our responsibility to care for the environment.

Encyclicals, which are circular letters written by the Pope, have been around in their modern form since Pope Benedict XIV began to write letters in the 1740s. The letters are written in a pastoral teaching style, and generally address the ways that the Catholic faith interacts with contemporary issues of the world at large. 

Below are a small selection of Papal Encyclicals from ARCAT's holdings:

1846 - Pope Pius IX - Qui Pluribus - On Faith and Religion
P PS28.01 
1847 - Pope Pius IX - Praedecessores Nostros - On Aid for Ireland
P PS29.01
1851 - Pope Pius IX - Exultavit Cor Nostrum - On the Effects of the Jubilee
C AK01.05
1864 - Pope Pius IX - Quanta Cura - Condemning Current Errors
L PS46.01
1894 - Pope Leo XIII - Iucunda Semper Expectatione - On the Rosary
W RC77.03  
1903 - Pope Pius X - E Supremi - On the Restoration of All Things in Christ
O RC86.04
1907 - Pope Pius X - Pascendi Dominici Gregis - On the Doctrines of the Modernists
O RC90.11 
1932 - Pope Pius XI - Caritate Christi Compulsi - On the Sacred Heart
MN PS114.01
1936 - Pope Pius XI - Vigilanti Cura - On Motion Pictures
MG PS118.01
1953 - Pope Pius XII - Fulgens Corona - On the Marian Year and the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception
MG PS135.02
1954 - Pope Pius XII - Sacra Virginitas - On Holy Virginity
MG PS136.04
1956 - Pope Pius XII - Haurietis Aquas - On Devotion to the Sacred Heart
MG PS138.01
1957 - Pope Pius XII - Miranda Prorsus - On Motion Pictures, Radio and Television
MG PS139.04
1962 -Pope Saint John XXIII - Paenitentiam Agere - On the Need for the Practice of Interior and Exterior Penance
MG PS144.02
1967 -Pope Paul VI - Populorum Progressio - This Is Progress
MG PS149.03
1968 - Pope Paul VI - Humanae Vitae - On Human Life
MG PS150.04

And just for fun, an encyclical from the office that was a precursor to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith condemning the use of magnetism in superstition, hypnotism and clairvoyance:

1856 - Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition - Adversus Magnetismi Abusus - Against the Abuse of Magnetism
C RC38.05

ARCAT holds many more Papal Encyclicals, including Pius IX's Nullis Certe, on Temporal Power and Napoleon III, Leo XIII's Quod Apostolici, which condemns socialism, and Pius XI's Mit Brennender Sorge on the state of the Church in Germany. 

Friday, 12 June 2015

Visit to lovely London, Ontario

ARCAT staff recently attended the Archives Association of Ontario conference in London, Ontario.  The theme “Do we have it RIGHT?” addressed legal issues in archives: balancing access and privacy; the rights of donors, users and third-parties; and the wonderful world of copyright.

We figured it would only be right and just to pay a visit to our fine colleagues at the Diocese of London, Cardinal Carter Library and St. Peter’s Seminary.

The Diocese of London is considered one of the suffragan sees of Toronto. It was established (along with the Diocese of Hamilton) in 1856 to accommodate the influx of Irish immigrants. However, the diocese is home to the oldest parish west of Montreal, and holds some of Ontario's earliest marriage and baptism records, starting in the 1760s. The archives are located in the recently renovated Diocesan Centre and overseen by archivist Debra Majer.

Diocesan Centre entrance with display of artifacts from the Diocese of London Archives

Inside the storeroom at the Diocese of London Archives.
The portrait depicts Bishop Michael Fallon, O.M.I., ordinary of London from 1909 to 1931.
On shelves to the right: historical parish registers containing sacramental records are stored in this central, climate-controlled location for optimal preservation. 

The Diocese of London is home to the oldest parish west of Montreal, Our Lady of Assumption Parish in Windsor.
 The diocese holds some of Ontario's earliest vital records, including this 1764 marriage record from the parish. 

The reading room at the Diocese of London Archives. A Canadian chaplain's service kit is on display.

Before Cardinal Carter became the Archbishop of Toronto, he was appointed bishop of London. The library at King's University College is named in his honour.  The Director of Libraries, Claire Callahan, showed us around the special collections and display cases featuring Cardinal Carter artifacts.

Entrance to the Cardinal Carter Library through the newly renovated Darryl J. King Student Life Centre, King's University College, University of Western Ontario.
Cardinal Carter was the Bishop of London from 1964 to 1978, prior to his appointment to Toronto.

Cardinal Carter special collections exhibit at the library.
ARCAT has loaned a few items to the library for display, including the Cardinal's pectoral cross and a mitre.

Cardinal Carter artifacts on display in the Eaton Special Collections Room.

Finally, we made our way through the verdant grounds to St. Peter's Seminary, the alma mater of our current Archbishop of Toronto, Thomas Cardinal Collins. Following a quick peek at the seminary's beautiful chapel, librarian Frances Theilade gave us a tour of the seminary's library and the small, but skillfully arranged, archives.

St. Peter's Seminary Chapel.
View of the stained glass windows and wood carving in the sanctuary.
The windows are the subject of a book and film series, Panes of Glory.

The lower potion of the chapel walls are lined with richly carved wood panels.  Pews in the choir seating are flanked with carved angels - each with an individual personality.

The A. P. Mahoney Library at St. Peter's Seminary.
This part of the library was previously the seminary cloisters, as you can see from the exposed stonework and arched doorways. The stacks are located where the courtyard used to be.
Interesting artifacts from the seminary's archives:
A papal zucchetto of Pope Pius X, given to Bishop Fallon. Popes have a custom of giving away their skullcaps if presented with a new one as a gift. 
Left: The seminary's librarian shows off brass shells from WWI that were turned into a pair of vases.
 Right: A seal worthy of the Lannisters.

 Thanks again to Deb, Claire and Frances for welcoming us to the Forest City.