Friday, 28 October 2016

The Archbishop of Toronto Advises Parents to Protect Their Children From Diphtheria

The leaves are changing, the temperatures are cooling down, and once again it's time to get your flu shot. The seasonal influenza vaccination has been promoted for many years by public health agencies in order to lessen the impacts of the illness on individuals and on the country.

In the 1920s and 1930s, health officials were working to eradicate another disease: diphtheria. Diphtheria is a contagious bacterial disease that primarily affects the upper respiratory system and kills 5-10% of those who contract it, primarily children. The bacteria that causes the disease was first identified in 1883. By the 1890s, an antitoxin was developed which was able to treat the illness. However, the cure wasn't always available or affordable. There were situations when doctors were forced to make tough decisions if sufficient quantities of antitoxin were unavailable, or when there was a race against time to deliver it to remote locations.  A preventive solution was needed.

Starting in 1923, a vaccine known as Toxoid was developed at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. The University of Toronto's Connaught Antitoxin Laboratories, which had been producing the antitoxin, was the first to field test the vaccine and establish its effectiveness. By the late 1920s the campaign had started to vaccinate children.

An example of a billboard produced by the Toronto Diphtheria Committee in the early 1930s.

MN WL01.39b
Archbishop McNeil Fonds

Archbishop McNeil was asked for and gave his support along with other religious leaders. Vaccination clinics opened in three city parishes, and Archbishop McNeil published a letter urging parents to participate in the program.

"To Our Catholic Parents of Toronto:

"In Safeguarding children of pre-school age from the danger of diphtheria many agencies are co-operating with the Department of Public Health. This dread disease is not now nearly as common as it was a few years ago because means have been found to do for it what vaccination did for smallpox.

"In the case of Diphtheria the preventive treament (Toxoid) is harmless and painless. Three visits to a clinic, at intervals of three weeks, suffice. God has blessed your homes with children and placed on you the duty of care for their health and lives.

"I therefore advise you to avail yourselves of the opportunity to protect them against the dangers of diphtheria by taking them to one or other of the places named on next page. Millions of young children have been inoculated against diphtheria throughout the world and it is known to be without risk.

Invoking the blessing of God on their young lives,

Neil McNeil, Archbishop of Toronto."

1 November 1933
MN WL04.201b
Archbishop McNeil Fonds

Due to vaccination and education efforts, by the mid 1930s, incidence of and deaths from diphtheria decreased significantly. In Toronto, 1929 saw 1022 cases and 64 deaths, but in 1933 there were only 56 cases and 5 deaths.

Diphtheria cases and deaths in Toronto, 1929-1933.

MN WL01.39a
The World Health Organization reports that in 2015 there were only 3 cases of diphtheria in all of Canada. 

For more about the history of diphtheria in Canada, view the Canadian Museum of Healthcare's online exhibit on Vaccines and Immunization.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Sweet Smell of Success: Senator Frank P. O'Connor

On October 20, 1913, the first Laura Secord Candy Store opened at 354 Yonge St. To celebrate this delicious occasion, this week’s blog is dedicated to the founder of Laura Secord, Frank P. O’Connor. O’Connor named his store after the woman known for her courageous efforts to warn the British of an impending American attack one hundred years earlier during the War of 1812. Over subsequent years, O’Connor opened many locations across Canada and the US, where it was known as Fanny Farmer Candy Stores. This business venture made him a multimillionaire.
Portrait of Senator Frank P. O'Connor

PH 09/44P

A man of little fanfare, O’Connor was also known for his philanthropy. In the 1920s, he donated $125,000 to St. Michael’s College for their building fund. In August 1935, he gifted $500,000 to the Archdiocese of Toronto, which was put into a trust fund administered by Cardinal McGuigan. This money paid off the entire debt of the Archdiocese and supported a number of charities around the city.

Letter from Abp. Arthur Alfred Sinnott of Winnipeg to Abp. McGuigan about O'Connor's gift
August 12, 1935

MG FA01.29

Prime Minister W. L. Mackenzie King appointed O’Connor to the Senate in November 1935, where he represented the senatorial division of Scarborough Junction. An honour of a different kind came two years later when O'Connor was made a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Gregory the Great.

Letter from O'Connor to Fr. John V. Harris, Chancellor
May 13, 1937

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Most. Rev. Antoniutti, Apostolic Delegate to Canada, with Senator O'Connor
ca. 1938

Photograph by Frederick William Lyonde

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Senator O’Connor became ill in 1938. He moved to Florida to convalesce in early 1939 before returning to Toronto in the spring. Unfortunately, his health did not improve sufficiently to allow him to attend many events.

Telegram from Abp. McGuigan to Senator O'Connor
June 25, 1939

MG SP26.15A

Senator O’Connor was a sincere, generous, and very well-respected man. He died in his Toronto home, Maryvale, on August 21, 1939.

Letter from Senator A.C. Hardy to Abp. McGuigan after Senator O'Connor's funeral
August 28, 1939

MG SP26.16

Friday, 14 October 2016

Cancellarius in Spiritualibus, Cancellarius in Temporalibus

In a busy Archdiocese like Toronto, there is a lot of administrative work to do. Issues big and small arise and need to be handled. The Archbishop can't do it all himself, so he has his auxiliary Bishops, vicars, and chancellors.

As mandated by Canon Law, the role of the chancellor is primarily record keeping:

"Canon 482 §1 In each curia a chancellor is to be appointed, whose principal office, unless particular law states otherwise, is to ensure that the acts of the curia are drawn up and dispatched, and that they are kept safe in the archive of the curia."

Historically, it has been the chancellor's job to ensure that the records and acts of the curia are properly preserved and maintained. He is therefore responsible for the archives. He also serves as a notary to authenticate documents originating from the curia.

Toronto has had over 30 chancellors since 1863. Many of the priests who served as chancellor have become auxiliary bishops as well as bishops of other dioceses. Two of Toronto's current auxiliaries, Bishop Nguyen and Bishop Boissonneau have previously served as chancellor. 

The first known chancellor in Toronto, Fr. Jean-Francois Jamot, was appointed by Archbishop Lynch in 1863. He went on to become Vicar Apostolic of Northern Canada in 1874, and was appointed the first Bishop of Peterborough in 1882.

Jean-Francois Jamot in attendance at the First Provincial Council of Toronto as Bishop of Peterborough.

PH 04/10P
ARCAT Photograph Collection

"August 26th, 1863. Very Rev Father Jamot, Dean of Barrie, was made pastor of the Cathedral, and Chancellor of the Archdiocese."

From the Acta of Archbishop Lynch
L AA05.172
Archbishop Lynch Fonds
The early chancellor dealt with all kinds of records: financial, property, sacramental, canonical. 

"Toronto: Accounts of Cathedraticum, dispensations, propagation & ecclesiastical education. Monies Received."

Fr. Jamot's record notebook, 1863-1873.
HO 03.20
ARCAT Holograph Collection

Inside Fr. Jamot's Notebook.

HO 03.20
ARCAT Holograph Collection

Over time, as the archdiocese grew, the job got too big for one person. The position of vice-chancellor was used, as well as the positions of chancellor in spiritualibus and chancellor in temporalibus.

Presently, we have a Chancellor of Spiritual Affairs, and a Chancellor of Temporal Affairs. The Chancellor of Spiritual Affairs is responsible for the archives. He is charged with ensuring that sacraments are properly recorded. It is through his mandate that we inspect and microfilm parish sacramental registers and advise parishes on their correct keeping. He is in charge of dispensations and faculties, and of keeping and ensuring that the laws and norms of the archdiocese are followed. He ensures that the archdiocese and its priests act in accordance with the laws of the Church. He must be an expert in both canon law and theology.

In Toronto, the Chancellor of Temporal Affairs is a lay person. He is in charge of administering the temporal goods of the church. He oversees the departments that deal with finances, investments, personnel, properties, and legal matters. He must be an expert in the world of business administration.

Having these two chancellors allows the archbishop and the bishops to work on the big picture questions like the direction of the archdiocese. You know what they say! Behind every great bishop is a great chancellor.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Your Chance to #AskAnArchivist

Wednesday, October 5th, was Ask An Archivist Day. It allowed anyone with a Twitter account the opportunity to ask archives-related questions with the hashtag #AskAnArchivist. Archivists from a number of archives would monitor the questions and reply accordingly.

Archivists are contacted regularly by researchers with all sorts of inquiries, and the Archives of the Archdiocese of Toronto is no different. Many researchers are looking for information for their books or theses. Subjects include but are certainly not limited to religious orders, Catholic education, immigrant populations (Irish, Italian, Polish, etc.), biographies, Toronto history, and cemeteries. Here are a handful of documents that have been found for researchers at this archives.

Copy of a letter to Angus MacDonnell from Bishop Power, December 11, 1844,
in which he mentions a petition of some people in Toronto about the school system

P AA10.06

Letter to the Press from Abp. Lynch on the state of Ireland,
  published in the "Irish Canadian" of February 15, 1883

L AE06.28

Letter to Abp. McNeil from Catherine de Hueck, July 23, 1931

MN AP02.164

Letter from Frances Teresa Ball, the Reverend Mother Superior of Loretto, to Bishop Power, July 20, 1847

Religious Order fonds, Sisters of Loretto (I.B.V.M.), General Correspondence, 1816-1849

Letter from Abp. McEvay to Sir Wilfrid Laurier, June 20, 1908,
in which he talks about Toronto
ME AA02.26

Please visit Twitter here if you'd like to see what archivists got up to on Ask An Archivist Day this year.