Thursday, 22 February 2018

Dog Blog

Today is apparently Walk Your Dog Day. (Although your dog will not hesitate to remind you repeatedly that every day is Walk Your Dog Day).

The Chinese Year of the Dog began last week.

Alas, this blog post is going to the dogs.

Photographs Special Collection, PH24H/20P and /21CP

Photographs  of Rev. James J. G. Hayes with his first dog, a Rough Collie (left) and visiting the St. Andrews Parish Cemetery, Brechin, with his Basset Hound, "Guv'nor" (right).
Photographs Special Collection, PH18D/25CP

Cardinal Carter's love of dogs was well known and his breed of choice was the Golden Retriever. His dog, Duffy, is pictured here at Cardinal Carter's residence, ca. 1984. 

Photographs Special Collection, PH18D/25CP

Cardinal Carter's dog, Kelty, among her litter mates (above) and a photo of the town in Ireland after which she was named. 

Artifacts Special Collection, AF322a&b

Collar, leash and dog tags belonging to Cardinal Carter's dogs, Duffy and Kelty

Textiles Special Collection, TX 112a&b

Dog coats made for Cardinal Carter's dogs, Kami and Heidi, complete with decorative mitres.

Photographs Special Collection, PH 14C/28CP

Archbishop Pocock relaxes with a poodle at the cottage, ca. 1975.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Record of the Week: Lenten Regulations, 1928

In honour of the beginning of Lent, our Record of the Week is a list of Lenten Regulations issued by Archbishop McNeil in 1928.

During Lent, Catholics prepare for Easter through penance, fasting, prayer and almsgiving. These traditions can be traced back to as early as the fourth century, however how they are practiced has undoubtedly changed to reflect local needs and contemporary issues.

The regulations below specify exactly who must fast, when fasting is to be observed, and what must be abstained from, in the boundaries of the Archdiocese of Toronto.

MN AH17.08a

Archbishop McNeil Fonds

 It is interesting to compare these to the Regulations Bishop de Charbonnel issued in 1855. Reading the two side by side, there appears to be a shift in the scope of the regulations. For example, Rule 10a of the Archbishop McNeil regulations suggests some new ways the pious can observe Lent:
"Avoiding all public amusements, such as theatres, moving picture shows, dances, etc." 
You can learn more about how we observe Lent and the Easter season today through the Archdiocese of Toronto's website.

Friday, 9 February 2018

Medal Metals: Bronze, Silver, and Gold

The Olympics are here again! For the next two weeks, 2,952 athletes from around the world will compete for bronze, silver, and gold medals in 102 events in 15 disciplines such as curling, figure skating, and ski jumping.

Olympians have been receiving medals since the first modern Olympics in 1896, but the bronze, silver, and gold tradition started in 1904. The top competitors in the ancient Olympic games received an olive wreath. 

Thinking about the different medal metals made us wonder what we had in the archives made of the three. Turns out there were some interesting finds!

Let's start with third place bronze. 

This cross and chain came from the estate of Cardinal Carter. Not too much is known about it other than the fact that it has been corroding. We hope that storage in a climate-controlled environment will mitigate the damage!

ARCAT Artifacts Collection

This bronze statue was given to Cardinal Carter by the Caritas Family Association in 1995.Unfortunately the piece does not have an artist's name or mark.

ARCAT Artifacts Collection

This statue is also from the Cardinal Carter estate.

ARCAT Artifacts Collection

This figure of the crucified Christ is another from the Cardinal Carter estate. Perhaps he was fond of bronze!

ARCAT Artifacts Collection

And for something completely different, this is a bronze printer's plate of a photo of Bishop Allen.


ARCAT Artifacts Collection

Now for second-place silver:

Two silver trowels presented to Cardinal McGuigan for laying cornerstones for St. Joseph's High School in Etobicoke in 1947 and St. Michael's College in 1935.

AF020, AF021
ARCAT Artifacts Collection

This ice pitcher was presented to Archbishop Walsh on the occasion of his 25th year as a bishop by the 'pupils of Loretto Convent' in 1892. The pitcher made by the Acme Silver Company in Toronto is double walled to keep water cool. You can find it in the company's catalogue here.

AF 245
ARCAT Artifact Collection

The Ancient Order of Hibernians also presented Archbishop Walsh with a water pitcher for his jubilee, but this one is a bit fancier. It rests on a stand and tilts so that guests have an easier time handling it when it is heavy. It includes a place to rest your cup. This victorian tilting set can also be found in the catalogue listed above.

AF 247
ARCAT Artifact Collection

Apparently tilting sets were popular gifts in the latter half of the 19th century. Archbishop Walsh received this one on the 25th anniversary of his priestly ordination in 1879. Before they came to ARCAT, the two Victorian tilting sets in our collection were on display outside Cardinal Carter's office in the old chancery building downtown.

ARCAT Artifact Collection

And in first place, gold!

This gold pocket watch was presented to Cardinal Carter by Chief Julian Fantino on behalf of the Toronto Police Service in 2000.

ARCAT Artifact Collection

A pair of 10k gold Birks cufflinks belonging to Archbishop Pocock with his coat of arms.

ACC 2014-005

Another set of gold cufflinks belonging to a member of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre.

ARCAT Artifact Collection

Let's wish our Canadian athletes luck in bringing home some silver, bronze and gold!

Friday, 2 February 2018

Groundhogs, mind your own beeswax

Today is Candlemas, more commonly referred to as the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, or the Purification of the Blessed Virgin. This feast is one of the oldest on record, observed by early Christians since the 4th century A.D. in Jerusalem.

Candlemas is always celebrated on February 2nd, forty days after the birth of Christ. According to Mosaic law, a Jewish woman who delivers a male child is considered unclean for seven days following the birth and then housebound for an additional 33 days. After this time period, the mother visits the temple to be purified and present her child to the Lord and the community.

When Mary and Joseph presented Jesus at the temple, they encountered an eldery holy man, Simeon. The Holy Spirit had revealed to Simeon that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. When he held the baby Jesus, Simeon knew the prophecy was fulfilled, calling Jesus the saviour of all,
“A light to the revelation of the Gentiles and the glory of thy people of Israel." (LK 2:22-40)
Because of this allusion to Christ as the Light of the World, the tradition of blessing candles has been included in the Candlemas liturgy. During the Mass, clergy bless the candles that will be used in the church for the year, and parishioners can bring candles from home to be blessed. Candlemas officially marks the end of the Christmas season, so if the nativity scene is still up, your procrastination is vindicated!

Archbishop John Lynch fonds, LRC68.08

May 24, 1885 - An indult granted to John Lynch, Archbishop of Toronto, by the Sacred Congregation for Propagation of the Faith under Pope Leo XIII transferring the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin and the blessing of candles to the Sunday following the Feast. 

The liturgical candles blessed on Candlemas are supposed to be made of beeswax, which is mystically significant. The pure wax produced by bees symbolizes the pure flesh of Christ received from His Virgin Mother. The candles do not have to be of pure beeswax, but a majority percentage is required. The most recent decree of the Congregation of Rites (1904) determined that the paschal candle must be of beeswax in maxima parte, which has been interpreted as at least 75 percent. The percentage is not as high for other liturgical candles.

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, as the following letters demonstrate:

Archbishop Denis O'Connor fonds, ORC82.19

March 14, 1899 - A letter from the Sacred Congregation for Propagation of the Faith granting to Msgr. Neil McNeil, Vicar Apostolic of St. George's, Nfld., the faculty of using oil burning lamps for Holy Mass and other religious services in his jurisdiction since beeswax is not easily obtainable. This special consideration is granted for the duration of ten years.

Second World War series, SWGC01.98

December 19, 1942 - A letter to the Controller of Beeswax, Ottawa, from the plenary assembly of Catholic archbishops of Canada informing him that the percentage of beeswax required for liturgical candles is reduced to 51% for Mass candles and 25% for other functions of worship, in cooperation with the imposed war restrictions.

February 2nd also happens to mark the midpoint of winter between solstice and equinox. European weather lore held that if the day was sunny and clear, people could expect a long, harsh winter; if the sky was overcast, warmer weather was imminent. Hence the old English poem:

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come winter, have another flight.
If Candlemas bring clouds and rain,
Go winter, and come not again.  

In German-speaking areas, prognostication was left to the fauna. A sunny Candlemas meant that the local badger would see its shadow, foreboding a longer winter. This tradition was brought to North America by the Pennsylvania Dutch, who substituted the European badger with the local groundhog.

So today, grab your beeswax candles and check out Wiarton Willie's predictions for spring in Ontario.