Sisters of the Holy Family, 1917

This wonderful photo, dating back to 1917, shows the community that Henriette Delille founded. The caption reads: “COLORED SISTERS OF THE HOLY FAMILY. The Holy Family Convent at New Orleans has eight Catholic schools in Louisiana and two in Texas. The students are taught Industrial Art, Embroidery, Music, etc., and become very efficient.” [Read more...]

Henriette Delille, African-American Foundress

As Black History Month comes to a close, it’s a good time to mention Henriette Delille (1813-1862), foundress of the second community for African-American women. (The first was the Oblates Sisters of Providence in 1829.) Born in 1813 to a white Creole and his African-American mistress, she grew up in the city’s free Black community. [Read More...]

James J. Walsh, Neurologist and Medievalist

Today marks the death of James J. Walsh (1865-1942), physician, historian and author. Born in Pennsylvania, he studied at St. John’s College (now Fordham University) in the Bronx before joining the Jesuits. After a few years, he left and enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a medical degree. After post-doctoral studies in [Read More...]

Marist Founder

Today marks the death of Father Jean-Claude Colin (1790-1875), who in 1816 founded the Society of Mary, known as the Marists. Born in France, he grew up in the aftermath of the French Revolution, which event had devastated the French presbyterate. As seminarians, he and Jean-Claude Courveille decided to form an order that would help [Read More...]

Treasure from an Archivist’s Family Attic

As an archivist, you see a lot of interesting photos. This one shows an altar built by a patient in a tubercular hospital during the early 1940′s. It was featured in the pages of The Tablet, the Brooklyn Diocese’s official newspaper. A few years later, I came across this same image in a family photo [Read More...]

Lecture on the 1891 New Orleans Lynching

JOHN D. CALANDRA ITALIAN AMERICAN INSTITUTEQueens College, CUNY THE PHILIP V. CANNISTRARO SEMINAR SERIES IN ITALIAN AMERICAN STUDIES Tuesday, March 10, 2009, 6 p.m.The Crescent City Lynchings: Reconstructing the 1891 New Orleans LynchingTom SmithAfter a sensational trial, eleven Italian Americans acquitted in the murder of New Orleans police chief David Hennessy were killed in the [Read More...]

“The Golden Age of Catholic Social Action”

The 1930’s saw priests, religious and laypeople vigorously working for social justice. In 1933 Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin started the Catholic Worker with its threefold program of a newspaper, soup kitchens and “Houses of hospitality.” The Catholic Worker was an unparalleled attempt by Catholics to live out a radically evangelical form of poverty in [Read More...]

“La Signora”: Ella B. Edes, Roman Agent (1832-1916)

Today marks the death of Ella B. Edes (1832-1916), convert, journalist and Vatican lobbyist. Born in Massachusetts, she inherited a considerable estate from her merchant father. In 1852, she converted to Catholicism. After her mother died, she moved permanently to Rome, where she got a job as secretary to Cardinal Alessandro Barnabo, Prefect of the [Read More...]

Looking Across the Mountains

Since the time of Constantine, state control of the Church has always been an issue. In France this problem was known as Gallicanism, the term being derived from the Latin for “French Church” (ecclesia gallicana). Basically, it meant that the King was the unofficial head of the Church in France, controlling all appointments and overseeing [Read More...]

Cardinal Rafael Merry Del Val (1965-1930)

Today marks the death of Cardinal Rafael Merry Del Val (1865-1930), papal diplomat and cardinal. Born Rafael María José Pedro Francisco Borja Domingo Gerardo de la Santísma Trinidad Merry del Val y Zulueta in London to a Spanish diplomat father and an English mother, he lived in England until he was thirteen. Ordained in 1888, [Read More...]