Remembering Monsignor Francis R. Seymour, KHS (1937-2018)

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Monsignor Francis R. Seymour, KHS who served for many years as the first Archivist for the Archdiocese of Newark when he was named to this position in 1969.  He was also a founding member of the New Jersey Catholic Historical Commission in 1976 and became Chair of this organization in 2009.  The contributions Monsignor Seymour made to the Monsignor William Noe’ Field Archives & Special Collections Center were many and memorable.  Counted among his most important and lasting works include his careful organization of research files related to the priest community, collecting of important documentation from autographed photographs to memorial cards to parish histories and many other items and objects related to the story of Catholic New Jersey.

It was also in the personal sharing of his knowledge and recollections where he really brought history to life.  His memory for details was remarkable and brought both enthusiasm and a gentle touch to his interactions with the many people he touched during the course of his life.  On a personal level, Monsignor Seymour will be remembered fondly and missed greatly by the many individuals who and had the privilege to learn from his example and had the privilege to call him a colleague and friend.

Among those associated who treasure his kindness are Tiffany Burns, Assistant to the Dean of University Libraries who remembers “My first job on the SHU campus was as an employee with the Archdiocese of Newark. Monsignor Seymour hired me to process sacramental requests in Archives and Special Collections twice a week. During my time in the Archives my brother passed away suddenly. It was Monsignor who most comforted me with words of kindness and his gentle explanation of the Church’s teaching during the saddest days of my life. I always felt that when Monsignor Seymour entered the room he brought the Lord with him.”

Sarah Ponichtera, Assistant Dean of Special Collections and the Gallery, adds, “Monsignor Seymour was a font of knowledge about the history of the Archdiocese.  He knew off the top of his head what would take an average researcher days to track down.  His passing is an enormous loss for historians of the university, the Archdiocese, and the region.”

Monsignor Seymour with Mother Teresa of Calcutta, c. 1981
  • More information about the life and accomplishments of Monsignor Seymour can be found via the official announcement issued by the Archdiocese of Newark.

Newark’s Catholic Advocate Now Digitized and Searchable

Printed and microfilm versions of the Catholic Advocate in Seton Hall University Special Collections
Printed and microfilm versions of the Catholic Advocate in Seton Hall University Special Collections

Based on research by Professor Alan Delozier

Selections from the Catholic Advocate, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Newark, have now been digitized in a cooperative project between Seton Hall University’s Special Collections and the Catholic Research Resources Alliance (CRRA).  The newspaper has been published regularly since 1951; however, the issues selected for this digitization project were limited to the years 1958-1964, the era of the Second Vatican Council, enabling researchers to examine this period and its impact on the Newark Catholic community.  The project digitizes newspapers from around the country, enabling scholars to examine differences and similarities between regions during this period.

Screenshot of Catholic News Archives
Screenshot of Catholic News Archives

Seton Hall Special Collections and University Library staff selected the best quality images to scan and provided description of the materials to allow for the detailed searches that are now possible.  As part of the digitization process, the text was captured using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to allow for keyword searches of the entire text of each article, not just the titles.  If a word or name is mentioned anywhere in an article or even in a photograph caption, it will be found in the powerful search engine used in the portal.  However, because the contents were read by machine, interpretive errors are possible in the text.  Therefore, the public is invited to read and correct the text, and particularly active commentators are acknowledged on the website in a “Hall of Fame.”

Article text interface
Article text interface

The CRRA has digitized many more newspapers as part of its project, including the San Francisco Archdiocese’s Monitor, the Clarion Herald of New Orleans, and the Catholic Telegraph of Cincinnati, among others.  The project and the construction of the Catholic News Archive website was the recipient of a Catholic Communications Campaign grant from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Student working with online resources
Student working with online resources

The digitized materials are currently being utilized in classes at Seton Hall University.  Professor Alan Delozier, University Archivist, has introduced students to this new resource in his class “New Jersey Catholic Experience,” offered through the Department of Catholic Studies.  Students are able to use this powerful new tool to conduct in-depth research on the history of the Catholic New Jersey community.

The new portal and all of its content can be explored here; the Catholic Advocate content specifically be found here.

Discovering the namesake of the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives

Written by Rev. Michael Barone

The Spring 2018 semester at Seton Hall University found Archives staff at the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives and Special Collections Center beginning to process the collection belonging to the eponymous former University Archivist, Director of Special Collections, and Rare Book Librarian, who died in December 2000.

Holy card, 2000
Holy card, 2000

Speaking to people who knew him, one learns that “Father Field” was a fixture on campus and in the Archdiocese of Newark, for which he was ordained a priest in 1940.

While the arrangement and description of the collection is still an ongoing project, looking through Monsignor’s papers and ephemera, one sees the story of a priest, scholar, lecturer, and traveler beginning to take shape.  After all, archivists process and maintain the collections of persons so that their lives and work might be preserved for future generations of researchers and historians.  While tedious at times, the task of archiving invites oneself to experience a sense of reverence or respect for the subject and creator.

Being himself an archivist for 30 years, Msgr. Field’s papers gives insight into the work of a Dean of Library and Special Collections Director, who earned his MLS from Columbia University in 1961.

Daybook, 1940-1970
Daybook, 1940-1970

Most of the collection is structured to organize his academic papers. However, Monsignor Field was also a gifted poet who sent and received numerous greeting cards from all across the globe. These are part of a correspondence series.  Msgr. Field kept detailed travel logs, postcards, and brochures from years of travel.  Beloved chaplain and member of several professional societies, the numerous awards, religious and devotional objects, owned and collected by the priest, will be discoverable by use of a detailed finding aid describing its inventory of materials and their structure.

Entering the reading room, one notices a prominently placed bust and portrait of Msgr. William Noé Field, welcoming visitors to his beloved

Archives, which bear his name.  Founded during his lifetime, and organized with help of Peter Wosh, the Center remains a valuable repository and resource.  For more information, or to schedule a visit to the Archives at Seton Hall University, located on the ground floor of our Walsh Library.  We look forward to this collection being available to the public in the very near future.

Archives sign
Namesake of the Archives

 

Object of the Month: Papal Bull of Pope Paul V (1618) – Translated by Dr. Peter Ahr

Papal Bull of Pope Paul V 13” x 20 1/2" 2017.06.0001

 

 

 

 

 

Papal bulls, named after the “bulla” or seal used to authenticate them, are decrees made by popes. Pope Paul V, member of an Italian noble family who is best known for persecuting Galileo and financing the completion of St. Peter’s Basilica, served as pope from 1605-1621. His April 1, 1618 decree begins with the proclamation of Pope Paul II (1464-1471)—included in full as the earlier decree required it—regarding corruption in the alienation of church property by sale or gift. It was believed that property given to the church was a gift to God and could not legitimately be given to anyone else. This was a particularly complicated issue in the medieval world, as many bishops and Church institutions were also feudal lords. This decree centers on the Abbey of Saints Peter and Paul in Ospedaletto Lodigiano, belonging to the Hieronymite order, and the sale one of its properties near the Swiss border. Ultimately, Pope Paul V delegated the decision to a local official.

The decree was translated by Dr. Peter Ahr, with assistance from Dr. Michael Mascio and Dr. Fred Booth of Seton Hall University, and Reverend Dr. Federico Gallo, Director of the Library at Dottore della Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan.

Marian Devotion and Archbishop Walsh – A Prayer for Peace During World War II

May Day is observed in various celebratory ways and this is no different within the Catholic Church as this diurnal it is a starting point for month-long devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary across the globe.  Counted among the most evident displays of homage include the annual “May Crowning” of Mary statues found within churches worldwide, creation of art works depicting the image of the Holy Mother, increased prayers, group recitations, and other means  homage that invoke and honor her name and example. This increase in commitment to Mary has been nurtured over time especially from the 18th century forward.  Within the Pre-Vatican II era, the official pronouncement of the “Queenship of Mary” and her connections to May as a time of greater ceremony came in the Marian Year of 1954 when Pope Pius XII (1876-1958) made in his encyclical – Ad Caeli Reginam.  This inspired an oft-recited hymn that reads – “Hail Virgin, dearest Mary! Our lovely Queen of May! . . . ”

Mary herself was a Nazarean who lived in the 1st century BC and is known according to New Testament texts as the mother Jesus Christ by way of conceiving miraculously through the Holy Spirit.  The Mother of God was assumed into Heaven after her mortal life ended and her example has led to several assertions that she has appeared in miraculous fashion to different followers over the years.  This has led to Mary being the most venerated and admirable of all saints to most within the Catholic Church.

The example of Mary served the faithful not only in times of peace, but especially in times of turmoil.  A decade before the “Queenship of Mary” was formally established, and as the Second World War raged, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Amleto Giovanni Cicognani (1883-1973) reached out to the American hierarchy on behalf of Pius XII to encourage focused prayer during the month of May.  In particular, he made special note of all to call on the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary in helping all people to lead a true life and to always remember – “. . . the needs of humanity and for the attainment of a just peace . . . at this time of conflict across the world.”  In response to this request, Archbishop Thomas J. Walsh (1873-1952) asked the faithful of the Archdiocese of Newark to not only participate in daily contemplation, but engage in the Holy Crusade of Peace as a means of honoring the Solidarity of Mary.  This was a means of joining the call of the Vatican in other shows of spiritual commitment on a daily basis as outlined in the April 27, 1943 circular letter illustrated on this page.

Archbishop Walsh also expressed the wish that the Litany of the Blessed Virgin, Litany of Loreto (a special Marian-centered prayer first uttered in 1587), and the “Prayer for Peace” (found below) each be read after each Mass throughout the month of May.

In addition, further demonstrations of faith included public services that featured the recitation of the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary and honoring the Mother of Christ with a Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament at each parish and mission chapel throughout the Archdiocese of Newark.  Additionally, in accordance with the hope that the Catholic youth of the Newark See would be more active in spiritual exercises of this type, it was requested by Archbishop Walsh that students make a devotion to their nearest church every school day in addition to worship on Sundays.

This circular was read to parishioners at each parish throughout the Archdiocese of Newark during Masses conducted on Sunday, May 2, 1943.  In looking back 75 years later, this devotion to Mary shows how the words of the hierarchy and enlistment of the faithful helped in making peace a reality and further strengthened belief in the Blessed Virgin and her example through continued dedication throughout the month of May and even beyond.

For more information on Marian traditions, Archdiocese of Newark history, and other research subjects please feel free to contact at: Alan.Delozier@shu.edu / (973) 275-2378.

Winand Wigger and 19th Century Conciliar Connections

Portrait of Winand WiggerThe life and legacy of Winand Michael Wigger (1841-1901), the third Bishop of Newark and first of German extraction was elevated to leadership of the largest Catholic see in New Jersey by 1881 at a time when the Diocese of Trenton was formed to serve the faithful in southern New Jersey.  On a wider scale, the Church was undergoing various changes as a result of nation-wide meetings among the Catholic hierarchy known as the Plenary Councils of Baltimore held in 1852, 1866, and 1884 during the time of Bishop Wigger.  Baltimore was the first Catholic Diocese of the United States (formed in 1789) and as more geographical provinces were made (Newark christened in 1853 being a part of the Province of New York established in 1808) the leadership met to discuss and adopt standard policies and “discipline” based on proper Church teaching and mission meetings and decrees that came out of Maryland would be enacted locally including the Diocese of Newark.  These councils yielded interesting ties to New Jersey including the creation of a standard “Baltimore Catechism” written by Father Januarius De Concilio, a priest of the Diocese of Newark (1885) and consideration of Seton Hall as the official national “principal seminary or university” for the United States, but ultimately the Catholic University of American (founded in 1887) became the ultimate choice.  Aside from these key historical footnotes on a local level Bishop Wigger working with Michael Augustine Corrigan, Bishop of New York (and second bishop of Newark previously) worked together with other church leaders within the New York Province to draft recommendations based on the Baltimore debates.  Among the documents found in the Wigger Collection include the following examples include various circulars fro the spring and summer of 1886 including one from April 15th which reads in part . . .

“We, the Archbishop and the Bishops of the Province of of New York, having met for consultation to-day in the Winand Wigger documentArchiepiscopal Residence, deem it advisable to address a few words of advice and counsel to you, Venerable Clergy and Beloved Laity, on the decrees of the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore.  In accordance with the will and wish of the Fathers of the Council, and with the approval of the Holy See, these decrees have been published and promulgated by the Apostolic Delegate, the Most Rev. James Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore, in anticipation of their publication in diocesan and provincial synods, and they are now binding and of full effect . . . A well-adjusted start will guarantee success from the beginning, and give promise of judicious development of Church government in the future.  It is our intention, therefore, to hold two or more conferences during the summer months as a help to secure the best means of giving effect to the wise precepts and injunctions of the Council, preparatory to their enforcement in diocesan synods to be held not later than the coming autumn.”

Bishop Wigger also sought to stress attention to academics throughout the Diocese of Newark from grammar school through Seton Hall College . . .

“The first chapter . . . on Parochial Schools, legislates clergy and definitely on the duty of bishops, priests, and laity with regard to the establishment and support of Christian and Catholic schools, especially of Parochial Schools, which constitute the majority of schools in which religion is not divorced from education. The question of the utility and necessity of these is no longer an open one.  The great educational problem of the day, in this country as in most countries of the world, is how best to promote the establishment and permanent efficiency and growth of schools in which secular learning and religious instruction shall be combined . . .   The cause of Christian education so strongly advocated in the Third Plenary Council, so fully endorsed by the Holy See, so lovingly presented to the whole world by the Holy Father in his Encyclical Letter directing a portion of the Jubilee aims to be set aside for such schools, is worth a priest’s best labors and the people’s unstinted generosity.”

 

Seton Hall College, South Orange, June 1, 1886These and other pronouncements issued by way of circulars to the clergy of the diocese, Seton Hall College, other institutions, and expressed to parishioners was part of the chain of messaging that kept the work and vision of the Church connected during the time of Bishop Wigger with the Councils being among the last major conferences aside from various diocesan synods and periodic intiatives that defined the American Catholic Church that arose above mission status by 1908 in the eventual wake of the Baltimore Councils.  More information about the administration and legacy works of Bishop Wigger as a church leader can be found within the following collection, the Winand Wigger papers, 1864-1919.

For more information about Bishop Wigger, or other queries regarding Catholic New Jersey please feel free to contact us by e-mail:Alan.Delozier@shu.edu  or via phone at: (973) 275-2378.  Thank you in advance for your interest.

St. Patrick – Study Aids At Seton Hall

March is a month closely associated with Irish history by way of honoring the patron saint (who shares this designation with Brigit/Brigid and Columba) and apostle of Ireland Patrick (Pádraig), the first bishop of Armagh and Primate of Éire who lived during the 5th century A.D.  In popular and latter-day culture, the legacy of Patrick is often drawn to oft-repeated tales of his driving snakes out of Ireland, teaching the symbolism of the Holy Trinity through use of a shamrock, his walking stick growing into a tree, and the plethora of parades staged throughout the world in his honor.  By extension, Irish culture and heritage is widely recognized with the feast day of March 17th for Patrick being a source of celebration “with the wearing of the green” each year.  His popularity is secure and icons dedicated to his memory abound to the present day.

St. PatrickDelving beneath iconic depictions (many of which are modern enhancements, i.e. the wearing of a miter, holding of a crosier and the robes of high ecclesiastical office, etc.) which are most familiar, the life story of Patrick was actually one of hardship and dedication when reading various accounts of his adventures.  In brief terms, Patrick was born into poverty and enslaved as a youth.  He was able to escape his master as a young adult, make his way back to his native Britain, adopt Christianity, and migrate to the Europe continent for further study.  Patrick ultimately made his way to Ireland as a missionary where he achieved success in his work with, and on behalf of, the people he befriended and administered to during his lifetime.                 St. Patrick portrait   patrick-text

Researching the life, words, and example of Patrick has been made easier and more accessible through the works of a number of scholars from historians, theologians, philosophers, poets, artists, and others who have an interest in his legacy.  Please feel free to follow the link to learn more about Patrick (and other Saints of Ireland from Abbán moccu Corbmaic to Tigernach of Clones and many others of note) through the Archives & Special Collections Center and University Libraries information resource links.  Here are some introductory works to help you on your journey of discovery…

Irish Studies Library Guide

St. Patrick

Saints of Ireland
Irish-Bible

Homage to Patrick also exists on a hometown basis as numerous statues and structures exist in many places around the globe.  Included are those on the campus of Seton Hall University and the Archdiocese of Newark.  Most notably is the Pro-Cathedral of St. Patrick located in Newark which has a long and notable history as documented by Seton Hall faculty member Monsignor Robert Wister, Hist.Eccl.D. who wrote a detailed account of this parish and its place in local and national religious history…

St. Patrick’s Pro-Cathedral, Newark, New Jersey: An Historical Reflection, 1850-2000

St. Patrick’s Pro-Cathedral…An Artistic and Symbolic Description

St. Patrick's Pro Cathedral      St. Patrick's Cathedral, Newark NJ

Whether searching for memorials dedicated to Patrick, or for materials on the man himself, we are happy to assist with your project needs and offer additional leads alike.  In the meantime, continued success on your respective searches and Lá Fhéile Pádraig faoi mhaise duit!

Seton Hall’s Madison Roots

With the advent of programs like Who Do You Think You Are produced by Lisa Kudrow and Henry Louis Gates’ Finding Your Roots on PBS, genealogy research has become even more popular than before, particularly with more and more resources available online. Did you ever wonder about the genealogical history of Seton Hall?
It may seem when one looks at the campus today as if the college was always here in South Orange. In fact, according to a history of Seton Hall College written in 1895 by then President Rev. William F. Marshall, printed in that year’s catalogue, “When James Roosevelt Bayley [Mother Seton’s nephew] was appointed Bishop of the newly erected See of Newark, New Jersey, October 30th, 1853, he found the diocese poorly supplied with priests and with no Catholic institutions of any kind… save a few scattered churches and chapels.” He decided to establish a college for the education of both secular students and theological students training to be future priests. He and Rev. Bernard J. McQuaid who would one day become both a bishop himself, and the first president of Seton Hall College searched to find a proper location for the college. They settled upon Madame Chegary’s Young Ladies’ Academy in Madison. Madame was relocating her school to New York City, vacating the white frame building that can be seen in a drawing on a sizable map from 1857 that hangs just inside the entrance to the Msgr. William Noé Field Archives and Special Collections Center in the Walsh Library.

Map of Madison, New Jersey
Map of Madison, New Jersey

The inset drawing seen below of the building amid trees with a horse and carriage in the foreground notes the date Sept. 1856 when the first class of students began their studies – all five of them including Leo G. Thebaud, Louis and Alfred Boisaubin of Madison, John Moore of New York City and Peter Meehan of Hoboken.

drawing of Seton Hall College, Madison, Sept. 1856
drawing of Seton Hall College, Madison, Sept. 1856

Rev. Marshall tells us, “Before the end of the month twenty additional names were registered,” clearly showing that this new college was filling a need. Bishop Bayley named the college for his aunt, now St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, who preceded him in converting from the Protestant Episcopal Church to Catholicism, and who was the founder not only of the Sisters of Charity, but also of Catholic education in this country.
Bishop Bayley found traveling to his newly established college from Newark by horse and carriage too time consuming, and by 1859 the college had outgrown the small, white building in Madison. Returning from unsuccessful scouting for a new location along the South Orange and Newark Turnpike, Bishop Bayley spied a white marble villa on his right. A Catholic real estate dealer of Valisburg was commissioned to make the purchase of the Elphinstone Manor which stood where Presidents Hall does now.SHU 1860 Formal transfer was effected on 2 April 1860, and Seton Hall College moved from Madison to South Orange. The College of St. Elizabeth now occupies the site of the original Seton Hall College where the white frame building still stands.
To see the map of Madison, please drop in during our hours, M-F, 9-5. We are the Archive for Seton Hall University and for the Archdiocese of Newark, and have an extensive collection of manuscripts, photographs, rare books and artifacts. If you have a paper or project which requires primary source material on the history of Seton Hall University or the Archdiocese, or you wish to research your family history using local Church records, please make an appointment to come in to confer with our staff and use some of the materials we conserve. Contact archives@shu.edu   or 973-761-9476.