News – Spring and Summer 2006

In our efforts to document the history of the Catholic Church in the United States, we need to remind ourselves sometimes that Notre Dame itself is part of that history.  Several new collections related to Notre Dame show that we do not treat the local denizens as prophets without honor in their own country.

In March of 2006 Neil McCluskey, by way of Fr. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., donated papers having to do with the proposed merger of St. Mary’s College and Notre Dame, 1967-1972, consisting of correspondence, reports, and clippings. In April Fr. E. William Beauchamp, C.S.C., donated papers he had written as a Notre Dame student, 1979-1981, with some notes and syllabi from Notre Dame courses.  In May Fr. Marvin O’Connell gave the archives papers entrusted to him by his mentor, Monsignor Philip Hughes, including the manuscripts of two unpublished books by Hughes, The Last Crisis: the British State and the Catholic Church, 1850-1851, and an edition of the letters of the English historian Fr. John Lingard (1771-1851), author of a ten-volume history of England from a Catholic perspective.  Hughes taught at Notre Dame from 1955 until his retirement in 1966.

Also in May Notre Dame’s Medieval Institute sent us files of prominent Medievalist Astrik Gabriel, O. Praem.  Abbot Gabriel’s personal papers date from the early 1950s to 2005 and include scrapbooks, files on conferences he attended, his visiting professorships, publications, scholarly associations, publications, lectures, correspondence, awards, and travels.  These papers represent his service as a scholar at Notre Dame and with the International Commission on the History of Universities, his interest in medieval universities and Hungarian academic and ecclesiastical history, and his book collecting.  We also received files dating after his retirement as Director of the Medieval Institute in 1975, documenting his continuing work in support of the Medieval Institute and the Ambrosiana Collection, continuing through the 1980s and 1990s.

Starting in June and continuing through September, with the help of Kathy Osberger, we acquired papers of Richard J. Westley, a professor of philosophy at Loyola University of Chicago associated with the Institute of Pastoral Studies there.  First he sent us his CD “Homilies of Faith: Sundays with Fr. Bill Kenneally in the Spoken and Written Word.”  Fr. Kenneally was pastor of St. Gertrude Parish, near Loyola, and Westley found his sermons so good that he recorded and transcribed all of them for the years 2001 to 2006. The CD also includes audio recordings of thirty of the homilies.

In August Westley sent material, including thirty-four cassette tapes, from talks, retreats, and seminars given by Fr. Leo Mahon, some done on trips to Chicago during his time as a pastor of San Miguelito Mission in Panama, some dating from after his return to Chicago.  Westley invited Fr. Mahon to give these talks, and taped and transcribed many of them. These papers and recordings are especially valuable to us because they supplement our collection of records of San Miguelito Mission, important in the history of Liberation Theology, and particularly interesting because of the interaction between Latin American and North American Catholics.

We expressed an interest in the Catholic newsletter that Westley published, “In the Meantime,” and he sent a complete collection of all the issues on a CD. Finally, he sent files documenting retreats and workshops for thoughtful Catholic lay people, mostly from the Chicago area, organized by Westley from 1968 through 2005 and conducted chiefly at Notre Dame’s Center for Continuing Education.