Archives Month: Redemptorist Archives

[Posted on behalf of Chrissie Perella]

Front doors of the Saint John Neumann Center

The Redemptorist Archives are the “new kids on the block” and we’re glad they’re here! For their first Archives Month Philly, they hosted an open house and an evening lecture. Dr. Nicholas Rademacher of the Cabrini College Department of Religious Studies spoke about the value of religious archives.

Students looking at documents at the Redemptorist Archives

The open house tour included a peek into the new stacks (sorry, no photos!) and a display of some of the highlights of their collection.  The Archives include not only historical material from the Philly houses, but other Redemptorist houses in places such as Baltimore and Brooklyn.

Purple vestments in the Roman style
Vestments in the Roman style

The evening lecture by Dr. Rademacher sparked some interesting discussions.  Telling the story of Thomas J. Hart, an Irish-born Redemptorist who moved to Philly in the 19th century, Dr. Rademacher illustrated how learning the history of your institution or church can help you to understand its current mission and works.  The Archives reflect how the church changed in order to better serve the needs of its community – in the 1930s, sermons started to be given in English, rather than German, since most of the community no longer spoke German.  Dr. Rademacher’s talk gave many examples of how archives can be relevant to their current communities by sharing the stories of the past.

handwritten chronicles
House chronicles from Philadelphia and Baltimore Province, circa 1860s
handwritten bound chronicle
House chronicles noting the change in sermon language, 1930
black and white photograph of a group of german american children holding american flags
German-Americans at St. Peter the Apostle showing their Patriotism, 1918

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