University of Victoria
2-4 June 2013
The 80 Annual Conference of the CCHA opened at the University of Victoria with a session on Mid-20th Century English-Canadian Catholicism, A Mari Usque Ad Mare.
The first speaker, Robert Dennis of Queen’s University, traced the expansion of the Antigonish Movement ideal across Canada and North America in the middle 1930s as a people’s forum to change the economic structure. Postwar prosperity after the Second World War sapped the radicalism of the movement and capitalism was accepted. Peter Meehan of Seneca College followed the rise of Archbishop Sinnott of Winnipeg to a magnate in the Canadian ecclesial world and then in later years suffering from dementia. Patricia Roy of the University of Victoria exposed the tensions of the Maillardville Strike of 1951-1952 in British Columbia to achieve equality of the Catholic schools with the public system. Negotiations achieved textbooks for the Catholic schools.
Peter Baltutis of the University of St Michael’s College opened the second session on Fifty Years after Vatican II. He described how the council encyclical Gaudium et Spes prepared the way for the founding of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace. The organization progressed from financial handouts to the poor, to educating the faithful, and to the Christian option for the poor. Also from St Michael’s University, Michael Attridge discussed how the Council avoided modeling itself on Thomistic theology but embraced nouvelle théologie based on Scripture and liturgy. Shawn Flynn OP of St Mark’s College explained that Vatican II based itself on the Scriptures which sought a progression of truth which relates truth to current experience.
Marie Elliott from Victoria led off the Third Session discussing the Intersection of Vocation and Memory tracing the missionary vocation of John Nobili SJ who paved the way for missionaries who followed him. Archivist David Kingma of Gonzaga University elaborated on William Judge SJ, an American missionary in the Yukon who proclaimed the gospel with great force to all who would listen. Edward MacDonald of the University of Prince Edward Island examined the Diary of the parish priest Father Angus McDonald who made the ordinary activities of routine parish life seem valuable and interesting.
The CCHA members took a tour of the newly renovated St Ann’s Academy where in its chapel the annual Mass for the deceased members was celebrated by Bishop Richard Gagnon. He spoke on the importance of the missionary work of the Sisters of St Ann and the Catholic clergy in founding faith in the diocese.
A social and dinner followed at Millos Restaurant. Terence Fay SJ of the University of St Michael’s College shared his adventures of last year from January through March doing research on Indian Catholics. The research was published in India Historical Studies in the fall of 2013. In June he taught the History of Asian Christianity to Jesuit student theologians in Ho Chi Ming City in Vietnam.
The Fourth Session on Tuesday morning began with a panel discussion on the new publication, Selected Letters of A. M. A. Blanchet, Bishop of Walla Walla and Nesqualy, 1846-1879. Jacqueline Greskoof Douglas College began the discussion by providing the historical background and chronology of the bishop and his letters. Terence Fay SJ reflected on the importance that Bishop Blanchet’s letters shed on Protestant and Catholic motives for founding the Pacific Northwest. Mark McGowan of the University of Toronto expatiated on the secular details in the letters which shed light on the ordinary details of secular life of the frontier. Elizabeth Smyth commented on methodology of the research project which included letters found in archives in Paris, Montreal, Washington, and Seattle. Roberta Stringham Brown of Pacific Lutheran University and Patricia O’Connell Killen of Gonzaga University responded to the questions raised and welcomed the commentary of the panel members.
In the Fifth Session, Claude Roberto of the Provincial Archives of Alberta and Diane Lamoureux OMI of Lacombe, Albe, spoke on religious archives in public institutions. Gary A. Mitchell, Provincial Archivist at Royal British Columbia Museum, commented on archives located in public institutions.
Women Religious and their history was the topic for the Sixth Session. Graham P. McDonough and Eve E. Chapple of the University of Victoria looked at the Sisters of St Ann, of the Child Jesus, and of Providence and their service Indian Residential Schools in the 19C and 20C.Inspired by motives for difficult work, they lived with and shielded the Indigenous children against government neglect. Heidi MacDonald of the University of Lethbridge and Emily Burton of Dalhousie University compared the puzzlement of the Antigonish Casket and the Saint John New Freeman of the assertiveness and professionalism of religious sisters in the post-Vatican II period. Christine Lei of Wilfrid Laurier University examined who was ‘the Loretto Girl’ from whom much was expected by families and future employers. The alternative school proved very useful for both parents and students.
The Annual General Meeting of the CCHA for 2013 followed. President Edward MacDonald announced new administrative policies for the CCHA. The members will look forward in 2014 during the last week of May to the next CCHA Conference at Brock University, St Catharines, Ontario.