George Edward Clerk Award, 2020
The Clerk Medallion is awarded every two or three years by the CCHA to honour an individual who has distinguished him/herself in one of three categories: research and writing of the history of the Catholic Church, or service to the CCHA, or exceptional work in the preservation and promotion of materials in Catholic archives. It is very rare that a recipient of the award has demonstrated excellence in all three categories, but Michael Power, this year’s recipient, has worked with distinction in all of them.
With a Master’s degree in Library Science from Western University, Michael worked tirelessly, in his native Windsor, promoting the extensive collection of materials in the Assumption College archives. His resultant three volume documentary history not only chronicles the institution and its Basilian founders, it also is an extraordinary introduction to the documents contained in the college archives. His work in Windsor prompted more projects including writing extensively on the Basilian Fathers, the Diocese of London, and the regional church on the Niagara Peninsula, where he now lives.
From 1986-1988, Michael served as the President of the CCHA, after filling various position on the executive in the early 1980s. In 1991, he was part of the planning committee for the sesquicentennial historical conference for the Archdiocese of Toronto (CATO-150) and was a published presenter in its subsequent volume and the volume’s indexer. That same year he returned to the executive of the association and served a term as secretary.
For over thirty years, Michael Power has been an active researcher and historian and has produced numerous books of lasting value including parish histories, a history of the Diocese of London, a history of the early years of the Catholic Church Extension Society, a commissioned history of the permanent diaconate in the Archdiocese of Toronto, a biography of education pioneer Carl Matthews, sj, and numerous scholarly articles in academic journals on the history of various aspects of the Catholic Church in Ontario. Michael is a gifted stylist, whose narratives are a pleasure to read and well supported by archival research.
By his own admission, his magnum opus was A Promise Fulfilled: Highlights of the Political History of Catholic Separate Schools in Ontario (2002), which stands as perhaps the most readable and comprehensive history of Catholic schools in Ontario in a single volume. The work has become a standard resource for anyone researching Catholic schools in Ontario. A Promise Fulfilled has been cited by numerous scholars and is considered by many, a model of historical research on Catholic education.
Clearly the CCHA is both delighted and honoured to have Michael Power receive the Association’s highest award.
Dr. Mark G. McGowan,
University of Toronto