The Gustave A. Weigel, S.J. Papers are part of the Archives of Woodstock College, housed in the Special Collections Division of Georgetown University's Lauinger Library. The papers document Weigel's career from high school through his death in 1964.
Of special interest are the many pieces pertaining to the politics and culture of Latin America, and particularly of Chile, where Weigel lived for 10 years. He was also deeply concerned with the issues of ecumenism and intellectual life among American Catholics, as his articles and lecture notes reveal.
Fr. Weigel was present at the first and second sessions of the Second Vatican Council, and his papers contain his own notes and memoranda, as well as clippings from this period.
Although Fr. Weigel did not have a strong taste for letter writing, his correspondence does contain several letters which illuminate events at the Second Vatican Council as well as letters from leading Protestant theologians such as Paul Tillich and Reinhold Niebuhr.
Fr. Weigel's apologetics for Catholicism in America bolstered the presidential campaign of John F. Kennedy in 1960, and clippings from Time magazine and the New York Times noting his contributions are contained in box 11.
Gustave A. Weigel was born January 15, 1906 in Buffalo, New York . He was educated in the Buffalo Catholic schools, and graduated from the Jesuit Canisius High School in 1922. Upon leaving Canisius, Weigel was admitted to the novitiate at St. Andrews-on-Hudson in Poughkeepsie, New York.
Weigel undertook four years of novitiate and humanistic studies at Poughkeepsie and then studied philosophy at Woodstock College from 1926 to 1929. After earning his B.A. and M.A. degrees from Woodstock, Weigel spent one year as Latin and English instructor at Loyola College in Baltimore. He returned to Woodstock in 1930 to take up his theological studies and was ordained to the priesthood June 25, 1933 by Archbishop Michael Curley. In 1934, Weigel left Woodstock with the Licentiate in Sacred Theology. In 1931 he had also been granted the Ph.D. by the Universita Gregoriana in Rome, in recognition of his philosophical studies at Woodstock.
Weigel served his tertianship at St. Andrews-on-Hudson and then began his doctoral work in theology at the Universita Gregoriana in Rome. He was awarded the Doctor of Sacred Theology in 1938, after the publication of his dissertation, Faustus of Riez.
Father Weigel spent ten years at the recently established Universidad Catolica de Chile in Santiago; the last six as dean of the School of Theology. During these years, Weigel was also involved with the teaching at two Catholic high schools in Santiago, and became deeply attached to his adopted land. However , in 1948 Fr. Weigel was called back to the United States and took up the position of Professor of Ecclesiology in the Woodstock College School of Divinity. He held this position until his death in 1964.
One of the leading American theologians, Weigel was a tireless spokesman for the cause of ecumenism. Beginning in 1960, he served as an advisor to the Secretariat for the Promotion of Christian Unity, a body on which he served through the first two sessions of the Second Vatican Council. He was also requested by U.S. bishops to interpret, and to brief U.S. journalists on the events of the Council, an activity from which he gained admiration and popularity.
Along with his teaching, and despite periods of poor health after 1954, Fr. Weigel lectured and wrote ceaselessly. Subjects of special concern to him were ecumenism, American Catholic intellectual life and religion and society in Latin America. He was contributing editor to the Jesuit journal America from 1957.
Father Weigel died in New York City on January 3, 1964. Although his brilliant career and further work in the cause of ecumenism was cut off by his early death, Weigel left a prodigious amount of extremely valuable work. Further biographical information can be found in Box 12, folder 477, and folder 479 (obituaries).
Processed by Kathleen M. Colquhoun
ACCESSION DATA: Woodstock College Archives (The Gustave A. Weigel, S.J. Papers belong to, and form a separate series within the Archives of Woodstock College.
BULK DATES: 1920 - 1964
SPAN DATES: 1920 - 1964
EXTENT: 12 Record boxes, 3 H