Blogs

or browse databases: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #

You are here

Header Image: 
Items from Woodstock Library Rare Book Collection
Header Image caption: 

Woodstock Library Rare Book Collection

Saint Oscar Romero

On October 14th, Oscar Romero was canonized by Pope Francis. His life was and remains an example of strength and courage in the midst of a terrorizing, unjust, and corrupt government.  

When Saint Oscar Romero was appointed Archbishop of San Salvador, he could not have known how radically his life, his heart, and his involvement with the people of El Salvador would change, placing him at the forefront of a lived theology of liberation. The people of El Salvador were living under an oppressive and violent military government that sought to silence, through torture and death, anyone who spoke out against its corruption. Saint Oscar was one who spoke out. He did this through his homilies which articulated his support and commitment for peace, non-violence, and human rights. He often delivered messages on YSAX (the radio station of the archidiocese) and, of course, from the pulpit.

In a homily preached by Saint Oscar on the Fifth Sunday of Lent, March 23, 1980, his following statements were met with applause from the congregation*

“The great task of Christians is to become absorbed in God’s kingdom and, with our souls so absorbed, to work also on projects of history. It is a good thing to unite in the people’s organizations; it is a good thing to create political parties; it is a good thing to take part in the government. All this is good, as long as you’re a Christian who reflects the kingdom of God and tries to implant it wherever you are working….” (A Prophetic Bishop Speaks to his People: The complete Homilies of Archbishop Oscar Romero. Translated by Joseph V. Owens, SJ; edited by Rafael Luciani, Felix Palazzi, and Julian Filochowski. Vol 6. p. 402).

Book - A Prophetic Bishop Speaks to His PeopleAs with many whose fate is bound up with the poor, oppressed and marginalized, Saint Oscar experienced a violent and unjust death. His final words, a homily given at the Anniversary Mass for Sara Meardi de Pinto [i.e., Doña Sarita] and delivered at the Chapel of the Divina Providencia Hospital, March 24th, 1980, are more enduring and penetrating than the bullets that were the instrument that tried to silence him:

“This holy Mass of thanksgiving, then, is just such an act of faith [as demonstrated by Doña Sarita]. By Christian faith we know that at this moment the host of wheat becomes the body of the Lord who offered himself for the redemption of the world, and that the wine in this chalice is transformed into the blood that was the price of salvation. May this body that was immolated and this flesh that was sacrificed for humankind also nourish us that we can give our bodies and our blood to suffering and pain, as Christ did, not for our own sake but to bring justice and peace to our people. Let us therefore join closely together in faith and hope at this moment of prayer for Doña Sarita and ourselves.” (Owens, p. 422)

At that moment, a shot rang out.*

*The editors of A Prophetic Bishop Speaks to his People: The complete Homilies of Archbishop Oscar Romero, transcribe the congregation responses, and situate each homily in the events of week.

 

Post by Amy Phillips, Rare Books Cataloguer 

Assign to which blog?: 
Woodstock
Header Image: 
19th Century Jesuit Poetry Book
Header Image caption: 

Detail from 19th Century Jesuit Poetry Book

Hermit

One of the works used in our most recent exhibition, Demons, Death and the Damned: The Underworld of Woodstock Library, is a beautiful exploration of the hermetic life of the early saints, titled Sylvae Sacrae. The collection of engravings, originally published in 1594 by the Flemish printmaker Marten de Vos, depicts the early ascetic saints of the church each in his hermitage. For our exhibition we chose to showcase a print in which a hermit is shown contemplating skeletal remains, however, most are not nearly so morbid, but are beautifully rendered scenes of lone individuals in acts of prayerful supplication, pious repose, or zealous action.

Hermit

The Sylvae Sacrae was part of a movement within the counter reformation to defend and uphold the contemplative life of the religious. As art history scholar Leopoldine van Hogendorp Prosperetti puts it,  “the case to be made in each single print was to show that solitudo as a form of life promises to turn a wilderness into a flowery meadow, a squalid hut into an attractive hermitage, and the uncouth anchorite into an angel of the desert.”*

Hermit

De Vos wonderfully utilizes the foreground and background elements to juxtapose the pious life of the saint amongst the sylvan wilderness with the life of the city off in the distance. These depictions of quiet solitude maintain their power to this day in a world with less and less wilderness and more and more distraction.

Hermit

 Hermit

Many of these scenes are rendered by De Vos as charged with the unreal and the fantastic, with demonic and divine figures often in visitation, as if by drawing away from humanity, the saints draw closer to the eternal.

 Hermit

 

Post by Adrian Vaagenes, Digital & Archival Services Librarian

 * Leopoldine van Hogendorp Prosperetti, “Helenus and Dorotheus: Marten de Vos and the Desert Fathers,” in Imago Exegetica: Visual Images as Exegetical Instruments, 1400–1700, eds. Walter S. Melion, James Clifton, and Michel Weemans, Intersections: Interdisciplinary Studies in Early Modern Culture 33 (Leiden: Brill, 2014), 423–48.

Assign to which blog?: 
Woodstock
Header Image: 
Detail from Georgetown Songs and Yells

Any Georgetown student or alum can probably sing the "Alma Mater" or the "Georgetown Fight Song" in their sleep. But what about such ditties as the “Hipper Dipper," the “Ray-Cheer," or, my personal favorite, the “Short Yell"? Never fear, dear Hoyas! We in the University Archives are here to help. Below you will find a sampling of Georgetown cheers and yells that fans have sung proudly over the years. It is high time tunes like the “Locomotive” or the “Dirge” make a comeback. Why not learn a new cheer and impress your friends at the next home game!

Ann Galloway, Assistant University Archivist

 Georgetown Songs 1911

 Georgetown Songs

Georgetown Songs and Yells
(Click to enlarge)



Georgetown Songs 1914

(Click to enlarge)

                                                                                                                                                       

 

 

Assign to which blog?: 
Archives
Header Image: 
Page from  Solitudo : sive, Vitae patrum eremicolarum, per antiquissimum patrem D. Hieronimum eorundem primarium olim conscripta, iam verò primùm aeneis laminis.
Header Image caption: 

Demons, Death, and the Damned: The Underworld of Woodstock Library

Engraving of Hell from Nadal, Gerónimo, Wierix, Antonie, Wierix, Jeronimus, Wierix, Jan, Collaert, Adriaen, Collaert, Jan, Mallery, Carel van, et al. Adnotationes et meditationes in Euangelia quae in sacrosancto Missae sacrificio toto anno leguntur : cum Euangeliorum concordantia historiae integritati sufficienti : accessit & index historiam ipsam Euangelicam in ordinem temporis vitae Christi distribuens 2. ed. Antuerpiae: Excudebat Martinus Nutius, 1595.

The Halloween season is almost upon us, and to help you get in the mood, on October 1st Woodstock Library will debut an exhibition titled, Demons, Death, and the Damned: The Underworld of Woodstock Library. This exhibition is a chance to explore the spooky, devilish, and more lurid aspects of the collection, which some might mistakenly believe is all prayer books, biblical tomes, and catechisms. As the title suggests, the exhibition will highlight works and images related to the doctrine of hell, demons, and death.

Page from Drexel, Jeremias. Infernus damnatorum carcer & rogus aeternitatis Pars IIa. 1st ed. Monachii: Apus Cornelium Leysserium, 1631.

 

In the 16th and 17th centuries, one of the ways church leaders attempted to ward believers from a sinful path was to write of the horrific torments awaiting the unrepentant. Mixing biblical, pagan, and post-canonical sources, these books would paint terrifying images of the afterlife, filled with flames, snakes, and demonic torture. One example within our collection is Infernus damnatorum carcer et rogus aeternitatis, by Jeremias Drexel, a former Lutheran turned Jesuit priest. A popular preacher of his day, Drexel’s prominence was in part due to devotionals such as the Infernus, which combined imaginative and vivid etchings of hell with extended meditations on every horrific detail, all in a pocketable size.

 

Page from Nadal, Gerónimo, Wierix, Antonie, Wierix, Jeronimus, Wierix, Jan, Collaert, Adriaen, Collaert, Jan, Mallery, Carel van, et al. Adnotationes et meditationes in Euangelia quae in sacrosancto Missae sacrificio toto anno leguntur : cum Euangeliorum concordantia historiae integritati sufficienti : accessit & index historiam ipsam Euangelicam in ordinem temporis vitae Christi distribuens 2. ed. Antuerpiae: Excudebat Martinus Nutius, 1595.

A common feature of these devotional hellscapes was the presence of demons. Not just confined to the underworld, the demonic realm was also widely believed to influence day-to-day events and one’s personal fate, making up a whole genre of literature. Woodstock owns a number of these demonologies and exorcism manuals, which both describe the demonic and delineate methods of discernment and resistance. One such manual is the Thesavrvs exorcismorvm by Valerio Polidoro, a copy of which can be seen in the exhibit.  

 

The idea of death also played a role within 16th and 17th century literature, not only as a figure to be feared, but as a positive object for spiritual and moral contemplation. The contemplation of death as a path of moral cultivation is known as Memento Mori, and a number of pieces within our exhibition trade on this theme. One example is the 17th century devotional by Jeremy Taylor, The Rule and Exercises of Holy Dying. The mirror of death is a common trope in this literature, deployed here by Taylor, as a symbolic confrontation of the viewer with their own mortality.

Page from Taylor, Jeremy. The Rule and Exercises of Holy Dying. In Which Are Described the Means and Instruments of Preparing Our Selves and Others Respectively for a Blessed Death; and the Remedies Against the Evils and Temptations Proper to the State of Sickness: Together with Praiers and Acts of Vertue to Be Used by Sick and Dying Persons, or by Others Standing in Their Attendance. To Which Are Added Rules for the Visitation of the Sick, and Offices Proper for That Ministery. Printed by R. Norton for R. Royston, 1668.

If you’re interested in seeing more material like this, the Booth Family Center for Special Collections is also featuring an exhibit titled Macabre, which is currently on display in the special collections gallery.

Post by Adrian Vaagenes, Digital and Archival Services Librarian

 

Assign to which blog?: 
Woodstock
Header Image: 
Items from the Woodstock Library Rare Book Collection
Header Image caption: 

Woodstock Library Rare Book Collection

Woodstock Theological Library is not just a repository of rare books and archives but it is also a growing collection of books and journals. It is not just growing but it houses retrospective materials that contain a treasure trove of authors and their writings that outline the intellectual and cultural developments of the recent past.

There is nothing more exciting than to turn the pages of a journal like The Christian Century and encounter articles that are now historic documents. When first issued, however, they may not have caught the attention of the general public, or, perhaps, the readership of the time may not have grasped the import an article would someday come to have.  In the The Christian Century issue of February 6, 1957, an article was published entitled “Nonviolence and Racial Justice,” the author? Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Article by Martin Luther King Jr.

Front Page of Christian Century

King ends his article by pointing out that non-violence “is based on the conviction that universe is on the side justice.” Given that the reality King faced (in fact, we still face more than a half century after the civil rights movement), that conviction seems nothing less than an act of impossible faith and hope. In calling for non-violent protest of segregation and racism rampant in the United States at that time, he also gives a brief historic summary of slavery and the subsequent horrors faced by African Americans from that time onward.

But King’s conviction was strong and it sustained him even as he faced the evil and injustice that sought to dehumanize him and African Americans throughout the United States. This was because he believed in the Good News told by Christ, which was a message of liberation and reconciliation between the oppressed and oppressor.  

King draws an analogy between the violent and oppressive circumstances the African Americans endured and the Passion of Christ. King refers to this as “cosmic companionship” and he gave proof of this companionship when he writes: There is something at the very center of our faith which reminds us that Good Friday may reign for a day, but ultimately it must give way to the triumphant beat of the Easter drums.

Post by Amy Phillips, Rare Materials Cataloger for Woodstock Library

Assign to which blog?: 
Woodstock
Header Image: 
Items from Woodstock Library Rare Book Collection
Header Image caption: 

Woodstock Library Rare Book Collection

Poetry Book Cover

While the connection between poetry and the Jesuits is widely known (as mentioned in last week’s post), what you may not know is that Jesuit novices also tried their hand at poetry. Within the Woodstock College Archives, there are three large boxes of poetry books created between 1920 and 1869 by Jesuit novices. These poems were composed by philosophy and theology students as part of annual collections, and for specific feast days. They served both as a work of devotion and as a chance for students to practice their linguistic skills. While a small number of the poems are in English, most are in either Latin, Greek, Hebrew, or Arabic.

One of the reasons that these poetry collections stand out from their peers is the highly decorative covers of the books. The covers are incredibly ornate with branch-like lettering, floral motifs, geometric patterns, gilded backgrounds, and exquisite calligraphy found throughout. While we don’t which students illustrated these covers, they may have been done by those novices less poetically inclined as a chance to take part in the devotional work. A sampling of the many beautiful covers can be seen by clicking on the picture below. 

Post by Adrian Vaagenes

 

 

Assign to which blog?: 
Woodstock
Header Image: 
Items from Woodstock Library Rare Book Collection
Header Image caption: 

Woodstock Library Rare Book Collection

Jesuits have excelled at everything. This is no exaggeration.  Jesuits have been brilliant scholars and practitioners in the fields of mathematics, paleontology, geology, cartography, philosophy, law, medicine, business administration, education, librarianship, and, of course, theology. It is not unexpected, then, that not a few Jesuits were exceptional in their artistic and literary endeavors.  Of the literary genres, poetry was a particular creative vocation pursued by many among the Jesuits. The most well known poet in the English language is Gerard Manely Hopkins.

Poetry Book

There were other lesser known Jesuit poets like Sebastiano Chiesa (d. 1678), who was born in Reggio di Modena, Italy. Woodstock Theological Library has unique manuscript volumes of poetry written by Chiesa entitled Capitolo de frati, poema eroico comico o sia prurito geniale autumnale del pa[d]re Sechia Accedemic lepido Reggiano. (A chapter concerning the friars, a heroic comical poem, or, its brilliant autumnal yearning by the charming father Sechia, Academic [of] Reggio Emilia). As the title suggests, these volumes contain satirical poems which are meant to poke fun at Franciscan friars. Father Sechia was the nom de plume of Chiesa, who might have wanted to remain the unidentified prankster! In other known copies of this poem he also uses a fuller form of this name: Tisabesano Sechia.

 Title Page

Here, Woodstock’s copy is opened to the first page of volume one which has clear cursive handwriting. The title page, as you can see, has a printed floriated border.

 

Blog written by Rare Book Cataloguer Amy Phillips.

Assign to which blog?: 
Woodstock
Header Image: 
Items from the Woodstock Library Rare Book Collection
Header Image caption: 

Woodstock Library Rare Books Collection

The Woodstock Theological Library will be offering tours for students on Sept. 10th, 12th, and 14th, at 1 PM. This will be a time for students to learn how to use the library, get a glimpse into our rare book rooms, and show off some of our archival treasures. Students will also have a chance to meet the staff of Woodstock Theological Library and learn how our librarians can aid students in their research.

Orientation Flyer

 

 

Assign to which blog?: 
Woodstock
Header Image: 
Items from Woodstock Library Rare Book Collection
Header Image caption: 

Woodstock Library Rare Book Collection

We received sad news this last week of the passing of Fr. Joseph Tylenda, S.J., our former director. Fr. Tylenda served as the head of the Woodstock Library on two separate occasions, from 1965-1970, and from 1994 to 2003, when he retired.

 Fr. Tylenda and Woodstock Employees

Fr.  Tylenda was born June 26th, 1928 and entered the Society of Jesus in 1948 at the age of 20. He was ordained in 1960 and received his doctor of sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in the same year. In addition to serving at Woodstock Theological Library, Fr. Tylenda served in a number of other capacities, as a theologian at Woodstock College and Loyola College in Maryland, as an editor of Theological Studies and at the Pontificium Institutum Biblicum, as a minister for the Woodstock Theological Center, and as a contributor to the Encyclopedia of the Encyclopedia of Jesuit History at the Casa degli Scittori.

 

Fr. Tylenda was the author and translator of a number of books found in our library:

A Study in the Eucharistic Theologies of John Calvin and Max Thurian

Portraits in American Sanctity

Brother Saints and Blessed of the Society of Jesus

The Pilgrim's Guide to Rome's Principal Churches

Saints of the Liturgical Year : Brief Biographies

Counsels for Jesuits : Selected Letters and Instructions of Saint Ignatius Loyola

A Pilgrim's Journey : the Autobiography of Ignatius of Loyola

The Imitation of Christ in Four Books : a translation from the Latin

Bountiful Goodness : a Little Garden of Roses & the Valley of Lilies

 

Fr. Tylenda will be dearly missed by his colleagues and friends at Woodstock Theological Library.

Assign to which blog?: 
Woodstock
Header Image: 
Lemons

Lemon encased in acrylycI'm often asked to name the most unusual item in the University Archives collection. My response is sometimes influenced by the records I've most recently worked with but, more often than not, I say it is a lemon. Now as a general rule, fresh produce and archives do not pair well (we have a strict no eating/drinking policy within our spaces, after all).  But this particular lemon is pretty archives-friendly, given that it is entirely encased in an acrylic cube. It is also over 45 years old but looks good for its age, as the acrylic is retarding the decomposition process rather effectively. 

Sadly, there is no documentation in the archives as to who preserved the lemon or who donated it (if you have details, please let us know). It was here when I arrived in 1994. The understanding of the Archives staff is that the lemon played an active role in the lemonstration organized on February 2, 1973. A lemonstration is, naturally, a demonstration involving lemons and during this campus protest, students placed around 6000 lemons against the door to the President’s Office while the Board of Directors was meeting inside. The protest was over proposed increases in tuition and board and also rising enrollments. In case you are wondering how 6000 lemons happened to be available, student vendors organized by the Lemon Day Committee sold them in front of Healy Hall for 5 cents each, with the money raised going to a scholarship fund. These vendors hawked their wares by shouting slogans such as Buy a lemon - Show the Board of Directors your education has gone sour.  Undeterred, the Board approved the increases.  

Lemonstration flyer

Many of the items in the Archives require careful handling because of their age and/or format. Not so the lemon, and its virtually indestructible nature has allowed it to accompany me to many student instruction sessions, presentations, and open houses where it has been passed around, held up to the the light, and closely examined for signs of decay. The presence of the lemon elicits conversation, testifies to the ingenuity and creativity of the Georgetown students who shaped and participated in the protest, and challenges expectations of what you might expect to find in an archives.

Visitors are very welcome to see the lemon "in person" in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections on the 5th floor of Lauinger.

--Lynn Conway, University Archivist

 

Fresh lemon images courtesy © Hans Hillewaert / CC BY-SA 4.0

Assign to which blog?: 
Archives