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Home | Archives & Records | Local Catholic History | Holy Things, Holy People Email, Print, Bookmark and Share

Holy Things, Holy People

In 2010, the renowned British Museum in London produced a series of podcasts entitled "The History of the World in 100 Objects." The series traced the progress of humanity by exploring objects in the British Museum, from a Stone Age chopping tool to a solar-powered lamp. With this series of bulletin inserts from St. James Cathedral, we explore the story of the growth of the Catholic Church in the Pacific Northwest through significant objects found in local archives, including the Archives of the Archdiocese of Seattle, Providence Archives, Seattle University, and others.
Issues 21 - 30
28. United Farm Workers Letter
In 1968, Archbishop Connolly took an active role in supporting the human rights struggle for migrant farm workers by endorsing the United Farm Workers Association boycott of California grapes. This letter, sent by leaders Cesar Chavez and Pete Velsaco, thanks Connolly for his support during the 5 year boycott.
27. Scrapbook from the Catholic Seamen's Club
A scrapbook packed with newspaper clippings attests to the active ministry of the Catholic Seamen’s Club in Seattle.
26. Bell of Sacred Heart in Seattle
The story of the sometimes maligned bell from the second Sacred Heart parish in Seattle (and its nearly indestructible bell tower!).
25. Nails of the First Sacred Heart Church
Almost all that remains of the first Sacred Heart Church in Seattle are these two “sixteenpenny” iron nails taken from the smoking ruins of the church after it was destroyed by arson fire in the early hours of March 19, 1899.
24. Whidbey Island Cross
In the 1840s, a huge cedar wood cross was erected on Whidbey Island by local Native people and blessed by Québécois missionary, Father François Norbert Blanchet, later Bishop of Oregon City (and also brother of our first bishop, Augustin-Magloire Alexandre Blanchet). A fragment of this cross survives today, the only tangible link to the vanished island mission.
23. Pectoral Cross of Monsignor Préfontaine
Father F. X. Préfontaine was given this gold "pectorale," a cross worn over the heart by the Holy Father, bishops, and other high ranking clergy, when he was made a monsignor by Pope Pius X in honor of his years of extraordinary service to the Church. Préfontaine was one of the pioneer priests of this diocese and the man who brought the Catholic faith to the fledgling 19th Century port town of Seattle.
22. Letter from Dorothy Day of the "Catholic Worker"
A handwritten note from Dorothy Day to Bishop Shaughnessy from 1946 illustrates the mutual support and esteem between our fourth bishop and the social activist from New York who worked so tirelessly for the down and out during the Great Depression.
21. Sedes Sapientiae statue from St. Edward's Seminary
This statue is from one of the student rooms at St. Edward’s Seminary. The damage to her crown was sustained in an earthquake in 1965.

Issues 11 - 20
20. Msgr. Theodore M. Ryan's Rosary and Napkin Rings
These simple items help to recount the story of a important leader in the history of this diocese: Monsignor Ryan, the first native Seattleite to be ordained a priest and Bishop O'Dea's right hand man during a time of astonishing growth in the local Church.
19. Profession Cross of Sister Judy Ryan, SNJM
This tiny devotional item leads to a larger conversation about the history of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary and the story of one of the Seattle community, Sister Judy Ryan.
18. Christmas Card from Camp Minidoka
During the U.S. internment of Japanese in World War II, Marynoll priest Fr. Leo Tibesar accompanied several hundred of his parishioners from Our Lady Queen of Martyrs church in Seattle to the Minidoka War Relocation Center in Jerome County, Idaho, where he sent this Christmas card to Bishop Shaughnessy on December 16, 1942.
17. Painting of the Japanese Martyrs
In 1930, missionary priest John Murrett MM founded a Marynoll church for Seattle's Japanese and Filipino Catholic communities and named it Our Lady Queen of Martyrs. This painting, once hung in the church, vividly depicts the martydom of Catholic missionaries in 17th Century Nagasaki after whom the church was named.
16. Seattle College Memorabilia
An issue of the "Seattle College Journal" from 1903 and an "SC" sweater treasured by an alumnus provide a starting point for an interesting discussion of Seattle University's early history.
15. Trowel for Laying the Cornerstone of St. James Cathedral
The Sterling silver trowel used by Bishop O'Dea for the cornerstone ceremony at our cathedral in 1905 is one of the unique treasures of local Catholic history found in the Archives of the Archdiocese of Seattle.
14. Chinook and Yakama Grammers Published in Montreal
"The Missionary’s Companion on the Pacific Coast" and "Alphabet Yakama," published in Montreal in 1871 and 1872, enabled missionaries to share basics of the Catholic faith with native peoples in their own languages.
13. Statue Made by the Carmel of Seattle
One of the humbler, but no less interesting, treasures at St. James Cathedral is a statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel dating from 1960. Pull the pearl on her sleeve to reveal a hidden message!
12. Bishop O'Dea's Bell
Bishop Edward O’Dea served as Bishop of Seattle from 1896 until his death on Christmas Day, 1932. His extraordinarily long tenure makes him a towering figure in the history of the Catholic Church in the Pacific Northwest.
11. Mother Joseph's Child Jesus
Mother Joseph, in addition to being a skilled architect and carpenter, was also an ingenious crafter of other articles: vestments, altar linens, and wax statues, such as this one of the infant Christ.

Issues 1 - 10
10. Princess Angeline's Rosary
A devotional object belonging to the eldest daughter of Si'ahl (Seattle), chief of the Duwamish people, was given to Father F. X. Préfontaine after her death in 1896 and is now on loan to Seattle's Museum of History and Industry.
9. Souvenir Pamphlet for Bishop Blanchet's Golden Jubilee
Probably the only extant copy of the 52-page commemorative booklet describing the extraordinary 1871 celebration of our first bishop's 50th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood.
8. Bell of Our Lady of Good Help Church
The bell of Seattle's first Catholic church was rung in February 1886, summoning the Seattle Home Guard and the Seattle Rifles to restore order during anti-Chinese immigration riots on Seattle's waterfront.
7. Thurible of Father Chirouse
Oblate priest Eugene Casimir Chirouse, known as "the apostle of Puget Sound," made and used this censor in liturgical celebrations at the Lummi and Tulalip missions in the 1850s and 1860s.
6. Tabernacle by Mother Joseph
The tabernacle which Mother Joseph created out of a wooden candle box in 1857 is one of many treasures housed at Providence Archives in West Seattle.
5. Portrait of the Five Foundresses
A composite portrait from Seattle's Providence Archives of Mother Joseph and 4 other Sisters of Providence. In 1856, these courageous women travelled overland on a five-week journey from Montreal to Vancouver and established schools and hospitals throughout what is now Washington State.
4. Circular Letter for Bishop Blanchet's Begging Tour of Mexico
Because of unrest in Europe, funds expected from Rome to help finance Bp. Blanchet's fledgling diocese were held up. In response, he went on a "begging tour" of Mexico in 1851, where the generous bishops collectively donated $30,000 in money and other goods.
3. Whitman Massacre Pamphlet
Father Brouillet's 1853 account of the Whitman Massacre, “Protestantism in Oregon: Account of the Murder of Dr. Whitman, and the Ungrateful
Calumnies of H. H. Spalding, Protestant
Missionary, by the Rev. J. B. A. Brouillet, Vicar-General of Walla Walla.”
2. Bishop Blanchet's Oregon Trail Diary
Bishop AMA Blanchet’s diary documents his overland journey from Montreal to his new Diocese of Walla Walla, Oregon Territory in 1847. It is one of many treasures of Pacific Northwest Catholic history housed in the Archives of the Archdiocese of Seattle.
1. The Catholic Ladder
Bishop Francis Norbert Blanchet developed this innovative evangelical tool to convey the essentials of Catholic teaching not only in a short time, but in a way that could be readily understood and imparted to others.

The Catholic Ladder
This Catholic Ladder was drawn by F. N. Blanchet in 1840. It is housed at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland.
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