I had a Howard Carter experience yesterday. My pastor, the parish secretary, and I went up to the rectory attic in search of a spare bookcase for my new apartment. We found one, but that's far from all we found. There's such a treasure trove up there that I unilaterally proclaimed myself parish archivist. No one seemed to think it a bad idea, so the appointment passed by acclamation. Suffice it to say that there's going to be a lot of work ahead, sorting, cleaning, identifying, cataloguing, and bringing order out of chaos. This is one parish that never made a habit of tossing anything into the rubbish tip. ( Deo Gratias! )
Among the few items we brough downstairs were a few copies of a booklet published in 1922, called "During the War". It's a brief account of the parish's contribution to World War I. One hundred seventy seven parishioners served in the armed forces and seven in the Nursing Corps. Two, James Flanigan and Thomas F. Mullen, lost their lives.
The booklet includes several interesting pictures, mostly chaplains, which I've scanned. The one above is Bishop Stritch.
This gentleman was Fr. George Barry O'Toole, a son of the parish. He later served as the first president of the Catholic University of Peking. I posted more about him, HERE.
Fr. Arthur Sawkins looks awfully young in this picture. Another son of the parish, he went on to serve as pastor of Immaculate Conception for more than forty years.
This one has me curious. Fr. M.J. Smith was assistant pastor in the early 1920's. He went on to serve as pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas, in Toledo, and St. Michael, in Findlay. Oddly, he was a chaplain in the Australian army, until suffering the effects of poison gas at the Battle of the Somme. ( Nasty business, that. One of my uncles died from the effects of a gas attack in the Argonne. ) Fr. Smith left the Australian forces with the rank of major. He died in 1949.
Finally, we have Lt. Col. John W. Leonard, a layman who was raised in the parish. He graduated from West Point in 1915 and, during the course of the war, was awarded the Croix de Guerre, the Distinguished Service Medal, and the Legion of Honor. He was second in command of the regiment that represented the United States in the Allied Victory Celebration. Col. Leonard served as a major general in World War II and was present at the crossing of the Rhine at Remagen. I have pictures of him attending Mass at Immaculate Conception, with his mother, in the late 1940's. I'll post them some other time.