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Father Michael Walsh:
On History’s Doorstep

I love answering questions. But what I love even more is caring for Maryknoll’s history and heritage.

My job is Society Curator, a post I’ve held since 2001 after returning home from China. I supervise and curate Maryknoll’s official records and archival material here in Maryknoll, NY.

Each day is different because I never know “who” will be asking me for “what.” Here’s a good example. Not long ago, I received a request from an official representing an area in China where Bishop James E. Walsh had been assigned. Ordained a Maryknoll priest in 1915, Bishop Walsh served on the mainland and Hong Kong for some 40 years. During the Communist revolution, he was imprisoned on charges of spying. I was told if Maryknoll could provide the necessary documentation, the government would return his mission property to the Church. I found the deeds and the property was returned.

More typical of my curating are questions or research requests that come from the members of Maryknoll’s General Council, our leadership team. Sometimes we get requests connected with an ordination or an anniversary—or an educational display in our Mission Museum, which is open to the public.

 

I also receive requests for historical documentation from scholars and academics. They are most often interested in the diaries of our early missioners who served in China and other mission outposts. Up until the mid-1960s, keeping a diary was a requirement of our missioners. Their first-person stories are among our most treasured records.

“I often tell visitors that Maryknoll’s history is a chapter in Church history that belongs to the world.”

As I see it, there are three cornerstones to good curating: preservation, intellectual control, and availability. My goal is to preserve and protect every photograph, diary, and document in our possession, catalogue it properly, and make it available as best we can.

To make sure we are protecting history for future generations, my staff and I work in a climate-controlled environment. When we receive new materials, we remove rubber bands, staples, and plastics, and put things in acid-free file folders. Photocopying is on acid-free paper, and we write things in pencil because inks have acid. Whenever we can digitize something, we do. We also have records in storage for safekeeping.

Curating is history, and right now our curating is helping to advance several causes for canonization, notably of our co-founders, Bishop James A. Walsh, M.M. and Father Thomas F. Price, M.M.; Bishop Patrick J. Byrne, M.M.; Bishop Francis X. Ford; and Father Vincent Capodanno, M.M. The road to sainthood is long but it passes right through archives.

I often tell visitors that Maryknoll’s history is a chapter in Church history that belongs to the world—and that includes you, our faithful partner in mission.

Thank you for making history by supporting our work and praying beside us. Your gifts are the foundation of mission and the heritage we pass on to all the good souls who follow in our footsteps.

~ Father Michael Walsh, M.M.

Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers
P.O. Box 302
Maryknoll, NY 10545-0302
888.627.9566

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Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers will not sell, rent or exchange your data with other organizations.

The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers (Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, Inc.) is a tax exempt non-profit organization incorporated in the State of New York. Tax ID # 13-1740144.

ABOUT MARYKNOLL

We are a Catholic Society of priests and brothers based in the United States. We are dedicated to missionary work overseas in over 20 countries. Additionally, we animate Catholics in the United States to follow their own baptismal call to share God’s compassion and love with the poor, the sick, and all those in need.

OUR GENERAL COUNCIL

L-R Tom O'Brien, Ray Finch, Joe Everson, Russ Feldmeier

(Fr. Tom O’Brien, Fr. Ray Finch, Fr. Joe Everson, Fr. Russ Feldmeier)

The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers is overseen by our General Council, led by Superior General Fr. Ray Finch.

OUR FOUNDERS

L-R Tom O'Brien, Ray Finch, Joe Everson, Russ Feldmeier

(Our Co-Founders Father Price and Father Walsh)

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EVANGELIZATION, PARISHES, AND PROJECTS

USA

STORIES OF MISSION

(Africa) Education and Formation of African Clergy

The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers Africa Region will provide tuition assistance to African clergy, male and female religious at institutes of higher education or specialized training. Read More

Stories of Our Global Mission

The calling of a lifetime

The life of a Maryknoll missioner is challenging, fulfilling, and deeply rewarding. Follow your baptismal call to mission by sharing God’s compassion with the poor, the sick, and people most in need.

ASSOCIATE PROGRAM

Enrich your own vocation, walk-in solidarity with people overseas, and work together with Maryknoll Missioners. We offer US priests and Brothers ordained elsewhere the opportunity to work in overseas missions.

L-R Tom O'Brien, Ray Finch, Joe Everson, Russ Feldmeier
“Go where you are needed but not wanted, and stay until you are wanted but not needed.”
– Bishop James E. Walsh, M.M.
First Maryknoll Bishop
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