- 'Peace and Good' in America: A History of Holy Name Province, Order of Friars Minor, 1850s to the Present
Joseph M. White, known for his work on the American diocesan seminaries and on the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, has written a history of the Holy Name Province of the Order of Friars Minor. Commissioned for this project by leaders of the province, he made extensive use of archives in Rome and in the United States. The book maps the origins of the province in nineteenth-century America:Sardinians, who came to western New York in 1855 at the invitation of Bishop John Timon of Buffalo and founded, among other works, St. Bonaventure College [now University]; and Thuringians displaced by the Kulturkampf who came to America in 1875 and assumed pastoral work in the Newark Diocese. In 1901, the leadership of the order organized a new province in America, combining the Germans with a smaller number of English-speaking members who were predominantly Irish in background, under the patronage of the Holy Name of Jesus. In the division of properties and missions, the new province received St. Bonaventure College, together with parishes and friaries in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey.
White characterizes his endeavor as an attempt to write a history of Franciscans "in the context of dramatic changes in both society and the Church. . . . It is a story of constant responses to ever-changing situations"(p. [End Page 353] viii). Because of his familiarity with broader historical themes, White is able to characterize the friars' impact on the life of the Church. Although this book was published internally by the Franciscans, bypassing the usual process of scholarly critique, the author acknowledges the assistance of Christopher Kauffman and others in preparing the text.
The book is divided into four parts, plus an epilogue. Part I covers the diverse origins of the men who were to form the new province and concludes with its establishment. Part II, covering the period from 1901 to 1943, describes the province's growth, its pastoral and educational work (including the assumption of parish work in the U.S. South), the founding of Siena College, and the mission to China. Part IIItakes the story to 1967. They were years in which membership reached nearly 1000, work in the Far East shifted from China to Japan, new initiatives were undertaken in South America, high schools were opened, and pastoral work in the South was expanded to the Caribbean. Part IV examines the work of the friars in the years to 1987, and includes attention to issues of academic freedom and religious sponsorship, and the province's many efforts to address pastoral needs in a global age. The book concludes with an epilogue, "The Refounding Era, 1987-2001,"by Father Dominic Monti, who served as White's principal consultant for this project. The epilogue describes the friars' success at collaborating with lay people in the work of evangelization, their efforts to promote individual renewal, and their adjustment to smaller membership in the province.
'Peace and Good' in America includes a helpful glossary of terms to assist readers unfamiliar with the particular language of Franciscan life. There is an engaging section of over forty photographs that concludes with a somber picture of the body of Father Mychal Judge, chaplain to the New York City Fire Department, being carried from the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The book also contains a numerical table of province membership, and two short indexes of names and ministries which, while helpful, could have been expanded to cover subjects as well. Joseph White has rendered good service to the Franciscans of Holy Name Province and to those wishing to know their story.