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120BOOK REVIEWS St. Francis Seminary:Sesquicentennial Essays. Edited by Steven M. Avella. (Milwaukee ,Wisconsin: St. Francis Seminary. 1997. Pp. v, 175. Paperback.) These essays were put together to celebrate the sesquicentennial (1995) of St. Francis de Sales Seminary in Milwaukee,Wisconsin. The book is divided into two parts. The first part contains critical history essays byJoseph White, Philip Gleason, and Avella. These essays outline the pre-Vatican Council II history of American Catholic seminary education (White), compare nineteenth-century seminary education in Chicago and Milwaukee (a previously published essay by Gleason), and analyze the reciprocal interaction between the seminary and the regional and urban social world in which it existed (Avella). In the second part current professors at the seminary detail the history of worship and prayer at St. Francis (Michael Witczak), focus upon the significant changes in seminary curriculum during the crucial years from 1969 to 1974 (Stephen Lampe and Barbara Turner), and delineate the origins and development of education for lay ministry from 1972 to the present (Gary Pokorny). There is no overall thesis in the text other than the argument that seminary education in the United States has undergone a host of educational and institutional changes since its establishment in 1790 and that those changes are shaped by and help to shape the Catholic culture and the social world in which Catholic life is experienced. That thesis is illustrated by the experience of St. Francis,which was, at least at the end of the nineteenth century, one of the four most important free-standing Catholic seminaries in the United States. One expects and one gets a good critical and comparative historical analysis of seminary education from White, Gleason, and Avella, but their historical studies extend only to the end of the pre-Vatican Council II era. One wishes that the essays by White and Avella had extended to the present, providing us with a critical analysis of the significant changes in the past thirty years. The three essays that describe the most recent history of the seminary are more descriptive than critical and analytical. At least this reader would like to have seen a more systematic and critical analysis of the limits as well as the benefits of the significant changes in seminary life during the last thirty years. Perhaps we are all too close to those developments to provide a dispassionate examination of their meaning. The essays on the most recent history, nevertheless, are helpful on another level. They describe in some detail the kind of reasoning that went on within the seminaries as they tried to meet the changing needs of the society and the culture in the post-1960's period, and they show concretely the revolutionary and precipitate decline in the number of seminarians and the corresponding rise in lay ministry students. Historians ofAmerican Catholicism will find this a useful volume that hopefully will provide an incentive for further research and examination of the history of other local seminaries. Patrick W. Carey Marquette University ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-0708
Print ISSN
0008-8080
Pages
p. 120
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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