Saturday, April 1, 2017

Fordham University

See pages 359, 360 and 386 for the foundation of St John's College in 1841 and the transfer of its administration to Jesuits in 1846. Somewhere I have read that the name "Fordham" referred rather to an estate along the Harlem River and that Rose Hill, the 106-acre purchase made by Bishop Hughes in 1839, was at the east end of the estate. See pages 111 and 132 for references to the first diocesan synod, held at St John's College, Fordham, in 1842. In 1905, the Jesuits renamed the college Fordham. Thomas Shelley's book, the Bronx references of which I am here indexing, is rich with footnotes. See footnote #14 on page 360 for a helpful history of Fordham University. Page 421 has a photo of Keating Hall. Page 522 refers to the San Juan Fiesta at Rose Hill in 1956. Page 598 reminds the reader that The Bronx was honored with its own cardinal in 2001, Cardinal Avery Dulles, .S.J., residing at Fordham University.
In 2008, I wrote the above paragraph. In January, 2017, I had the good fortune to find in the Nassau Library System a copy of "Fordham: A History of the Jesuit University of New York: 1841-2003" by Msgr. Thomas J. Shelley, Emeritus Professor of Church History at Fordham University, the same historian who wrote the Bicentennial History (with the page numbers I have been referring to throughout this blog on Bronx parishes).
Msgr. Shelley's 500-page history of the university is fascinating, insightful, and full of details and intriguing anecdotes. The author excels in placing university events in the context of New York, political, and church history. The quotes are good: Alban Butler, Church history is largely the story of quarrels between two good men. And Martin Spalding, on religious orders: too much esprit de corps and too little Catholic spirit.
One must remember that the university chapel was originally (in some form before renovations) the parish church of Our Lady of Mercy.

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