Italian immigrants into the United States represented ethnic/regional and job entitlements. The immigrants originated from different parts of Italy and worked in specific fields and job titles in the native nation. During the period from 1880 to 1915, millions of Italians migrated out of Italy into the US. While in America, the immigrants faced numerous challenges. The immigrants did not understand the English language and had little formal education; therefore, they were forced to take low wage manual labor jobs (Connell 2019). As a result, they were often taken advantage of by the intermediaries who served as go-betweens between them and the potential bosses. Most Italians saw the US as a place that could offer jobs that the unskilled and uneducated Italians peasants like they could do.
Cultural differences and inadequate understandings between immigrants and the United States has been an issue in the country for many years. The number of immigrants who come to the United States has increased annually (Segal and Mayadas 2005, 564), most likely causing growing concern between both parties.
Archbishop Oscar Romero (giant puppet) from the Bread and Puppet Theater’s new production, The Nativity, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador.
When historical pictures are unearthed, these items not only tell us about our past but connects us together as a community. Some of these go a step further and leave messages that inspire and instill worthwhile values such as love, respect and service.
While perusing Marymount Manhattan College’s William Harris Papers, an image of a giant puppet caught my attention. Equally attention-grabbing was the note attached behind the black and white photograph stating the snapshot was from the Bread and Puppet Theater’s new production entitled, “The Nativity, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador.” With such a curious theater group name and an interesting production subject, my interest was piqued.
Baptism Register book from Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church
The image, pictured to the left is a Baptism Register book from Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church. Our Lady of Mount Carmel was the first Catholic community in Queens, organized in 1840 by Father Michael Curran (who later became the first pastor of the Church). The following year, in 1841, the trustees obtained property in Astoria to build the church; it was the first Catholic Church in Queens to have a resident priest, and the first to conduct Mass service in its own building, in 1841 (“History of Our Lady,” n.d.). Some regard Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church or “Mother Church of Queens County” as the oldest parish in Queens. Continue reading →
In the 1850’s, America began to split apart in the wake of the Civil War, and it was because of this impending segregation that Father Isaac Hecker founded the Paulist Fathers in 1858. Hecker believed that the root of America’s troubles was the lack of common religion, and that “there must be a “Church” in America and not denominations, for only this kind of religion could prevent sectional and political differences from leading to hostility”.  With this vision in mind, the Paulist missionary’s set out in an effort to calm the impending war. Continue reading →
The Spiritual Journal of Walter Elliott is a hand-written journal from the late 1800’s that includes many topics of faith, such as blasphemy, mortal sins, hell, death of sinners, and lessons on death, amongst other topics. Walter Elliott was a Roman Catholic priest and missionary of the Saint Paul the Apostle Church. Saint Paul’s is the mother church of the Paulist Fathers, the community we are serving for our Academic-Service Learning project. The Paulist Fathers have housed this document in their archive at St. Paul’s College in Washington D.C. and requested the help of the St. John’s University Department of Library and Information Science Department community in its transcription. In 1891, Walter Elliott wrote Life of Father Hecker, which is a book about the life of the founder of the Paulist Fathers. Walter Elliott was ordained as a priest into the Paulist Fathers Parish in 1872. Continue reading →
A page from the Spiritual Journal of Walter Elliott on the subject of Hell.
This object is part of a six-page excerpt from the Spiritual Journal of Walter Elliott. Walter Elliott, born on January 6, 1842, was one of the first missionaries with the Paulist Fathers, a group dedicated to spreading the word of God and reaching out to immigrant communities, those who are alienated, those who question or seek faith, and people of diverse racial, cultural and economic backgrounds. Elliott was ordained a priest in 1872 and around that same time, authored a spiritual journal where he discussed fourteen individual topics related to religion and Catholic Christianity. Continue reading →