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Bishop John T. McNally papers
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Copy of letter from Duncan C. Scott

Item consists of copy of a letter from Duncan C .Scott of the Department of Indian Affairs dated Feb 27, 1919, copied 'Concordat cum originali, Calgariae; die 2 Septembris, 1919 by A.J. Hetherington.

Essay by Noreen Ayers

File consists of 9-page article on Bishop John T. McNally written by his great niece, Noreen Ayer on the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of the Diocese of Calgary in 1987. It seems to be written in response to Monsignor Neville Anderson's article in the Pastoral Reporter, Sept 1987. Includes reminiscences of McNally as a much loved uncle. Also includes two copies and a letter from Fr. Stefan Ganowicz to Bishop Henry dated Nov 17, 1999, enclosing a copy with more family information

McNally, John T., 1871-1952

Medicine Hat

The file contains correspondence related to the dispute between Bishop McNally and the Sisters of Charity of St. Louis over the competence of the sisters as teachers. The Sisters of Charity of St. Louis arrived in Medicine Hat in 1911 and taught in St. Louis Roman Catholic Separate School district. In 1917, Fr. M.F. Fitzpatrick, parish priest of Medicine Hat and superintendent of the Medicine Hat Separate School Board, “reported” that two sisters – one of whom was the principal – “were not capable of teaching.” Fr. Fitzpatrick maintained that the “only way to bring the school up to standard” was for the board to replace the Sister who was the principal with a lay principal. This the board did in March. Apparently, the “effect” of the board’s decision was that “all the parishioners were under the impression that the Sisters were being persecuted by the Bishop and clergy.” J. McCourt, chairman of the board, said that the people blamed the Bishop because Fr. Fitzpatrick had told the board that he was “acting for the Bishop,” but Fr. Fitzpatrick denied having said this to the board. J. Barreau, a member of the board, maintained that the Bishop and his clergy had never persecuted the sisters and that the sisters had behaved “abominably” ever since the hiring of the lay principal. J.A. Landry, Secretary-Treasurer of the board, declared that in 1916, the Sisters had falsely claimed that the board owed them over $400.00 in unpaid wages. He also said that the Bishop had not influenced the board “in its actions with reference to the sisters.”
In the fall of 1917, three sisters resigned from teaching. In April 1918, Sr. St. Gurval, Mother Superior of the Sisters of Charity of St. Louis in Medicine Hat, wrote a letter to Bishop McNally requesting an interview with him. Bishop McNally replied that he could not consider granting Sr. St. Gurval an interview until she provided proof for several “accusations and insinuations” that she had made regarding the Bishop and his priests or, “failing that,” issued a “retraction of and an apology for” the same “accusations and insinuations.” McNally said that he felt himself “obliged” to require these “preliminary steps” from Sr. St. Gurvval “in the name of truth and justice which have been sadly outraged, and for the safeguarding of the authority of God’s holy Church and the dignity of His representatives.”
The file also contains Sr. St. Gurval’s reply to Bishop McNally in French.

In addition, the file contains three documents regarding the legal issues surrounding the construction of St. Patrick’s Church in Medicine Hat.

McNally, John T., 1871-1952

Congregation des Filles de Jesus

File consists of copies of two letters in French from the Congregation des Filles de Jesus to Bishop John T. McNally. Includes one from Sr. Mie. Ste. Osmanne of the Convent at Pincher Creek dated Apr 6, 1918 and the other from Sr. Marie de Ste. Blandine, Superior General in Kermaria, France datedSept 3, 1919. Copied by A.J. Hetherington

McNally, John T., 1871-1952

Department of Indian Affairs

File consists of a telegram (n.d.) and a letter, dated Feb 27, 1919 (a typed copy from the original signed as a true copy by A.J. Hetherington and dated Sept 2, 1919) from Duncan C. Scott, Deputy Superintendent General of the Department of Indian Affairs, to Bishop John T. McNally. The telegram [date?] reads: “Would appreciate letter from you supporting our new measure now before Parliament of compulsory attendance at residential Indian schools.” Below the words of the telegram, there is a handwritten reply from Bishop McNally to Scott, which reads: “Assuredly I approve the idea of compulsory attendance at residential Indian schools, as most promising [agency?] for [forming future civilization and citizenship?]. Various details of act, however, are not yet clear to me. Am leaving for Ottawa, and hope to see you early next week.”
The letter, dated February 27, 1919, is regarding the St. Joseph’s Industrial School at Dunbow. In light of the recent death of Fr. Nordmann, O.M.I., principal of the school, Scott asks Bishop McNally for his “special consideration of the present position of this school.” The Department of Indian Affairs was considering whether the school should be closed. According to Scott, one of the department’s “chief difficulties” at the Indian industrial schools was preventing the students “from being exploited as mere wage earners” and ensuring that they were taught English by “persons who have a thorough command of the language.” Scott writes that if the Bishop will place an English-speaking priest in charge of the school, then the department will “postpone definite action to close the institution” and will “co-operate” with the Bishop in working to increase the school’s attendance and making the school “a vital factor in Indian education.”
The Dominion Government closed St. Joseph’s Industrial School in 1922.

McNally, John T., 1871-1952

Grey Nuns

File consists of correspondence from and relating to the Grey Nuns, 1917-1924. The last document, dated December 30, 1924, is a letter from Sr. St. Agatha of the Grey Nuns’ Convent in Ottawa to Bishop McNally shortly after the latter’s accession to the See of Hamilton.

McNally, John T., 1871-1952

Oblates of Mary Immaculate

File consists of correspondence and other papers pertaining to the relations between Bishop McNally and the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Most of these documents concern Sacred Heart Parish, Calgary and St. Patrick’s Church, Lethbridge.

McNally, John T., 1871-1952


File consists of photographs collected by Bishop McNally of friends, acquaintances, and his houses in Calgary

McNally, John T., 1871-1952


File consists of correspondence from Rome concerning the controversy with Sacred Heart Church, Calgary.

McNally, John T., 1871-1952


File consists of correspondence and other materials regarding the Ursulines from Chatham, Ontario. At the invitation of Bishop McNally, a group of Ursuline Sisters from Chatham arrived in Calgary on September 5, 1921 in order to found a new community that would provide teachers for Catholic schools in the Diocese of Calgary. Bishop McNally wrote that the new community would be “diocesan,” that is, it would exist “exclusively for, and within the limits of the Diocese of Calgary.” A novitiate for the new community was set up at St. Anne’s Convent.


File consists of material related to McNally's time as parish priest at St. Stephen's, Old Chelsea, Archdiocese of Gatineau and at St Mary's, Almonte, Ontario. Includes a letter from Wilfred Laurier congratulating McNally on his appointment to the Diocese of Calgary

McNally, John T., 1871-1952

Sacred Heart School, Calgary

File consists of correspondence and papers related to the Calgary Separate School Board, Bishop John T. McNally, and Sacred Heart School.
In 1915, J.A. Smith, inspector of the public schools, and Fr. A.B. MacDonald, superintendent of the Calgary Separate School Board, both gave unfavourable reports concerning the work of Sr. M. Augustine, an Ursuline of Jesus who taught at Sacred Heart School. Fr. MacDonald wrote: “One cannot tell whether the pupils are working or enjoying high holiday, and cannot tell whether the teacher is working with the holiday makers or with the others.” As a result, the school board did not re-engage Sr. Augustine for the following year.
Some parents were upset about the decision of the school board and circulated various petitions to have Sr. Augustine re-instated. The board was also accused of borrowing $50,000.00 at an annual interest rate of eight percent – an accusation that the board denied. On Thursday, July 22, certain men held a meeting in order to ask the school board to re-instate Sr. Augustine. Fr. A. Jan, O.M.I., pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, attended this meeting as he “had overheard rumors connecting [Bishop McNally’s] name with the decision of the Board.” He told the Bishop later that he had taken “no part whatever in discussion concerning the dismissal of the Sister.”
On Sunday, July 25, 1915, a letter was read at Mass saying that Bishop McNally would address the congregation the following Sunday and that until then parishioners were to refrain from attending any meetings or causing any agitation concerning school matters. Nevertheless, certain parishioners continued to cause such agitation.
On Sunday, August 1, 1915, Bishop McNally gave his promised address. He defended the school board and spoke of their “disinterested work for the best fulfilment of the most sacred trust reposed in them.” He rebuked those parishioners who had been sowing the “seed of discord” by attacking the school board and by continuing to cause agitation despite the bishop’s prohibition. He reminded the congregation that the source of the bishop’s power is divine and that there can be no unity with Christ apart from unity with the bishop.

McNally, John T., 1871-1952

Eucharistic Congress, 1908

File consists of clippings collected, mainly from the Times of London, concerning the nineteenth Eucharistic Congress held in London, England, September 9-13, 1908. Includes programme for the Congress

McNally, John T., 1871-1952

Esler and Huntley

File consists of materials related to Bishop McNally, Catholic barrister P. Harcourt-O’Reilly (see 25th Anniversary of Ordination (15.631)), and two Protestant ministers: Alexander Esler and J. Austin Huntley.
On July 11, 1915, Rev. Alexander Esler of Presbyterian Grace Church gave a sermon to a group of Orangemen in which he declared that the Roman Catholic Church was “behind the [First World] war” and that the “kaiser is the best friend of the Vatican.” P. Harcourt-O’Reilly, Catholic barrister, charged Esler with sedition. According to The Calgary News-Telegram, O’Reilly claimed to be making the charge “on behalf of the Roman Catholics of this city and country.” On July 23, Bishop McNally issued a statement in which he called Esler’s statements “untrue and unjust” but also said that the Catholic Church “as such, has nothing whatsoever to do” with O’Reilly’s “charge and threatened prosecution.” He said that it “is not the teaching of the church or her Divine Master to seek revenge” and that O’Reilly had “in no way consulted the spiritual head of this diocese in the matter in question.” On July 28, O’Reilly wrote to McNally: “My action was in accord with and in support of my rights as a citizen and a British subject without any intention to arrogate to myself the defence of the Catholic Church.” He also said: “As the result of a long and more or less friendly chat with Rev. Mr. Esler yesterday and also with some of the leaders of his church I might say that nothing of the kind will occur again for a very long time.”
On December 16, 1916, Rev. J. Austin Huntley, pastor of First Baptist Church in Calgary, had a letter published in The Calgary Daily Herald in which he was accused the Catholic Church of idolatry. A week later, The Herald published a rebuttal to Huntley’s letter which was simply signed “Catholic.” The author of the rebuttal was P. Harcourt O’Reilly.

McNally, John T., 1871-1952

25th Anniversary of Ordination

File consists of material relating to the 25th Anniversary of Bishop John T. McNally's ordination to the priesthood, including information on the establishment of a Silver Jubilee Fund. Also contains one news article regarding the Golden Jubilee of McNally's priestly ordination, when he was Archbishop of Halifax.

Pastoral visitations

File consists of correspondence between Rev. Arthur J. Hetherington, secretary to Bishop John T. McNally, and priests in the Diocese of Calgary regarding pastoral visitations and administration of the Sacrament of Confirmation by Bishop McNally for the years 1914, 1915, and 1917.


File consists of general correspondence collected by Bishop McNally.

McNally, John T., 1871-1952

Archbishop McNally Masses

File consists of papers relating to Bishop John T. McNally's personal loan to the Diocese of Calgary on December 18, 1938 and the subsequent "McNally Masses".

McNally, John T., 1871-1952


File consists of Bishop John T. McNally's correspondence related to the issue of dances under the auspices of parishes or Catholic societies. Includes publication 'Un Sujet de Meditation: La Danse et Les Bals' by Bishop Mathieu Elzear-Olivier of Regina and one newsclipping. Some material in French

McNally, John T., 1871-1952


File consists of a collection of translated copies of records submitted by Bishop John T. McNally to the Sacred Consistorial Congregation in Rome as allegations against the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in his dispute against them. Material has been translated into Italian from English originals. Location of the originals unknown. English translation available for some of the allegations.

McNally, John T., 1871-1952

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