Repository Spotlight: Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (SS.CC) United States Province Archives

On November 15, Stuart Ching, Provincial Archivist for the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (SS.CC.) United States Province Archives, treated AHA members to a tour of the new archives facility at St. Patrick Monastery in Kaimukī.

Provincial Archivist Stuart Ching reads excerpts from a journal chronicling the activities of Sacred Hearts missionaries to Hawai`i.

Provincial Archivist Stuart Ching reads excerpts from a journal chronicling the activities of Sacred Hearts missionaries to Hawai`i.

The Congregation of the Sacred Hearts, a Roman Catholic religious community, was founded in Poitiers, France, in 1800. After establishing schools and parishes throughout France, the male branch of the Congregation embarked on its first foreign mission to the Hawaiian Islands in 1827. Over the next hundred years, the Congregation established churches across the islands, including the Cathedral of Our Lady Peace in downtown Honolulu, Saint Joseph Church in Hilo, and Maria Lanakila Church in Lahaina.

The SS.CC. U.S. Province Archives was established in 2011, when the USA East Province and the Hawai‘i Province of the Congregation were combined. Because Hawai‘i was the older province, it was decided that the archives would be centralized here. In May 2014, the collections of the Hawai‘i Province Archives were moved from Kāne‘ohe to St. Patrick Monastery, where they were combined with boxes of records from the USA East Province. The St. Patrick archives facility, located in retrofitted monastery dormitories, features a climate-controlled processing area, reading room, and storage vault with compact shelving and custom-made light-blocking shades.

Boxes of records entering the provincial archives are frozen at -10 degrees Fahrenheit for three weeks to kill pests and their larvae.

Boxes of records entering the provincial archives are frozen at -10 degrees Fahrenheit for three weeks to kill pests and their larvae.

The collection, which dates from 1825, contains correspondence, photographs and photo albums, scrapbooks, publications, seminary records, journals, plans, chalices, memorabilia, and even relics. It includes material in Hawaiian, Portuguese, English, French, Latin, Italian, and Dutch. Among the collection highlights are carpentry tools, vestments, and other personal objects of Saint Damien De Veuster; journals of early Sacred Hearts missionaries; photographic images of Catholic churches and communities throughout Hawai‘i; early twentieth-century glass plate negatives documenting people and life at the Kalaupapa Settlement on Moloka‘i; and nineteenth-century Catholic Mission Press publications in the Hawaiian language.

Stuart shows us Saint Damien De Veuster’s walking stick, which was made from a guava branch.

Stuart shows us Saint Damien De Veuster’s walking stick, which was made from a guava branch.

The Sacred Hearts U.S. Province Archives is taking measured steps to preserve and access its historical collections. Its goal is to transform itself from a closed-off private repository to a valuable community resource. Scholars and members of the general public are welcome to view the collections by scheduling an appointment with the provincial archivist.

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