THOMAS CARDINAL TIEN KEN-SIN (1890-1967)

Visits Notre Dame and Brothers’ Provincial Council, c. September, 1954

China’s first Roman Catholic cardinal (installed 1946) made a visit to the University of Notre Dame in 1954.  During this visit, he was photographed with the Provincial Council of the United States Province of Brothers and other brothers.  Picture with Cardinal Tien from left to right, first row are: Brothers Bonaventure Foley, Ephrem O’Dwyer (Provincial), Gerard Fitz (Superior of Columba Hall), Cardinal Tien, Ernest Ryan and Sabinas Herbert; in the second row are: Brothers Flavius Ellison, Reginald Juszczak, John Chrysostom Ryan and Kenan Judge.

In a letter to Brother Ernest Ryan from Miss Lida (sometimes Lyda) O’Neill, the niece of Brother Columba O’Neill, his younger brother Dennis’ daughter, dated October 3, 1954, she thanks Brother Sabinas Herbert for the two “special badges [Sacred Heart] blessed by Cardinal Tien”. Brother Sabinas was then the director of the Brother Columba Apostolate.

The Midwest Province Archives houses fifteen letters written by Brother Columba’s niece to him, beginning in 1913 and continuing through November 16, 1923 – Brother Columba died on November 20, 1923. 

She wrote another fifteen letters between 1923 and 1955 to Father O’Donnell (two letters in 1923 and 1924); Brother Alban Flaherty (one letter in 1926); Brother Ernest Ryan (five letters in 1933 and one in 1948); and Brother Sabinas Herbert (four letters in 1954 and one in 1955).

Brother Ernest was seeking information about Brother Columba’s early life that he might include in his biography These Two Hearts. Brother Sabinas was seeking information about “cures and favors received” through the intercession of Brother Columba to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

2 thoughts on “

  1. Brothers: I’m on a hunt for the “why” of Cardinal Tien’s visit to the Presentation Sisters’ motherhouse in Dubuque Iowa during the tenure of Archbishop Rohlman. I came upon a group photo of all the sisters in the habits of the time @ their former mother house (1229 Mt Loretto Ave in Dubuque). + Rohlman was in office 1946-1954, and since + Tien was at Notre Dame c. Sep 1954, he may have also wanted to visit the local SVDs; St Rose Priory was dedicated two years after + Rohlman left ofc (?died?), maybe its beginning was 1954 and … he then visited all the motherhouses in the area? St Rose is now ‘Emmaus Bible institute’ but the order is outside Dubuque in Epworth.

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