Monday, December 12, 2011

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Charity / Volunteer Work

Prompt for December 12:
Charitable / Volunteer Work-

Did your family ever volunteer with a charity such as a soup kitchen, homeless or battered women's shelter during the holidays? Or perhaps were your ancestors involved with church groups that assisted others during the holiday?

I wasn't really quite sure about how I would answer this prompt, until I remembered the photo to the left. It was taken around 1932 of my paternal grandmother's father, Frederick Henry Massmann. According to The American Catholic Who's Who, Volume 7 (1946 and 1947, page 300), he was named a Knight of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great in 1932 by Pope Pius XI. The honor can be bestowed on those who, by "the renown of their deeds or the degree of their munificence, are deemed worthy to be honoured by a public expression of esteem on the part of the Holy See.”

Recently my parents hired a genealogist in the Chicago area to do some more research on the reasons he received this honor.  According to Edward R. Kantowicz in Corporation Sole: Cardinal Mundelein and Chicago Catholicism (page 177):
At the Holy Name Society Mass in the cathedral on New Year's Day, 1928, Cardinal Mundelein announced that "a vocation school for boys who have made a misstep and who deserve another chance" would be built near Lockport, Illinois, and named Holy Name Technical School... Mundelein asked the Holy Name men to raise the funds to build the school, and he planned to have the Catholic Salvage Bureau subsidize its operations and upkeep.  Frederick Massman [sic], a Holy Name officer, donated $5,000...
Although he was actually named a Knight on May 21, 1931, Massmann wanted to be invested on the opening day of Holy Name Technical School (now Lewis University), on May 30, 1932.  Apparently the opening was a very big deal, with a crowd of over 50,000 in attendance and airplanes flying over.

Massmann was also very involved in the establishment of the Catholic Youth Organization and with the Boy Scouts in Chicago, Illinois.  According to an article in the May 29, 1932, Chicago Daily Times, sent to me by Brother Bernard Rapp, FSC, Director of University Archives, Lewis University, Massmann was made a Knight "in recognition of his benevolent work for boys."

Pictured above, the Knights of St. Gregory the Great uniform is described as a "dark green tail coat and trousers, both trimmed with silver embroidery, a cocked hat and dress sword: white gloves are worn." Detail of the sword can be seen here and detail of the badge here.

(Post #12 in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories hosted by Originally published December 12, 2009;  major additions were made this year and in 2010.)

© Amanda Pape - 2011 - click here to e-mail me.

1 comment:

  1. Great picture! And I would add that all your teaching and sharing of resources is sort of like volunteer work! And being a docent on the courthouse.