Tag Archives: Religious History

Underground RR Project Holding Public History Convention


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Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region will hold its 16th annual public history convention, Liberty Con 2017 – Americans@Risk: Race, Denial, privilege, and Who Matters, on March 24 to 25 at Schenectady County Community College and on March 26 at The Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence in Albany.

Attendees will be able to explore race relations, gender issues, immigration reform, white privilege, and religion, and their relationship with American history. As well as dialogue about action responses through a series of workshops, roundtable conversations, and keynote speakers. Continue reading

Peekskill’s Historic Community of St Mary


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SM Chapel West SideReaders may know that the Roman Catholic Church has numerous religious orders of nuns and monks, but may not know that the Protestant Episcopal Church has them as well. Overall, there are 18 Episcopal religious orders and 14 “Christian Communities” comprised of men, women, or both. This is the story of the Community of St Mary (CSM) and the remarkable religious buildings they had constructed at Peekskill, NY from 1872 to 1963. The order was founded by Sister Harriet Starr Cannon, (1823-1896) its Mother Superior, on the Feast of the Purification of Mary on February 2, 1865 in St. Michael’s Church, 86th Street, New York City, about two months before the close of the Civil War.

Accordingly, it is said to be the oldest Episcopal religious community in the US still in existence (now headquartered in Greenwich, Washington County, New York. Sister Harriet was the temporal head of this community of Protestant Episcopal nuns from its founding in 1865, to her death in 1896. Based on a Benedictine model, the CSM adhered to a simple monastic life centered on prayer, reflection, and service. The forms of service practiced by the nuns of the order have varied over the years and places where they chosen to have a presence. At Peekskill for instance, they operated a high school for girls and the manufacture and sale of “Alter Bread” (aka communion wafers) was one of the CSM’s primary means of self-sustainment. Continue reading

The Burned-Over District and Mexican Revolution


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francisco-i-madero-bhimaWhen Halley’s comet, that star with the quetzal’s tail, flared across Mexican skies in 1910, it heralded not only the centennial of Independence, but a deeply transformative episode, the Revolution launched by Francisco I. Madero on November 20, what Javier Garciadiego calls “the true beginning of a process, the birth of the modern Mexican state.” The great chorus of Mexican historians agrees. And yet, almost unknown and curious as it may sound, a vital taproot of this revolution lies in the Burned-Over District of New York State.

As a writer of both fiction and nonfiction, I have learned to appreciate that fact can be stranger than anything one might imagine. Before returning to the Burned-Over District, a word about Francisco I. Madero and how I came upon his Manual espírita, this until now obscure and yet profoundly illuminating book – at the very least for understanding Madero himself, why and how he led Mexico’s 1910 Revolution, and the seething contempt of those behind the overthrow of his government and his assassination. Continue reading

Lebanon Shaker Museum Plans Peace Weekend


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Shaker MeetingThe Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon will host a weekend of events and programs to commemorate over 200 years of Shaker pacifism, from Saturday, August 29 through Monday, August 31.

The Mount Lebanon Peace Weekend will consist of readings, a brunch and facilitated discussion about Shaker pacifist history, a panel of speakers currently active in the peace movement, and a special walking tour. Continue reading

Catholic Summer School of America Marked


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Catholic Summer School of AmericaOn Sunday, the Catholic Summer School of America in Cliff Haven, in the Town of Plattsburgh, NY, was commemorated with a historical roadside marker.

From 1896 to 1941, the Catholic Summer School of America was a nationally famous summer destination for Catholic families, distinguished leaders of the Catholic Church of America, prominent lecturers, numerous New York governors and even a few U.S. Presidents. Continue reading

George Whitefield: Race and Revivalism


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The Historians LogoThis week “The Historians” podcast features an interview with Jessica Parr, author of Inventing George Whitefield: Race, Revivalism, and the Making of a Religious Icon (Mississippi, 2015). Whitefield was a founding father of American evangelicalism in the 1700s. Parr looks at his missionary career and his effort to reconcile his disdain for some plantation owners with his belief that slavery was an economic necessity in the American South. Listen at “The Historians” online archive here. Continue reading

Upstate Cauldron: Eccentric Spiritual Movements in Early NYS


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Upstate Cauldron - Eccentric Spiritual Movements in Early New YorkJoscelyn Godwin’s Upstate Cauldron: Eccentric Spiritual Movements in Early New York State (SUNY Press, 2015) is an outstanding guide to the phenomenal crop of prophets, mediums, sects, cults, utopian communities, and spiritual leaders that arose in Upstate New York from 1776 to 1914.

Along with the best known of these, such as the Shakers, Mormons, and Spiritualists, Upstate Cauldron explores more than forty other spiritual leaders or groups, some of them virtually unknown. Continue reading

Second Great Awakening in Northern New England


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ben_franklins_worldIn this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Shelby M. Balik, author of Rally the Scattered Believers: Northern New England’s Religious Geography (Indiana University Press, 2014), joins us to explore the New England town-church ideal, how it helped New Englanders organize their towns, and why the post-Revolution migration into northern New England forced New Englanders to change and adapt how they maintained civic and moral order within their communities. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/030 Continue reading