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Theology and Ministry Library Exhibits

If Heaven Be Your Destiny! The World of American Catholicism, 1945 - 1965

Images and Artifacts from the John J. Burns Library Liturgy and Life Collection

April 1 - June 1, 2014

Event Poster

This exhibit, drawn from the rich resources of the John J. Burns Library Liturgy and Life collection, seeks to introduce younger Catholics and others to a world of religious piety and worship now lost, or at least less familiar than the one that has defined the U.S. Catholic community of the past half century.

"[The] Catholicism that shaped the lives and memories of millions of children in the 1940s and 1950s was first experienced as a 'vast set of intermeshed habits' (Garry Wills, Bare Ruined Choirs: Doubt, Prophecy, and Radical Religion) that was the American Catholic world of religion…. Indeed, this American Catholic world was a 'total experience' (Wills) not unlike being Amish in Pennsylvania or Mormon in Utah, but stretching coast to coast…."

      --Mark Stephen Massa, The American Catholic Revolution: How the Sixties Changed the Church Forever

The objects and images chosen for inclusion in the exhibit all witness - in different ways - to that pre-Vatican II sense of U.S. Catholicism that "we grew up different" (Wills) from other Americans in part because almost all U.S. Catholics believed that - even as compared with other Christians - heaven was their destiny in a privileged sense.

Heaven Be Your Destiny Catalog (pdf)

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About the Theology and Ministry Library Atrium Gallery

The atrium gallery in the lower level of the Theology and Ministry Library offers approximately 90 linear feet of space along three walls fitted with picture rail. Exhibits are sought which are consistent with the Jesuit mission of Boston College and, more specifically, with the mission and values of the School of Theology and Ministry. 

You can view the archive listing here.