This Week in Fordham History

There is no better way to start the week than with a ‘blast from the past!’ Read on to find out why Fordham University appeared in the New York Times ninety-nine years ago this week!


March 3, 1917 The New York Times

March 3, 1917 The New York Times

The New York Times reported on Rev. Father Terrence J. Shealy, a member of Fordham University faculty.   Father Shealy gave a sermon at the Church of the Holy Name entitled “On the Gospel as the call to doing and not primarily to the avoidance of dont’s.” Father Shealy said to the congregation, “There is too great a tendency to justify life by negative justification. Men are forever asking what they have done against God and His Christ and rarely ask themselves what they have done for God and His Christ.”

Father Shealy

Rev. Father Terrence J. Shealy

Father Terrence J. Shealy was the director of sociological work and a lecturer in jurisprudence at Fordham University Law School in 1917. He was also the head of the special spiritual retreat work for laymen. The retreats were held at the Mount Manresa Jesuit Retreat House on Staten Island, a location which Father Shealy himself picked out.

Although the article focuses on the work and sermon of Father Shealy it also discusses the new and innovative field of social services. Sociological work began at Fordham University in 1908 and then spread to forty other centers across the country. The New York Times writes, “Social service in New York is fast becoming a profession, Father Shealy said, and is now recognized as part of university study. It has its own terminology, its own special scientific object, that of writing its own literature, and is more and more being formulated into a strict science.” Fordham took up sociology because of the present need in New York City. In 1917 there were  10,000 vacant social service positions (with a yearly salary of $600 to $10,000).

Father Shealy unfortunately developed cancer and passed away in Manhattan in 1922.

To find out more about Rev. Father Terrance J. Shealy and the Mount Manresa Jesuit Retreat House you may want to read The American Image Series: Mount Mareas, New York by Historian Thomas Matteo. 

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