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HIS EMINENCE, CARDINAL SAMUEL STRITCH, HOLY NAME CATHEDRAL

This airmail cover had the full set of the Sesquicentenary of the City of Newcastle, N.S.W. stamps, the red 2½d Lt. John Shortland, the blue 3½d Steel Foundry and the green 5½d Coal Carrier Cranes. Additional postage were the orange ½d Roo and the brown 6d Kookaburra, and all were cancelled ADELAIDE/ 4 NO 47/ STH. AUST. It was addressed to His Eminence, Cardinal Stritch, Holy Name Cathedral, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America. The rverse was not seen (Figure 1).

Samuel Alphonsius Stritch (August 17, 1887-May 27, 1958) was an American Prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Chicago from 1940 to 1958, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1946. He was born in Nashville Tennessee, one of 8 children, two brothers and and five sisters, to Garrett Stritch ( the manager of Sycamore Mills in Nashville) and Catherine Malley, both of Irish ancestry, and he was ordained a priest in 1910.

Stritch was considered something of a prodigy in his early schooling and he entered St. Gregory’s Preparatory Seminary in Cincinnati and graduated with a BA in 1903. He then travelled to Rome to study at the Pontifical Urbanian Athenaeum De Propaganda Fide. At the age of 34 he was the youngest Bishop in America. In succession he was appointed Bishop of Toledo, Ohio (1921), Archbishop of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (1930) and Archbishop of Chicago, Illinois (1940). In Milwaukee he was active in providing support to victims of the Great Depression. In November 1939 he was elected Board Chairman of the National Catholic Welfare Conference, the predecessor of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Stritch was made Archbishop of Chicago on December 27, 1939, being formally installed on January 3, 1940. He was the personal choice of Archbishop Amleto Cicognani for the post, although President Roosevelt was reputed to have wanted Bishop Bernard Sheil instead. Pope Pius XII created him Cardinal Priest of Sant’Agnese fuori le mura. As archbishop, Stritch oversaw the establishment of the first American Chapter of Opus Dei, the launching of the Christian Family Movement and an outreach to the Puerto Rican community.

In July 1954 he issued a pastoral letter strongly exhorting Catholics to abstain from the Assembly of World Council of Churches at Evanston, writing, "The Catholic Church does not...enter into any organisation in which the delegates of many sects sit down in council or conference as equals... She does not allow her children to engage in any activity...based on the false assumption that Roman Catholics, too, are still searching for the truth of Christ", inciting the dismay of Protestant and ecumenical figures. However, earlier in 1943 he had attended a Peace Program held by the American Protestant, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Jewish leaders.

He was elevated to Cardinal on February 18, 1946 and served as Archbishop until his death. On March 1, 1958 he was appointed Pro-Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of Faith, thus becoming the first American to lead a dicastery of the Roman Curia. In May 1958 a blood clot required that the Cardinal’s right arm to be amputated above the elbow, and he suffered a stroke on May 18 and died eight days later, at the age 70. After laying in State at the North American College and the Cathedral of Holy Name, he was interred in the Bishops’ Mausoleum at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Hillside on June 3, 1958. A picture of Cardinal Stritch is seen in Figure 2.

 

 

 
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