University of Notre Dame

Xaverian Brothers Records


Origination : Xaverian Brothers
Extent : 78 linear feet 2 audio tapes 1 linear foot of photographs 10 linear feet of printed material
Repository : University of Notre Dame Archives
Address : Notre Dame, Indiana 46556

Administrative Information

Restricted by contract

Preferred Citation

Xaverian Brothers Records (CFX), University of Notre Dame Archives (UNDA), Notre Dame, IN 46556

Scope and Content

Office files of the American Province (1875-1960) and of the American Central Province (1960-1974), dossiers (1816-1977), basic documents (1869-1964), financial records (1818-1974), correspondence (1881-1974), and subject files (1896-1973). Correspondents include Martin John Spalding, James Cardinal Gibbons, and many other bishops.

Office files of Xaverian institutions (1820-1974); personal papers of Xaverians (1871-1974); with manuscripts of Brother Aubert Downey's Ryken: Life and Letters and Xaverian Menology, Brother Aloysius's translation of Brother Ferdinand De Muynck's history of the Xaverians, Brother Julian Ryan's Men and Deeds, and Brother Kurt's history of the Xaverian constitutions; photographs and printed material.

Also files generated by the service of Brother Thomas More Page on the Pontifical Commission on Religious Life (1983-1986); consisting of correspondence, agenda, interviews, documentation of meetings, reports, memoranda, white papers, publicity, talks, and cassette audio tapes.

Custody of the archives of the American Central Province of the Xaverian Brothers was transferred to the Archives of the University of Notre Dame in December of 1980. Student workers made container lists and transferred files to new boxes. Archivists put documents in new folders, preserving original folder titles and supplementing them with information placed in brackets. Paper clips and most staples were removed. Printed material, audio-visual material, and photographs were separated from manuscripts. Series were identified and arranged according to provenance insofar as the nature of the manuscripts made such an arrangement practical; within series original order was generally preserved. However, Xaverian institutions were originally divided into two groups -- those that had closed and those still in operation; in the present arrangement, each Xaverian institution has its place in alphabetical order by state, city, and name. Vestiges of the Xaverian alphanumeric filing system remain on some folders (2-letter codes such as OP for "Other Provinces identify certain files); but this system never included all of the folders in the collection, and no attempt has been made to extend it. The last box of the collection (Box 159) contains a description of this alphanumeric filing system.


Summary: The Congregation of St. Francis Xavier (CFX) was founded by Theodore James Ryken in 1839. At the invitation of Bishop Martin John Spalding, Xaverian Brothers came to teach in the Diocese of Louisville in 1854. In 1864, after Spalding had become Archbishop of Baltimore, Xaverians began to open schools in Maryland. The congregation had also established schools in Belgium and England, and in 1875 three provinces were established: Belgian, English, and American. Xaverians founded schools in many American states and in 1960 the American Province was divided in two: the Sacred Heart (or Central) Province and the St. Joseph (or Northeast) Province.

In 1839 Theodore James Ryken, a Dutch Catholic living in Belgium, founded the Congregation of St. Francis Xavier (CFX), known in English-speaking countries as the Xaverian Brothers. Though Ryken intended to found an order dedicated to Catholic education in the United States, the first Xaverian school opened in Bruges, Belgium, 1843. In 1853 Louisville Bishop Martin Spalding invited the Xaverians to open schools in his diocese, and in 1854 the first colony of brothers came to America.

In 1860 Ryken resigned his position as Superior General of the congregation and Brother Vincent Terhoeven replaced him. The same year a second colony of Xaverians came to America. In 1864 Martin Spalding, then Archbishop of Baltimore, asked the Xaverians to open schools there, and they did so.

The congregation had also established schools in England. In 1875 the congregation was divided into three provinces -- Belgian, English, and American. Brother Alexius Vanderwee served as the first American Provincial from 1875 to 1900. Under his administration, American brothers opened schools in New York State, Massachusetts, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

From 1900 to 1907 Brother Dominic served as American Provincial and extended the range of Xaverian activities to include New Jersey, Michigan, California, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. From 1907 to 1925 Brother Isidore Kuppel served as American Provincial; under his authority averians began to operate in the District of Columbia.

During the administration of Brother Paul Scanlan as American Provincial, 1925 to 1928, the pope at last officially recognized the congregation (1927). From 1928 to 1937 Brother Paul Scanlan served as Superior General of the order, the first American to become Superior General of any religious order founded in Europe.

From 1928 to 1934 Brother Osmund Gallagher served as American Provincial; near the end of his administration a Xaverian school opened in Maine. Brother Ambrose Driscoll served as American Provincial from 1934 to 1937 and as Superior General from 1937 to 1953. Brother Edmund McConnell replaced him as American Provincial in 1937 and served until 1944.

Under the provincial administration of Brother Oswald, 1944-1950, Xaverians from America began missionary work in Uganda. Brother Oswald was later elected Superior General (1953).

Brother William Sheehan served as American Provincial from 1950 to 1956 and Brother Nilus Cullen from 1956 to 1962. In 1960 the American Province was divided in two. The American Northeastern Province, also known as the St. Joseph Province, includes the New England states and all of New York State except for New York City and Long Island. The African missions are also under the control of this province. The American Central Province, also known as the Sacred Heart Province, includes the rest of the United States.

Brother Thomas More Page served as American Central Provincial from 1962 to 1965, when he was elected Superior General. Brother Pastor served as American Central Provincial from 1965 to 1968, and Brother Bernard Starkey from 1969 to 1975. Brother Philip Dougherty became American Central Provincial in 1975.

Chronological List of Events

1797/08/30 Xaverian founder T.J. Ryken born, Elshout, Holland
1824/02/20 Alexius Vanderwee, first American Provincial, born Antwerp, Belgium
1826 Ryken nurses the sick in cholera plague, North Holland
1828 Ryken becomes a Trappist lay brother, Alsace, France
1831 Ryken comes to America as a lay catechist
1831-1834 Ryken works among Indians with Father Stephen Badin
1834 Ryken returns to Europe to found order to work in
1839 Theodore James Ryken founds Xaverians Bruges, Belgium
1843 First Xaverian School opens in Bruges, Belgium
1843/12/03 Ryken, Brother Francis Xavier, first invested
1854 Ryken takes vows along with nine others
1854 Louisville Bishop Spalding invites Xaverians to USA
c1854 Novitiate opens in Louisville, KY
1854-1889 Immaculate Conception School operates, Louisville, KY
1854-1911 St. Patrick's School operates, Louisville, KY
1860 Brother Vincent Terhoeven becomes second Superior General
1860 Second colony of Xaverians arrives in America
1860-1872 St. Boniface School operates, Louisville, KY
c1860-1880 Brothers Francis, Stephen, and Dominic, Novice Masters,
1860-1933 St. John's School operates, Louisville, KY
1863- St. Xavier' s High School operates, Louisville, KY
1863-1874 St. Martin's School operates, Louisville, KY
1863-1899 Cathedral School operates, Louisville, KY
1864 St. Xavier' s Institute, first CFX high school, Louisville, KY
1866 Spalding, now Bishop of Baltimore, invites Xaverians
1866-1950 St. Mary's lndustrial School operates, Baltimore, MD
1867-1872 Our Lady's School operates, Louisville, KY
1868-1869 St. Anthony's School operates, Louisville, KY
1868-1872 St. Peter's School operates, Louisville, KY
1872- St. Michael's School operates, Louisville, KY
1872- St. Patrick's School operates, Baltimore, MD
1874-1888 St. Louis Bertrand School operates, Louisville, KY
1875- Mt. St. Joseph College operates, Baltimore, MD
1875 Xaverians establish Belgian, English, American Province
1875-1900 Brother Alexius Vanderwee serves as American Provincial
1876 Novitiate moves to Old Mt. St. Joseph's, Louisville, KY
1878-1893 St. Joseph's School operates, Baltimore, MD
1878-1948 St. James Home operates, Baltimore, MD
1880-1887 Xaverians serve in West Troy, NY
1881-1847 St. Patrick's School operates, Lowell, MA
1881-1923 St Peter's School operates, Richmond, VA
1883 Br Joseph Novice Master, Brs Leonard and Peter assistants
1887 Brother Cajetan serves as Novice Master
1889-1947 St. Mary's School operates, Lawrence, MA
1891 Brother Paul Novice Master, Br. Theodore assistant
1891-1901 Br. Cajetan serves as Master of Aspirants at Juniorate
1891-1907 Juniorate operates at St. John's, Danvers, MA
1891-1913 Assumption School operates, East Boston, MA
1891-1931 St. Mary's School operates, Norfolk, VA
1892-1931 St. Paul's School operates, Portsmouth, VA
1893- St. Joseph's School operates in Somerville, MA
1893-1923 Fitton School operates, East Boston, MA
1894- St. John's operates, Worcester, MA
1896-1897 St. Thomas College operates, Scranton, PA
1897-1933 Central Catholic / Cathedral High School operates, Wheeling, WV
1898 Brother Dionysius serves as Novice Master
1898-1923 Old Point Comfort College operates, Fort Monroe, VA
1899-1915 Brother Chrysostom serves as Superior General
1900 Brother Norbert serves as Novice Master
1900-1907 Brother Dominic serves as American Provincial
1900-1915 Mt. St. Joseph's Industrial operates, Millbury, MA
1900-1923 St. Patrick's School operates, Richmond, VA
1901 Br Basil Novice Master, Brs Theodore and Walter assist
1901-1907 Br. Bernardine serves as Master of Aspirants, Juniorate
1902-1905 Sacred Heart Industrial operates, Arlington, NJ
1902-1929 St. Vincent's School operates, Newport News, VA
1903-1907 St. Joseph's Agricultural operates, Rutherford, CA
1904- St. Joseph Home / CYO Home operates, Detroit, MI
1904-1919 St. John's Industrial operates, Deep River, CT
1904-1931 St. Francis Xavier Manual Training School, Elm Grove WV
1905-1923 St. Agnes Institute operates, Manchester, NH
1907 Brother Theodore serves as Novice Master
1907- St. John's Prep School operates, Danvers, MA
1907-1913 Br. Alexander directs Juniorate seniors at Mt. St. Joseph
1907-1913 Br. Linus directs some Juniorate students at St. John's
1907-1913 Juniorate students at Mt. St. Joseph, St. John's and Old Point Comfort
1907-1925 Brother Isidore Kuppel serves as American Provincial
1908-1972 Leonard Hall Naval School operates, Leonardtown, MD
1908- Working Boys Home operates, Newton Highlands, MA
1908-1937 St. Lawrence Home operates, Louisville, KY
1910-1921 St. James Parochial School operates, Newark, NJ
1911- St. Joseph's College / Prep operates, Bardstown, KY
1911-1915 Paradise Protectory operates, Abbotstown, PA
1912-1913 St. Patrick's High School operates, Washington, DC
1912-1922 St. James School operates, Salem, MA
1913 Brother Alphonse serves as Novice Master
1913-1919 Br. Pacomius serves as Master of Aspirants, Juniorate
1913-1922 Juniorate operates at Old Point Comfort College, VA
1914-1927 St. Mary's High School operates, Clarksburg, WV
1915 Br Sylvan Novice Master, Br Columbianus assistant
1915-1928 Apostolic Mission House operates, Washington, DC
1916-1926 Cathedral High School operates, Wichita, KS
1917- Assumption Academy / St. Francis De Sales, Utica, NY
1917 Brother Julian serves as Novice Master
1917- Camp Calvert operates, Leonardtown, MD
1917-1942 Cathedral School operates, Richmond, VA
1918-1934 Xaverian School operates, Alexandria, VA
1919-1923 Br. Theodore serves as Master of Aspirants, Juniorate
1919-1928 Brother Bernard serves as Superior General
1920- Holy Cross School operates -- first in N.Y. City -- Brooklyn
1921- Sacred Heart Novitiate operates, Fort Monroe, VA
1923- St. Joseph Juniorate operates, Peabody, MA
1923- St. Matthew's Parochial School operates, Brooklyn, NY
1923-1924 St. Edward's College operates, Huntington, WV
1923-1928 Br. Osmund serves as Master of Aspirants, Juniorate
1924-1970 Holy Name Parochial School operates, Brooklyn, NY
1925-1928 Brother Paul Scanlan serves as American Provincial
1926- Keith Academy operates, Lowell, MA
1926- Mission Church High School operates, Roxbury, MA
1926- St. Michael's Diocesan High School operates, Brooklyn, NY
1927 Pope officially recognizes Xaverian Brothers
1928 Br. Jason serves as Master of Aspirants, Juniorate
1928 Paul Scanlan becomes Superior General
1928-1934 Brother Osmund Gallagher serves as American Provincial
1928-1934 Xaverian House of Studies operates, Washington DC
1928-1937 Brother Paul serves as Superior General
1930 Mount Saint Joseph, a Junior College, affiliated with The Catholic University of America
1931 Belgian Province starts colony in Belgian Congo
1931- Xaverian College operates, Silver Spring, MD
1932 Assumption Academy becomes St. Francis De Sales High School
1932- Catholic High School operates, Malden, MA
1933- John Bapst High School operates, Bangor, ME
1934-1937 Brother Ambrose Driscoll serves as American Provincial
1935- St. Theresa's School operates, Brooklyn, NY
1937-1944? Brother Edmund serves as American Provincial
1937-1953 Brother Ambrose serves as Superior General
1940- Our Lady of Good Counsel High School operates, New York, NY
1941- Cardinal Hayes High School operates, New York, NY
1942- Cardinal Hayes Annex operates, New York, NY
1942- Flaget High School operates, Louisville, KY
1944-1950 Brother Oswald serves as American Provincial
1949 American Province starts mission in Uganda
1949- St. Francis Xavier Secondary School, Uganda, Africa
1950-1956 Brother William serves as American Provincial
1952- Archbishop Stepinac High School operates, White Plains, NY
1953/03 Brother Oswald elected Superior General
1954- Mount Loretto operates, Staten Island, NY
?1956-1962? Brother Nilus serves as American Provincial
1960 American Province splits into Central and Northeast Provinces
1960 American Central Province opens schools in Bolivia
?1962-1965 Brother Thomas More serves as American Provincial
?1965-1968 Brother Pastor serves as American Provincial
1965/04 Brother Thomas More elected Superior General
1969-1975 Brother Bernard Starkey serves as American Provincial
1975 Brother Philip Dougherty serves as American Provincial


Xaverian Brothers
Ryken, Theodore James, 1797-1871.
Spalding, M.J. (Martin John), 1810-1872
Gibbons, James, 1834-1921
Downey, Aubert
DeMuynck, Ferdinand
Julian Brother
Kurt, Brother
Page, Thomas More
Catholic Church. Pontificia Commissio de Vita Relgiosa in Statibus Foederatis Americae Septentrionalis.
Monastic and religious life
Monasticism and religious orders
Brothers (in religious orders, congregations, etc.)
Catholic Church -- Bishops -- Correspondence
Account books.

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