Religious Studies Fall2010

During fall 2010, students in the class Latino/Latina Religions are documenting the history of St. Mary’s College for Women and Pre-GED school at St. Matthew’s Cathedral, the Episcopal Cathedral in Dallas, which is experiencing a surge in Latino parishioners. Through work in the archives, interviews with Pre-GED School students and volunteers, and ethnographic work with the parish, the class will produce a history of the church and its programs that will enable the congregation to better understand its multicultural make-up, the historic trends that led to this make-up, and the relationship between the church, its programs and the surrounding community.

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Ellen.jpgAn update from Ellen, a senior psychology major:

Despite the seemingly daunting task the archivist group had ahead of them, these past few visits to the archives at St. Matthew’s Cathedral have truly been eye-opening.

Most recently, our class has discussed the use of history, what history does, and how people make use of their own history. Overwhelmed at first by the large amounts of artifacts, our group has benefited from the fact that these individuals kept everything. The newspaper articles, photographs, school records and much more have provided us with a perfect backdrop of the history of this Cathedral and its students and parishioners.

Upon my most recent visit, I found an interesting newspaper article from 1960. This article spoke of Bishop Benito Cabanban, the first Filipino to be consecrated a bishop of the Church. He came to Dallas to speak at a missionary Mass meeting held at the field house of Southern Methodist University. This gathering allowed bishops to meet and hear from other missionary bishops from around the world. Bishop Cabanban’s story is only one of the numerous groundbreaking firsts at St. Matthew’s Cathedral.

As the semester comes to a close, my hopes for the archive group are to continue to uncover many more remarkable documents and to help write a new chapter in the history of this Cathedral.

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