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Young Christian Workers Records

Identifier: YCW

Scope and Content

Correspondence of national headquarters with local YCW groups all over the United States; subject files, training courses, answers to survey questionnaires, financial records, reports, inquiry programs, manuals, mimeographed material, pamphlets, periodicals, photographs, and papers of national chaplain Monsignor Reynold Hillenbrand and Caroline Pezzullo, president of the women's YCW, 1949-1953; with material on civil rights, credit unions, labor unions, Catholic Action, and the international Jocist (Young Christian Workers) movement founded by Canon Joseph Cardijn.


  • Creation: 1938-1971

Language of Materials



An organization of the Catholic lay apostolate for young working people; it had parallel organizations for men and women, a national headquarters, and local groups of leaders who would meet to read scripture, discuss and judge what they had observed in the workplace or neighborhood, and decide how to act to make their community more Christian, according to the teachings of papal encyclicals urging Catholic social action.

The Young Christian Workers organization is the American branch of the Jeunesse Ouvriere Chretienne, an organization founded by Joseph Cardijn, a Flemish Belgian priest who was elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope Paul VI in 1965. The movement,which grew out of Cardijn's interest in young workers, was officially launched in 1924.

In 1938, Msgr. Donald Kanaly organized the first American cell in Ponca City, Oklahoma. Other groups using the "observe, judge, act" method appeared in Chicago, San Francisco, Detroit, and San Antonio. The movements gained added impetus after World War II, when a national headquarters was established in Chicago following the 1947 International YCW Congress held in Montreal. The name of the organization was changed to Young Christians Movement in 1965.


90 linear feet 10 linear inches of photographs

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Patty Crowley and Monsignor Reynold Hillenbrand.

Young Christian Workers Records
University of Notre Dame Archives
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Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Archives Repository

607 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame Indiana 46556 United States
(574) 631-6448