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Reynold Hillenbrand Papers

Identifier: MRH

Scope and Content

Account books, agenda, bibliographies, book orders, brochures, bulletins, calendars, chaplains' manuals, circulars, clippings, compositions, contracts, correspondence, curricula vitae, drafts of booklets, drafts of manuals, essays, examinations, financial papers, interviews, itineraries, lectures, lists, liturgical music, maps, meditations, memoranda, mimeographed handouts, minutes, newsletters, notebooks, notes, outlines, pamphlets, poems, policy manuals, prayers of the faithful, proceedings, programs, promotional publications, proposals, regulations, reports, reprints, resolutions, retreat notes, sermons, songs, statutes, surveys, talks, training courses, tape recordings, and photographs; concerning Hillenbrand's career as a seminarian, rector, pastor, liturgist and chaplain.

I. Seminary

(A) Notebooks from Hillenbrand's student years (1924-1931) at Quigley and St. Mary of the Lake Seminaries for courses in English, German, French, Hebrew, poetry, philosophy, apologetics, scripture, theodicy, psychology, liturgy, precepts, dogma, canon law, homiletics, moral theology, and patrology; notes from classes, notes for talks and sermons, and notes for Hillenbrand's M.A. thesis; examinations, compositions, resolutions, meditations, correspondence, and mimeographed handouts.

(B) Correspondence, book orders, and notes from his year as a teacher of English on the Quigley Seminary faculty (1932-1933). One folder of notes and financial papers from his years on the Diocesan Mission Board (1933-1936).

(C) A notebook of meditation and self-examination (1935-1936); retreat notes and notes for sermons from his years as rector of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary (1936-1944) concerning prayer, salvation, sin, the rosary, birth control, purity, mixed marriages, Catholic Action, Mary, purgatory, the annunciation, Christmas, Easter, the ascension, the Mystical Body, confession, mercy, mortification, the Little Flower, the promises of the Sacred Heart, the Eucharist, and racial discrimination; records of his administration concerning the college charter, management, accreditation, curriculum, Jesuit faculty, sixth-year program, and rules; notes of the course he taught in Liturgy and mimeographed handouts and examinations from his poetry course; bibliographies and book orders; a manuscript sent to Hillenbrand for criticism and correspondence concerning it; and documents concerning the controversy between the Catholic printing firm Gardenvale Press and labor unions raising the question of whether seminary business should be given to a non-union shop.

II. Catholic Action

(A) Records of the Summer School of Social Action for Priests at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary (1938-1940) consisting of financial papers, account books, lists of participants, notebooks, bibliographies and mimeographed textbooks; notes, outlines, correspondence, and mimeographed handouts concerning other schools of Catholic Action including the Waukegan Labor School, Detroit Priest's School of Social Action, San Antonio School of Social Justice, and Cathedral Labor School; with information on Communism, the CIO, Bishop Bernard Sheil, credit unions, labor unions; representing the work of Fr. John F. Cronin, SS, Fr. Daniel A. Lord, SJ, Fr. Gerald Ellard, SJ, Fr. Desmond Schmal, SJ, and Msgr. George G. Higgins. Records of Hillenbrand's work as an arbitrator of labor disputes (1940-1945) and documents showing his interest in organized labor, the National War Labor Board, and fair employment practices (1938- 1948).

(B) Records of Hillenbrand's service as national chaplain of movements of the specialized lay apostolate, consisting of office files from the Chicago headquarters of these organizations:

(1) general lay apostolate files (1939-1976) including bibliographies, songs, essays, reprints, mimeographed notes, bulletins, pamphlets, notes for talks, clippings, programs, minutes, reports, and financial papers; concerning anti communism, Cana conferences and preparation for marriage, affiliation with the Family Life Bureau of the National Catholic Welfare Conference, the Coordinating Committee of Movements, the Executive Committee of CFM, San Miguelito Mission, public schoo1s, interracial justice, the Mystical Body, Catholic Youth Organizations, Friendship House, the Grail, the International Conversation on Apostolic Action, migrant workers, the National Catholic Social Action Conference, the National Council of Catholic Men, the National Council on Catholic Youth Work, world federalism, world justice and peace, conscientious objection, labor unions, the Second Vatican Council and the lay apostolate, and meetings and study weeks for priests, seminarians, and movement leaders; with correspondence from Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Albert Cardinal Meyer, John Cardinal Cody, Francis Cardinal Spellman, A.G. Cardinal Cicognani, Archbishop Joseph T. McGucken, Bishop Victor J. Reed, Bishop Cletus F. O'Donnell, Msgr. Paul F. Tanner, Fr. John Hill, and Kathy Sullivan;

(2) Christian Family Movement files (1952-1979) including newsletters, articles, reports, drafts of manuals, notes for talks, proposals, programs, liturgies, agenda, minutes, memoranda, circulars, and correspondence; concerning area conventions, the chaplain's manual, chaplains' meetings, study weeks, the coordinating committee, the executive committee, the program committee, the Foundation for International Cooperation, Frank Jordan, Msgr. George Kelly, Fr. W. Nerin, and the case of Fr. Edward Kohler;

(3) Young Christian Student files (grade school, high school, and college, 1944-1968) including articles, correspondence, programs, promotional publications, reports, notes for talks, training courses, bulletins, songs and notebooks; concerning executive committee meetings, national advisory committee meetings, conventions, study weeks, chaplains, race relations, liturgy, education, international concern, peace and the lay apostolate, the African and American Student Program, and the Starting Point Program;

(4) Young Christian Worker files (1940-1976) including reports, chaplains' manuals, interviews, bulletins, financial papers drafts of booklets, articles, agenda, minutes, notes taken by Hillenbrand, contracts, statutes and regulations, the YCW manifesto, mimeographed material, programs, clippings, forms, and brochures; concerning conventions, council meetings, study weeks, training courses, the Commission for International Development, recruitment of full-time organizers, planning, appointments, the International Executive Committee, the International Council, organizers' meetings, officers' meetings, pilgrimages to Rome, the planning committee, and the Rural Life Program; with correspondence from Bill and Jo Cosby, Ines Alfonso, Teddy Horn, Adan Londono, S.J., Jean Pew, Caroline Pezzullo and Patrick Keegan.

III. Sacred Heart Parish

Records dating from 1897-1977, chiefly concerning Hillenbrand's years as pastor (1944-1974); consisting of correspondence, notes for talks and sermons, prayers of the faithful, directions for priests, sisters, servers, readers organists and ushers, clippings, book orders, financial papers, calendars, minutes, circulars, liturgical music, lists of parishioners, and school enrollment lists; concerning the welcoming of newcomers, community life, parish furnishings, buildings and grounds; Masses, sacraments, funerals; Christmas, Lent, Holy Week, Easter, Founder's Day, Thanksgiving; grace, heaven, the Holy Family, the Divine Office, Dives and Lazarus, humility, Teilhard de Chardin, the lay apostolate, persecutions and heresies, birth control; Christ's use of similes, stories, illustrations, and short sentences; the Overseas Aid Fund, Sunday envelopes, government support for parochial schools, adult education, C.C.D., and Sacred Heart School.

IV. Archdiocese of Chicago

Correspondence and circulars from the Chancery Office (1927- 1973); Hillenbrand's priestly faculties and curriculum vitae; policy manuals and regulations of the Archdiocesan School Board (1969-1973); proposals, reports, memoranda, and surveys from the Archdiocesan Priests' Senate, with circulars from the Association of Chicago Priests and the National Federation of Priests' Councils (1968-1975); notes, minutes, reports and correspondence documenting Hillenbrand's work on the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission (1959-1974); and material concerning Project Renewal, Cana Conference of Chicago, the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women, San Miguelito Mission, and the Archdiocesan Interparish Movement.

V. Liturgical Societies, Schools and Conferences

Notebooks, tuition account books, proceedings, and correspondence from the Liturgical Summer School sponsored by St. Mary of the Lake Seminary (1941-1942), with manuscripts of lectures by Msgr. Martin Hellriegel and Fr. H.A. Reinhold concerning the Liturgical Movement and the Dialogue Mass; correspondence, outlines, resolutions, talks, bulletins, and circulars of the Liturgical Week and Conference (1944-1967); correspondence with the Vernacular Society (1950-1964); notes on art and liturgy, baptism, divine life, the Mass and the social order, tre ore, forty hours, Maurice Lavanoux and the Liturgical Arts Society; with writings by Fr. Gerald Ellard, SJ, Fr. William Busch, and Msgr. Martin Hellriegel.

VI. Other Activities

Articles, reports, bulletins, transcripts of talks by Hillenbrand, notes for talks, retreat notes, maps, itineraries, and poems; concerning racial justice, integration, poverty, freedom of residence, labor, international peace, death, judgment, and hell; documenting Hillenbrand's involvement with the Catholic Interracial Council of Chicago, the North Shore Human Relations Committee, the Glencoe Human Relations Committee, the Winnetka Human Relations Committee, the Student Nonviolent Coordination Committee, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, the National Social Welfare Assembly, and the Catholic Association for International Peace; with schemes for new Catholic colleges by Frank O'Hara and Willis Nutting, the constitution of the Holy Ghost Society, Nelson Glueck's Israeli Journal, and other writings sent for Hillenbrand to read.

VII. Correspondence

Correspondence concerning Hillenbrand's seminary years (dating from 1942-1944), Catholic Action (1940-1955), social concern (1948-1953), the lay apostolate (1957-1960), CFM / YCS / YCW (1941-1976), Hillenbrand's hospital stay in Tulsa (1949-1950), Sacred Heart Parish (1948-1972), the Archdiocese of Chicago (1953-1977), and liturgy (1940-1954); personal correspondence (1924-1970) and general correspondence (1930-1978).

VIII. Odd Sizes

Legal-size and other oversize documents; and Index Cards. Arranged in series that parallel those above.

IX. Later Accessions

Sermons, YCW files, and other Catholic Action material; files conerning teacher training schools for priests; parish files; retreat files; and subject files, dating 1942-1967; also material from labor schools and summer schools of social action for priests; with some parish files and folders of handouts concerning English literature; and notebooks, 1920s-1930s.

X. Printed Material

Printed material, some produced by Hillenbrand but most of it collected by him, having to do with Catholic Action, Sacred Heart Parish, liturgical reform, and his other interests.


  • Creation: 1897-1979


Language of Materials



Rector of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois, 1936-1944; pastor of Sacred Heart Church, Winnetka, Illinois, 1944-1977; national chaplain of Young Christian Workers, Young Christian Students, and Christian Family Movement, and leading figure in the Liturgical Movement.

Reynold Hillenbrand was born the 19th of July 1904 in St. Michael's parish, Chicago, Illinois. He attended St. Michael's School for 8 years of elementary and 2 years of secondary education; Quigley Preparatory Seminary in Chicago for 3 years of secondary and 1 year of college education; St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein (Chicago Archdiocese) for 2 years of philosophy, 4 years of theology, and 1 year of post-graduate education; and Collegio Candese in Rome for a final post-graduate year. He received four degrees from St. Mary of the Lake Seminary: his B.A. in 1926, his M.A. in 1928, his S.T.L. in 1930, and his S.T.D. in 1931. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago on the 2lst of September 1929 and celebrated his first Mass the next day in St. Michael's Church.

He taught English at Quigley Preparatory Seminary (1932-1933) and served on the Diocesan Mission Board (1933-1936) before his appointment as Rector of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, a position he held from 1936 to 1944. In 1938 he was made a Papal Chamberlain, an honor that was renewed in 1939. From 1944 until his retirement in 1974 he worked as pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Winnetka, a northern suburb of Chicago. He was made a Domestic Prelate in 1946. Starting in 1937 he served as Censor Librorum for the Archdiocese and starting in 1963 as a member of the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission. From 1940 to 1946 he was Chairman of the Holy Name Lecture Bureau.

In response to papal encyclicals urging Catholic action to promote social justice -- Rerum Novarum of Leo XIII (1891) and Quadraqesimo Anno of Pius XI (1931) -- Hillenbrand organized the Summer School of Social Action for Priests at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in 1938, sponsored and participated in other labor schools in the late 30s and early 40s, served as an arbitrator in labor disputes, and began his life-long association with movements of the specialized lay apostolate -- Young Christian Workers, Young Christian Students, and the Christian Family Movement. He was also concerned with fair housing and the civil rights of racial minorities and participated in the Winnetka, Glencoe, and North Shore Human Relations Committees.

Monsignor Hillenbrand's work with YCW and YCS began in 1939 and with CFM in 1945. From the mid 1940s until the 1970s he served as national chaplain for these organizations. In 1949, on the way back from a YCW meeting in California, he was in an automobile accident that kept him hospitalized in Tulsa for over a year and did permanent damage to his foot.

Hillenbrand was also active in the liturgical movement. In 1941 and 1942 he sponsored a Liturgical Summer School at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary. From 1944 on, Hillenbrand participated in the Liturgical Week and Conference, corresponded with members of the Vernacular Society and promoted liturgical reform.

On the 22nd of May 1979, after 5 years of retirement, Hillenbrand died. The Official Catholic Directory mistakenly listed his brother, Monsignor Frederick Hillenbrand, as having died on this date.


109 linear feet. 22 audio tapes. 1 linear foot and 2 albums of photographs. 84 linear feet of printed material.

Reynold Hillenbrand Papers
University of Notre Dame Archives
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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