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Lecture: “Let Love, not Hate Prevail” St. Joseph’s, Philadelphia, During the Civil War

 Philadelphia’s local Jesuit missions of the Civil War Era reveal a surprisingly pro-Union and pro-Lincoln milieu within the otherwise divided (if not pro-Confederate) Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus. This presentation will focus on St. Joseph’s “College” and “Prep,” Old St. Joseph’s Church, St. Joseph’s Hospital, and the African American outreach efforts of Fathers Felix Barbelin, SJ, and Thomas Lilly, SJ. Ultimately the community was responsible for dedicating what has been called the “most important” Catholic monument of the Civil War – the statue of Father Corby at Gettysburg.

Leo Vaccaro, a proud graduate of St. Joseph's Preparatory School, earned his BA from Gettysburg College and MA from Villanova University. He is currently completing a book project celebrating the upcoming 175th anniversary of the founding of the Prep, which focuses on the Church of the Gesù. Passionate about Civil War history, he has taught at St. Joseph's Preparatory School since 2011 and is also an adjunct at Saint Joseph's University.