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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.

A City Divided: The Civil War, Philadelphia, and the Union League

 A City Divided: The Civil War, Philadelphia, and the Union League is currently on display in The Sir John Templeton Heritage Center through June 2024. The Heritage Center is home to the Legacy Foundation; the space is a celebration of the rich history, heritage and traditions of The Union League of Philadelphia, and serves as a portal to the community. The Legacy Foundation encourages members, scholars, students and others to view, research and interact with the history and collections through both the rotating exhibitions and the research center. The Legacy Foundation is dedicated to the same tenets of freedom and free enterprise upon which the Union League was founded, and through historic preservation, education, and scholarship promotes these values and ideals, inspiring more educated, engaged, and responsible citizens.

Philadelphia during the American Civil War was a city divided.  Many supported the South and slavery – they openly called for Lincoln to quit the war. In this desperate moment, The Union League of Philadelphia was founded.  Its goal was to make the case that Philadelphians support Lincoln, Union, and abolition.  The success of the League created a patriotic movement that spread throughout the North and made certain that the Union would be preserved.
Public Hours:
Tuesday and Thursday, 3:00–6:00pm
Second Saturday of every month, 1:00–4:00pm
To visit during these hours, please ring the doorbell at the street level door on Broad Street.
For more information:
The Union League Legacy Foundation
The Heritage Center of the Union League
140 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
call: 215.587.5596
Tags: Collection