Passionist China Collection

Restrictions: Access by appointment. Portions of the collection may be restricted.

Background note: The Passionists, a Roman Catholic religious congregation of priests and brothers, were sent to China by Propaganda Fide in Rome. They arrived in 1921 and remained until they were expelled in 1955. A total of 80 Passionists were assigned to China. In the beginning this was a singular mission of St. Paul of the Cross Province. In 1923 Passionists from Holy Cross Province, Chicago, Illinois contributed personnel and resources. Together, their ministerial efforts make up the bulk of this collection.

Primary evangelization occurred in the Diocese of Yuanling, Hunan. Secondary locations were in Hankow and Peiping. Several orders of religious sisters worked in conjunction with the Passionists, notably the Sisters of Charity of Convent Station, New Jersey and the Sisters of St. Joseph, Baden Pennsylvania. See Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth, Generalate Archives, Convent Station, Elizabeth, NJ, 07961; Paterson Diocese Archives, 777 Valley Road, Paterson, NJ, 07013; and Sisters of St. Joseph Archives, Baden, PA, 15005. Wartime China resulted in the Passionists’ association with the Grey Nuns of Ontario, Canada; Sisters of Charity (Hungary); and Sisters of Notre Dame (Kalocsa, Hungary). The China Collection currently covers from 1920 onwards, but material is still in the process of being gathered and catalogued.

1-MISSIONARY CORRESPONDENCE, 1921-55 16 linear feet

This collection consists primarily of handwritten or typewritten letters. It is organized by year and the person who generated the correspondence. Most deal with Passionists from St. Paul of the Cross and Holy Cross provinces. Other correspondence highlights individual Sisters of Charity and St. Joseph. In general, this material describes missionaries’ comments on evangelization efforts, daily life, social and political realities, interpersonal relations among those in China, as well as views shared with benefactors back home. In some cases there are summary reports. Over time auxiliary documentation has become part of this collection. This includes background on the 1929 murders of Passionist Fathers Walter Coveyou, Godfrey Holbein and Clement Seybold and accumulated research on the interaction between the Passionists and the United States Department of State.

2-MISSION ADMINISTRATIVE RECORDS, 1921-1980 8.8 linear feet

The decision making process and its application to mission organization is the makeup of this material. Photocopied sources from the Passionist General Archives in Rome, 1921-1956, offer an understanding of views held by Passionist and Vatican officials. Appreciation of Passionist operations based in the United States as it pertained to Hunan is available in procuration (financial and business) correspondence, baptismal records, telegrams, property deeds, annual ecclesial reports, press releases, public relations pamphlets, and visitation reports. Much of this material is from 1921-1956. A small portion of this collection describes the post-1956 period.

3-RELIGIOUS WOMEN 2 linear feet

Documentation offers a range of correspondence, personal and official, which pertained primarily to the missionary experience of the Sisters of Charity and Sisters of St. Joseph.

SERIAL: Caritas, 1933-1938, 1939-1967. Published by the Sisters of Charity.


  • Father Leonard Amrhein, C.P. Family Collection. Correspondence from China, 1939-1948; Scrapbook with emphasis on his Japanese Internment, Weihsien, 1943.
  • Brother Lambert Budde, C.P. China mission diary in Dutch 1922-1928. Portions translated into English; architectural drawings of several Passionist missions in Hunan.
  • Father Cyprian Frank, C.P. Includes China information in diaries and notebooks, 1919-1970.
  • Father Linus Lombard, C.P. Includes China documentation and photos. post 1940s.
  • Father Anthony Maloney, C.P. Braitling Collection. 3 China photo scrapbooks, 1951-1955.
  • Father Timothy McDermott, C.P. Assorted China correspondence, 1918-1941.
  • Father Linus McSheffrey, C.P. Photos: Interesting Views of Peking, China. 2 vols. Circa 1940s.
  • Father Lawrence Mullin, C.P. Family Collection. Includes China correspondence of Father Mullin 1948-1954; Peiping and Yuanling photo album 1940s.
  • Bishop Cuthbert O’Gara, C.P. Collection, 1920s-1968. Correspondence and photos document his administrative efforts in the diocese of Yuanling, Hunan. In 1941 he was captured in Hong Kong and for a short time held by the Japanese. In 1953 Bishop O’Gara was released from a Communist prison. Assorted documentation — which includes many of his public speeches, letters, audio tapes, and newspaper clippings — offers a historical and political context to understand this post-1953 period especially as it pertains to his support for anti-Communism during the Cold War era. Valuable is his U.S. State Department deposition, “Story of Imprisonment in Red China,” n.d [circa 1957].
  • Father Cormac Shanahan, C.P. Handwritten diary on his 1944 trip to Yenan [Yanan] with members of the foreign press of China as the representative for The Sign, The China Correspondent, and Catholic publications. Includes comments on Yanan culture, Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai. Amplifying the trip is a 1940s typed manuscript interview between Alfred Kohlberg- and Shanahan.
  • Father Harold Travers. C.P. There is a small selection of China documentation.
  • Paul Ubinger, C.P. Scrapbook on China related material. Includes correspondence.
  • Father Raphael Vance, C.P. Family Collection. Includes China related correspondence 1919-1952.
  • Father William Westhoven, C.P. Hunan Mission Memories, 1924-1953; Personal journals and diaries 1936-38, 1940-41 with special attention to Chihkiang [Zhijiang], Hunan.


  • Carte Du District Postal de Hunan [Postal Map of Hunan District] October 1930.
  • A Bird’s-eye View of Peiping and Environs. Published by the Peiping Chronicle, Peiping October 1, 1936.
  • Map of Shanghai Published as a Supplement to the China Hong Shanghai, List. North-China News & Herald, Limited, 1936.
  • Shanghai of To-day: A souvenir Album of Fifty Vandyck Prints of “The Model Settlement” Introduction by O.M. Green. Second Edition-Enlarged. Shanghai: Kelly&Walsh Limited, 1928; China, Philips’ Authentic Maps

6-PHOTOS 13 linear feet

Black and white photos are from 1921-1950s. This includes a photo history of the Hunan mission and public relations photos. Most of these are identified according to place for use in The Sign magazine. Many are unidentified.


Audio cassette interview of Father Anthony Maloney, C.P., with Justin Garvey, C.P., and Marcellus White, C.P on their arrested, imprisonment, and release from China, 1951 to 1955. Audio cassette interviews with Passionist Fathers William Westhoven, Harold Travers, and Marcellus White. Reel to reel audio of Bishop O’Gara’s U.S. State Department deposition, “Story of Imprisonment in Red China,” n.d [circa 1957]. Collection also includes slides of the China mission and a variety of educational videos done in the post-Mao period.


  • SERIALS: The Sign, 1921-82: “With the Passionists in China” was a special feature of the magazine up until the late 1940s
  • Hunan News, 1949-56: Published internally by the Passionists to inform its members about the ministerial, social, and political situation of the Passionists in China.
  • ADMINISTRATIVE DOCUMENT: Libellus in Facultates Formulae Tertiae (minoris) (Shenchow, Hunan, in Sinis: Missionariorum in Prefectura Apostolica, 1932).
  • DOCTORAL DISSERTATION: Robert E. Carbonneau, “Life, Death, and Memory: Three Passionists in Hunan, China and the Shaping of an American Mission Perspective in the 1920s.” (Georgetown, University, 1992).


  • SERIALS: China Correspondent: Dec. 1943-Sept. 1944. Director, D. Thaddeus Yang An-jan, O.S.B.; Editor, Cormac Shanahan, C.P. Chungking. Photocopy from Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Mission Bulletin: Dec. 1955; Jan-Nov 1957.
  • Tripod: 1-123. Some issues are missing.
  • CATECHETICAL MATERIAL: Zhuri zhanli shengjing. [Sunday Bible Readings] (Catholic Truth Society, Hong Kong, [1947]).
  • REFERENCE MATERIAL: F. W. Baller, A Mandarin Primer. Shanghai: China Inland Mission, Eighth Edition, 1911, Thirteenth Edition, 1923; J. M. Planchett, Les Missions de Chine et Japon. Pekin: 1927.
  • MASTERS THESIS: Ilma Ruth Aho, “A Record of Activities of the Finnish Missionary Society in Northwest Hunan, China, 1902-1952,” (University of California, 1953).
  • DOCTORAL DISSERTATIONS: Harold James Bass, “The Policy of the American State Department Toward Missionaries in the Far East,” [C.P.10 only: Internal Disturbances in China and the Clash of Western Opinions Respecting the Wisdom of Relinquishing Special Privileges, 1918-1937] (State College of Washington, 1937); Frederick W. Brandauer, “The History and Development of the Central China Mission of the Evangelical United Brethren Church,” (Temple University, 1953); Sr. Virginia Unsworth, “American Catholic Missions and Communist China, 1945-1953,” (New York University, 1977); Jeffrey Carroll Kinkley, “Shen Ts’ung-wen’s Vision of Republican China.” (Harvard University, 1977); Anthony Joseph Garavente, “He Long and the Rural Revolution in West-Central China, 1927-1935,” (Univ. Of California, Los Angeles, 1978).


  • Only A Beginning: The Passionists in China, 1921-1931 by Caspar Caulfield, C.P.
  • Havoc in Hunan by Sr. M. Carita Pendergast, S.C.

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