Individuals in the Scrapbook
Mother Polycarpa, O.S.D.
Mother Polycarpa Staigele, a Sister of St. Dominic, is believed to be the author of this scrapbook. She was friends with Cardinal Hayes, and worked with Father Vincent Arcese at St. Joseph’s Sanatorium in Sullivan County. Mother Polycarpa entered the Congregation of the Holy Cross in 1886, received the habit in 1887, and made her first vows in 1889. She began working at St. Joseph’s when it first opened in 1892. She was appointed postmistress there in 1898, in which she was the first nun postmistress in the United States. Mother Polycarpa was appointed Mother Superior of St. Joseph’s in 1913. The materials that are found in this and the other trips to the Bahamas scrapbooks were sent to Mother Polycarpa in which she collected and pasted them into the scrapbooks.
Reverend Vincent Arcese
Reverend Vincent Arcese was the chaplain at St. Joseph’s Sanatorium in Sullivan County for fifty years before he died in 1946. Reverend Arcese, a longtime friend of Cardinal Hayes, travelled with His Eminence’s official party on numerous trips. He was ordained a priest in 1892 in Italy, and shortly after immigrated to the United States. He began working at St. Joseph’s Sanatorium with Mother Polycarpa in 1896 and founded a nearby parish, St. Thomas Aquinas in Forestburgh, where he was pastor. Arcese had many duties as chaplain such as overseeing the farmland at St. Joseph’s, the Sanatorium, the camps, the convent, and the schools.
Reverend Stephen Donahue
Reverend Stephen Donahue was Cardinal Hayes’s secretary during his trips to the Bahamas. Donahue entered St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers in 1912 and was ordained a priest in 1918. Donahue spent time as a professor of Latin and scripture at the former Cathedral College in New York City before he was appointed Hayes’s secretary in 1922. Reverend Donahue was appointed auxiliary bishop in 1934 at the age of 41, one of the youngest bishops in the United States. An auxiliary bishop is a bishop who is assigned to help the bishop of a diocese carry out the necessary ecclesiastical and administrative functions. Later in life, Donahue became the permanent pastor of Holy Name Catholic Church until his death in 1982.
Reverend Robert F. Keegan
Reverend Robert Keegan was the Archdiocesan secretary for the Catholic Charities at the time of the first trip to the Bahamas. Keegan was educated at Cathedral College in New York City and then at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers. Father Keegan was ordained a priest in 1915. Keegan became secretary for the Catholic Charities in 1919 and became a monsignor in 1929. He was elected president of the National Conference of Social Work in 1936, as a result of his work with the Catholic Charities. Keegan remained in charge of the Catholic Charities until his death in 1947. .
Reverend Chrysostom Schreiner, O.S.B.
Father Schreiner was the Benedictine priest who oversaw the priory at the Nassau Mission. Schreiner was appointed vicar forane of the Bahamas in 1891. Though he is not pictured in this scrapbook, Schreiner is an important figure in the history of the Archdiocese of New York in the Bahamas. Schreiner was in constant correspondence with Cardinal Hayes, keeping him updated on all of the happenings in the Bahamas. Father Schreiner died on San Salvador in the Bahamas in January 1928. He left a lasting legacy and became known as the “Apostle of the Bahamas” after his decades of service on the islands.
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