New Digital Archive Features the Complete Writings of Former Rector/President Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy

Posted on April 5, 2018

The University of St. Mary of the Lake (USML) proudly introduces a new and cutting-edge resource: the Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy Archive.

This unique and extensive collection of documents has no peer. It contains more than 1,100 of Archbishop Murphy’s written works including homilies, prayers, blessings, personal essays, weekly newspaper columns and addresses/speeches to various Catholic and civic groups. The archive spans the period of time from 1973 to 1997 covering four phases of his ministry as a priest and bishop:

  • Priest in the Archdiocese of Chicago and president and rector of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary: 1973 to 1978
  • Bishop of the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings, MT: 1978 to 1987
  • Coadjutor Archbishop of Seattle: 1987 to 1991
  • Archbishop of Seattle: 1991 to 1997

The documents address a wide variety of topics that remain at the forefront of discussion and dialogue in the church to this very day. They fall into one of 39 subject categories. Some of the more prominent ones are the Eucharist, reconciliation, stewardship, the gift of life, Catholic education, the parish community and ministry to young people. “It is an honor and privilege for the University of St. Mary of the Lake to have played a role in creating this unique resource of documents written by one of our alumni and former rector,” said the Very Reverend John Kartje. “It is my hope that students, alumni, members of the faculty and administration and all people making up the greater USML community will visit the archive often to learn about Archbishop Murphy’s life and ministry, deepen their faith in Christ and to gain a greater appreciation of the mission and ministry of the Catholic Church.”

Archbishop Murphy was a native son of Chicago. Upon graduation from Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary School in Chicago, IL, Tom Murphy matriculated to St. Mary of the Lake Seminary where he earned bachelors and masters degrees in divinity. Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago, ordained him in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception on April 12, 1958. Post ordination, he continued his studies at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary earning his doctorate in sacred theology. John Cardinal Cody, Archbishop of Chicago, appointed Reverend Murphy to serve as president and rector from 1973 to 1978. “St. Mary of the Lake Seminary had a profound influence on my brother,” said his sister Eileen Frey. “No matter where his vocation took him, he always used the many lessons learned during his years at Mundelein to guide his service to the Lord and God’s people.”

“Our overarching goal was to create an environment where users can find, read and share content in a simple and meaningful way,” said the archbishop’s nephew and project leader Brian J. Murphy. One of the archive’s most innovative features is the adaptive design. It automatically adjusts to the type of device being used, whether desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smart phone, in order to optimize the user experience. Users can search for documents in a multitude of ways including by keyword, document type, subject and publication. All archive documents are in PDF format. They can easily be shared via e-mail and text message. The archive also provides the option of seamlessly posting a link to one or more documents in Facebook, Linked in and/or Twitter.

In addition to the University of St. Mary of the Lake, a number of other organizations played a material role in building the Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy Archive. “On behalf of the Murphy family, I express our heartfelt gratitude to the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings, MT, the Archdiocese of Seattle, Archbishop Murphy High School in Everett, WA and countless others for their tireless efforts,” said the archbishop’s sister-in-law Carolyn Murphy. “Archbishop Murphy’s written works will now be available to current and future generations of people from all faiths and walks of life”

The archive is one component of the Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy Virtual Library. Other components are the archbishop’s curriculum vitae, an interactive timeline of this life and ministry and an interactive version of his episcopal coat of arms.

Upon being appointed Bishop of Great Falls, MT, Bishop-Elect Murphy chose the episcopal motto “In Christ Joy and Hope.” These words are so fitting when thinking about them in relation to the Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy Archive. The more than 1,100 documents are a celebration of the joy and hope the church offers to all of God’s children. They underscore one of the fundamental tenets of the archbishop’s ministry – that the church can make a difference in the lives of people.

About Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy

Thomas J. Murphy was born on October 3, 1932. His parents, Bartholomew and Nellie Murphy, emigrated from County Kerry, Ireland to America in the early 1900s. They met and were married in Chicago, IL and settled on the city’s West Side in the Garfield Park neighborhood. Archbishop Murphy had an older brother Bartholomew and younger sister Eileen.

Pope Paul VI appointed the Very Reverend Thomas J. Murphy as the fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Great Falls, MT in July of 1978. After serving the Church of Eastern Montana for more than eight years, Pope John Paul II appointed Bishop Murphy as the Coadjutor Archbishop of Seattle in May of 1987. He became the ordinary Archbishop of Seattle in August of 1991. Archbishop Murphy died on June 26, 1997. His mortal remains are interred in the Episcopal Crypt beneath the main altar of St. James Cathedral in Seattle, WA.