| Biographical Sketch | Scope and Content Note
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St. Mary's Seminary of Lemont, Illinois, where Fr. Bertrand resided, has a rich tradition of Slovenian heritage. Run by Franciscan brothers, primarily concerned with missionary work, the seminary was founded in 1925 at the urging of Cardinal George Mundelein, archbishop of Chicago. The Slovene Franciscan brothers, whose headquarters were at St. Stephen's Rectory of Chicago, IL, joined to form the present day seminary. A new, 160-acre seminary was completed and dedicated on July 14, 1940. Along with a one year novitiate, philosophy and theology were required components of the curriculum and carried a strong emphasis on the Slovenian language and culture. St. Mary's Seminary of Lemont was and continues to be a popular retreat location for American-Slovenian Catholics; its replica shrines (e.g., the Grotto of Lourdes) serve as major attractions. The Franciscan interest in and devotion to the cause of formalizing the sainthood of Bishop Friderik Baraga (making him the first Slovenian saint) also has brought recognition and attention to Lemont.
* Some of the personal
information came through the help of Fr. Bendelin Spendov,
a personal friend ot Fr. Bertrand's at St. Mary's Seminary. (telephone
interview, January 14, 1988)
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The Personal Material series, though limited in quantity, does give some insight into Fr. Kotnik. Of the personal letters, the most noteworthy is one written in 1959 by Kotnik in response to the article "What's a Political Refugee?, " by J.J. Hanlin published in the October 1959 issue of The Christian Family. Kotnik was disturbed by the rosy image Hanlin painted of the Austrians, since Kotnik himself had experienced the prejudicial treatment of refugee Slovenes by the Austrians. Kotnik received a personal reply from Hanlin who supported his article's allegations.
Also iuncluded are postcards, most of them unused, but from Leinz, Austria, the site of a DP (displaced persons) camp. The prayer remembrances collected by Fr. Kotnik display a direct appeal to Mary or Jesus for various causes, such as peace, guidance, or the soul of a deceased. They also serve as commemoratives of specific occasions.
The series includes a number of published items. Among them are The Slavic and Slovenian newspapers and bulletins, dating 1941-45, all dealing with Slovenia's involvement in WWII. The contain specific accounts of Slovenia's success or defeat against the Germans, Fascists, and Communists. Names of the dead are given as are incriminating facts and figures of an agricultural and consumer nature. Liberal papers such as "Svobodna Slovenija" (Free Slovenija) or "Svoboda Ali Smrt" (Liberty or Death) reveal an intense feeling of Slovenian nationalism. The text of a speech given by Dr. Boris Furlan in Cleveland on March 8, 1942 describes the sufferings of the Slovenian people and call for U.S. action and involvement. Also included are American Press Releases informing American-Slovenes of current events as well as various letters outlining some American-Slovenian affairs occurring in the midto late-1950s (e.g., a letter to Rev. Baznik concerning a Slovenian national shrine in Washington, DC).
The second series, Church Activities and Programs, contains information collected from various parishes throughout the U.S. St. Mary's Seminary in Lemont is well represented as is St. Stephen's Church in Chicago, IL, which has a strong, active Slovenian parish. Other Catholic churches serving the Slovene community include: St. Mary's Feast of the Assumption in Collinwood, OH, the Holy Family Parish of Willard, WI, St. Vitus Church of Cleveland, OH, and The Church of Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Sheboygan, WI.
Concert leaflets and programs make up a substantial portion of this series with the most notable commemorating the Slovenian Radio Hour in Pueblo City, CO and a church choir concert at St. John the Evangelist Church of Milwaukee, WI.
Information concerning Bishop Gregory Rogman and Bishop Friderik Baraga is available. Both are considered primary figures within the Slovenian community. Catholic Slovenes have persistently tried to have Bishop Baraga declared a saint, and apparently Father Kotnik was no exception. In fact, prior to his return to Austria, Fr. Kotnik spent some time in New York where he conducted research on the life of Bishop Baraga.
1954 was considered Holy Mary's sacred year. October 24 was considered Mission Sunday where Mary was directly appealed to for deliverance, salvation, the defeat of communists, and world peace. A large poster and various pamphlets commemorate this event.
The Church-related folder contains useful material including: a sermon for the Second Sunday of Easter; a baptismal certificate (Krstni Listek); a Christmas message (Pismo za bozi@); and a letter from St. Nicholas to children (Dragi Otroci).
Religious Sheet Music, the third series, reflects the strong Slovenian ties to the Catholic Church. Music ranges from general hymns to specific songs celebrating the sprinkling of Holy Water. Christmas songs make up a substantial portion of the material as do Easter and Lenten songs. The large portion of Latin litanies and church songs reflects the more orthodox days of Catholicism prior to the changes evoked by Vatican II.
The Slovenes' consecration to the Blessed Virgin is readily identifiable. Slovenes have always directly appealed to Mary for peace, guidance, and understanding, and were specifically consecrated to her Immaculate Heart in 1943 by Bishop Rogman. This consecreation was repeated in 1955 at the Altar of the Mother and Queen of Slovenians in Lemont, Illinois.
also musically appealed to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, specific saints,
and the Holy Eucharist. Songs composed for particular celebrations
(e.g., for Bishop Rozman, Slovenian Holy Mass, or Mission Sunday) were
also not uncommon. The music composed for Bishop Gregory RoEman reveals
admiration for one of the most celebrated Slovenes. Bishop Rozman
of Ljubljana emigrated to the U.S. to avoid Communist persecution
and resided at the St. Lawrence Rectory
in Cleveland, OH. In the U.S., he visited numerous Slovenian communities and parishes, where he was esteemed and honored.
Secular Sheet Music, the fourth and final series of this collection, consists primarily of Slovenian folk songs. Prevalent folk themes include nature, love, work, or the beloved homeland. Even the non-religious music contains references to God or Mary. Most of the sheet music is printed but there are some samples of handwritten music as well.
An interesting side note is the gender arrangement of the choir. Though most music is written for a mixed choir (mesani zbor), a substantial amount of the music is exclusively for a men's chorus (moski zbori). No music is specifically intended for a woments chorus. Two singing groups are represented in this collection: "Glasbena Matica" is the prominent Slovenian Philharmonic Society, known for its operas; the other, "Slovan, " is a popular male singing group.
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|Box No.||Folder No.||Folder Title||Inclusive Dates|
|SERIES I. PERSONAL MATERIALS|
|1||1||Personal Letters and Postcards||1931-59|
|5||New Yugoslavia/"PoroL'ilo iz Slovenije, ki ga pogiljajo naprendenjaki" ("Report from Slovenia, forwarded by Progressives")||1941|
|6||N.C.W.C. News Service/ Various Memoranda Concerning Slovenia/Nazis, Fascists, Communists Combine to Crucify Slovenia/Appeal to U.S. for Help Against Persecution of Slovenia||1941|
Voice of the American Slav/
1942 ,The Bulletin/
|8||"Slovenija in Europa" ("Slovenia in Europe")||1942|
|9||"Svobodna Sloveniia" ("Free Slovenia")||1942|
|10||"Svoboda Ali Smrt" ("Liberty or Death")||1942|
|11||Dr. Boris Furlan's speech given in Cleveleand, OH||1942|
American and Common Council
|SERIES II. CHURCH ACTIVITIES AND PROGRAMS|
|2||1||Lemont, IL St. Mary's Seminary||1940-63|
|2||St. Stephen's Church, Chicago, IL||1926-65|
|4||St. Mary's Feast of the Assumption,Collinwood, OH||1946-47|
|5||Holy Family Parish, Willard, WI||1948-49|
|6||Financial Reports of Churches-In Memoriam (Rev. McGolrick of Deluth)||1922-65|
|8||Concert Program, Pueblo, Colorado/||1953|
|St. John the Evangelist, Milwaukee, WS||1965|
|Concert leaflets, plays||1932-65|
|10||Bishop Gregory Rogman Information||1957-63|
|11||Bishop Friderik Baraga Information||1948-60|
|12||Info Concerning Slovenia Pilgramage/||1958-50|
|Info Concerning Missionaries||1965|
|13||Mission Sunday/Board of Prayer/Pictures of Mary||1954|
|14||Church Related, General||1947-53|
|SERIES III. RELIGIOUS SHEET MUSIC|
|3||1||Easter and Lenten Songs (looseleaf)||1936-41|
|2||Easter and Lenten Songs (collection booklets)||1923-52|
|3-4||Christmas Songs (collection booklets)||1920-54|
|5||Christmas Songs (looseleaf)||1938-48|
|4||1-2||Songs for Holy Mary (collection booklets)||1921-54|
|3||Songs for Holy Mary (looseleaf)||1923-48|
|4||Songs for Jesus and the Sacred Heart||1922-44|
|5||Songs of the Saints (Joseph, Cecilia,Stefan, Vitus)||1925-44|
|6||Regional Church Songs/Fatima||1958|
|7||Mass for Bishop Gregory Rogman||1954-57|
|2||Holy Songs/Songs of the Eucharist/Holy Water/Corpus Christ||1923-49|
|3||Slovenian Holy Mass||1921-44|
|4||Funeral Songs - Songs for the Dead||1926-44|
|5||Latin Church Songs (looseleaf)|
|6-7||Latin Church Songs Collection booklets||1910-55|
|6||1-2||Church Songs - General (collection booklets)||1905-54|
|3||Church Songs - General (looseleaf)||1929-48|
|SERIES IV. NON-RELIGIOUS SHEET MUSIC|
|7||1||Slovenian National Songs|
|2||Slovenian Folk Songs (morning and night,nature, beloved Slovenia)||1921-53|
|3||"Glasbena Matica" (Slovenian Philharmonic Society)||1909-21|
|4||Slovenian folk songs/Slovene
The Worker/"Nasa Zveda" ("Our Star")/lullaby
|5||Slovenian Folk Songs from male group "Slovan"||1927-49|
|6||Instructional Manuals for Voice and Zither||1895-1912|
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Last modified: August 16, 2006