Monsignor Hugh J. Nolan

Monsignor Hugh J. Nolan was born in Philadelphia on July 8, 1911 to Thomas and Mildred Nolan. After attending Corpus Christ parochial school and roman catholic High School, he entered Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary to study for the priesthood in 1929. In the course of nine years, Nolan obtained a bachelor of arts from saint Charles and a master of arts from Villanova University. Not long after his time at Villanova, he was ordained on June 7, 1941 by Cardinal Dennis Dougherty.

After ordination, Reverend Nolan furthered his education and received a Doctorate in American History from The Catholic University of America. For the next thirty years, he would be involved with different levels of academia. Reverend Nolan began teaching history at Saint James Catholic High School in Chester in 1944 before making the journey up north to Saint Paul, Minnesota three years later. At Saint Paul’s Seminary, he established a masters degree program. Starting in 1954, Reverend Nolan would serve as professor and the Theology Department Chair of Immaculata College. At the same time, he taught part-time at several local colleges, such as La Salle College, Rosemont College, and Villanova University.

Reverend Nolan made many scholarly contributions over the years. For ten years, starting in 1945, he served as editor for the American Catholic Historical Society. In addition, Reverend Nolan contributed biographies of Bishop Kenrick and Cardinal Dennis Dougherty for The History of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, published in 1976 for the American Bicentennial.

On the parish level, Reverend Nolan served at several parishes during his academic career. After his time at Immaculata College, he was named pastor of Saint Isaac Jogues parish in Wayne. During his time at the parish, he eliminated the parish debt and oversaw the construction of new parish buildings, such as the rectory, Adoration Chapel, and the All-Purpose Building. After retiring as pastor in 1989, Reverend Nolan was named Pastor Emeritus. Pope John Paul II named his Honorary Prelate to His Holiness in 1991, bestowing on him the title of Monsignor. Monsignor Nolan passed away on February 1, 1995.

The collection housed at the Catholic Historical Research Center contains a majority of the research materials used for the Monsignor’s writings. The bulk of those research materials concern Cardinal Dennis Dougherty. You can access the finding aid at https://archives.chrc-phila.org/repositories/2/resources/53

Collection and blog processed by Richard Girkin

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