Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Atkinson, Connie

Second Advisor

Dupont, Robert

Third Advisor

Chamberlain, Charles


In 1918, Archbishop Shaw invited the Texas Catholic religious order, Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, to New Orleans to manage the St. Louis Cathedral and its filial parish for Southern Italians, St. Mary’s Church. This thesis will look at the personalities and preferentialism that affected this early 20th century transfer of religious power from secular priests to a religious order. Comparing the language used by Archbishop Shaw in correspondence with Oblate Fathers with the language he used with his secular priests will determine that Shaw displayed favoritism in his decision to invite the Oblates. This decision was affected by four primary factors: Shaw’s prior relationship with the Oblates as Bishop of San Antonio, his concerns with archdiocesan finances, his perceived threat of encroaching Protestantism, and politics of discontent amongst his secular clergy. Shaw’s distinct idealistic pragmatism shows the dynamic nature of the institution of the Catholic Church in Louisiana.


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