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Horace B. McKenna, SJ Project Collection

Identifier: GTM-130312

Scope and Contents note

The Horace B. McKenna, SJ Project Collection consists of recordings, transcripts, notes, and article clippings relating to an oral history project on Horace McKenna, S.J., undertaken by Joseph K. Hines in the mid-eighties. Includes "Christ is with the Poor: Stories and Sayings of Horace McKenna, S.J." edited by John Dear, S.J., and Joseph Hines (1989), which is based on many of the oral history recordings collecting by Hines.


  • 1960 - 1989

Conditions Governing Access note

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Biographical Note

Known for his ministry to the poor in southern Maryland and Washington, D.C., Horace B. McKenna was born on January 2, 1899, in New York City. One of 12 children, Horace was the son of Charles F. McKenna, a respected chemist, and Laura O'Neill McKenna. Educated at Fordham Prep, he entered the Society of Jesus at St. Andrew-on-the-Hudson in 1916. After pursuing further studies at Woodstock College in Woodstock, Maryland, and teaching first overseas in the Philippine missions and then at Boston College High School, McKenna was ordained on June 23, 1929, by Archbishop Michael Curley of Baltimore.

In 1931, Fr. McKenna began his long service as a priest in southern Maryland, where he served ably for 22 years amidst poverty and segregation. Perhaps his most notable assignment was as pastor of St. Peter Claver Church in Ridge, Maryland. From 1953 to 1958, Father McKenna worked as assistant pastor of St. Aloysius Church in Washington, D.C. After a time as assistant pastor of Gesu Church in Philadelphia, he returned to St. Aloysius, where he served as assistant pastor for the rest of his life. In 1977, he co-founded SOME (So Others Might Eat), a community service center for the poor and homeless that began as a soup kitchen and expanded into a full-scale operation with medical and counseling services. McKenna was named by "Washingtonian Magazine" as one of the recipients of the "Washingtonian of the Year" award for 1977. He also assisted in the creation of Sursum Corda, a low-income housing project in Washington, D.C. Father McKenna died at the age of 83 on May 11, 1982. He is remembered as a dedicated friend of the poor and underprivileged in southern Maryland and the nation's capital area.


2.25 Linear Feet (7 boxes)

Language of Materials


Horace B. McKenna, SJ Project Collection
Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections, Washington, D.C.
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Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057