Skip to main content

Sr. Margherita Marchione Collection on Pius XII

 Record Group
Identifier: MMC

Scope and Contents

On August 23, 2016, Stonehill College acquired the Sister Margherita Marchione Collection on Pius XII. Sr. Margherita Marchione, MPF donated her collection of materials on Pope Pius XII to the College, which represents a significant body of knowledge on Pius XII, and consists of books, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, objects and ephemera, audio-visual media, and exhibit materials.

College Archives staff finished processing the collection in the spring of 2019. Processing encompassed three stages involving three Archives Aides. Stonehill student Shannon Barry ’17 undertook the initial processing, followed by Julia Turgeon ’18, and, finally, MacKenzie Barry ’21 wrapped up processing with the oversight of Assistant Director of Archives Jonathan Green.

Dates

  • 1886 - 2016

Biographical / Historical

Sister Margherita Marchione was one of the most scholarly nuns of the twentieth century, who had a passion for the Catholic Church, Vatican, and most notably Pope Pius XII. Writing over forty books and one hundred articles, she was a most prolific writer, who spent her later years on speaking tours while continuing to write. Overall, Marchione is best known for defending Pope Pius XII and his actions during the Second World War concerning the Jewish population. This collection includes several magazines, medals, prayer cards, and newspaper clippings featuring Pope Pius XII, along with several of Sister Marchione's private correspondences.

Born in Little Ferry, New Jersey, on February 19, 1922, Sister Marchione felt destined for a life spent in religious institutions from an early age. She was raised by immigrant parents in a large, Italian Catholic household. In 1935, at the ripe age of thirteen years old, Marchione announced to her family at dinner that she was leaving home to join a convent. She felt called to the vocation at her confirmation in Saint Margaret's Church after Bishop Walsh declared, "if there is any young girl of Italian extraction who wishes to become a nun, she must join the Religious Teachers Filippini." After moving to the convent, she continued her technical training as a teacher by attending Georgian Court College and received her B.A. in Italian Literature in 1943. She began her teaching career at the Our Lady of Pompeii School in Baltimore, where she taught sixth through eighth-grade children.

Although content with serving the nation's youth as a teacher, she desired to further promote the Italian culture, the mission of the Religious Teacher Filippini. Sister Marchione received her doctorate from Columbia University and went on as an Italian Literature professor at Seton Hall University from 1962 to 1965, and then introduced Italian language courses to the Fairleigh Dickinson University in late 1965. After developing the Italian program extensively at the university, she took an interest in Philip Mazzei, an Italian physician who was involved in the American Revolution and wrote several works detailing his history. She continued to teach at Fairleigh Dickinson for twenty years and was awarded the post of emeritus professor at the university.

During her later years at the university, Sister Marchione became quite the scholar and defender on the life and work of Pope Pius XII—often referred to as 'Hitler's Pope.' Marchione highly disagreed with the controversial reputation that Pius XII had garnered from global communities, so she set out on several decades of research and publishing to prove he deserved more credit than he was given in the aid given to the Jewish during the Holocaust. Her most important publication on the subject was printed in 1997 and called Yours Is a Precious Witness; she had spent many hours interviewing Italian Jews who were extremely grateful for the aid provided to them by Pius XII despite his lack of defensive power from the combatants.

Sister Margherita Marchione has received several awards for her scholarship and lifelong dedication to being a nun. She was named Columbia University's 1957 Garibaldi Scholar, Fulbright Scholar in 1964, Michael Award Recipient from the New Jersey Literary Hall of Fame in 1993, to name a few. She was given the Humanitarian Award in 1997 by the Religious Teachers Filippini and named one of the Top Ten People of 2002 by Pope John Paul II in the January 2003 issue of Inside the Vatican. At ninety-six years old, Sister Marchione shows no signs of slowing down in her adventurous and unique lifetime. Her nephew's mention of 'Aunt Margherita' in his Columbia application essay encompasses the spirit of her at her core: "'Her perpetual motion has contributed to her success as she crams meaningful activity into every minute of her day.'"

Extent

12 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

English

Italian

Arrangement

This collection is organized into series:

  1. 1, Biographical
  2. 2, Correspondence
  3. 3, Publications
  4. 4, Ephemera and Objects
  5. 5, Audiovisual
  6. 6, Exhibition
  7. 7, Speeches
  8. 8, Oversized Material
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Stonehill Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Stonehill College Archives, 320 Washington St
Easton MA 02357 United States