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Brown leather burse and sheet of prayers used by US Army chaplain

Object | Accession Number: 2010.463.4 a-b

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    Brown leather burse and sheet of prayers used by US Army chaplain


    Brief Narrative
    Satin lined leather burse, or case, used to carry ceremonial items used for Mass by Father Edward Henry, a chaplain in the United States Army in Europe during World War II. A sheet with prayers and the Rite of Eucharistic Devotion from 1964 was later stored in the burse. As a Catholic priest, Father Henry carried a portable Mass kit to administer last rites, to offer communion, and to perform mass for the troops. His unit took part in the liberation of Paris on August 25, 1944. He was one of the first American priests to hold mass in the Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris after liberation.
    use:  1944-1945
    publication/distribution:  1964
    use: Paris (France)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Estate of Edward Henry
    Subject: Edward C. Henry
    Edward C. Henry was born in 1912 in Trenton, New Jersey, the youngest of 10 children. He graduated from Our Lady of Angels Seminary at Niagara University in New York. He was ordained to the priesthood on March 13, 1937. He enlisted in the United States Army and served as a chaplain in Texas, England, and France.

    On August 25, 1944, Father Henry and his regiment assisted in the liberation of Paris soon after the landings in Normandy that June. In reflecting upon his service as an army chaplain, he noted that "it was hard to get used to," as soldiers "half alive would come in and you try to ease their last moments." He was one of the first American priests to say mass at the Cathedral of Notre Dame post liberation. Father Henry traveled throughout France, performing last rites, saying mass, and administering communion to the troops.

    After the war, he returned to New Jersey and led three congregations prior to retiring in 1970. He died in 1999, age 87 years old.

    Physical Details

    Physical Description
    a. Square, dark brown leather pouch, worn to a light brown, with rounded corners, tooled square outlines, and a gold painted Latin cross pressed on the front and reverse exterior. A gold colored metal zipper with a pull train unzips from left to right along the bottom; the front flap opens upward. The interior is lined in offwhite moire silk. The corners of both flaps have 4 painted pink rosebuds. Each flap has a semi-oval, gathered pocket with a single pleat stitched to the interior lining. On the pleat of the top pocket is a black Latin cross surrounded by offwhite and light brown diagonal lines, above a pink rosebud; to the left and right are pink roses. On the pleat of the bottom pocket, below a black Latin cross, a pink bleeding heart with orange and yellow flames shooting out the top is encircled by thorns; to the left and right are pink roses. A long dark brown cord strap passes through the top of the pouch, under the interior lining. The left upper zipper top stop has engraved English text and a number.
    b. Double sided, preprinted sheet of English text and numbers in black and green ink on rectangular, white paper, copyrighted in 1964. One side has a red border, text printed in green ink, and is entitled “DEVOTIONAL PRAYERS”. The body includes 6 prayers: Act of Faith, Act of Hope, Act of Contrition, Prayer to Jesus Crucified, and Prayer to St. Joseph. The reverse is printed in black ink and entitled, “RITE OF EUCHARISTIC DEVOTION”. The body includes 4 rites printed in block lettering: Exposition, Adoration, Benediction, and Reposition. The numbers 3 and 4 are at the top and center of the right edge. All text is bold except for the response to the Benediction.
    a: Height: 4.125 inches (10.478 cm) | Width: 4.375 inches (11.113 cm) | Depth: 0.500 inches (1.27 cm)
    b: Height: 8.125 inches (20.638 cm) | Width: 5.375 inches (13.653 cm)
    a : leather, cloth, metal, cord, thread, paint
    b : paper, ink
    zipper stop, upper left, engraved : MADE / IN / USA / 21

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Corporate Name
    United States. Army

    Administrative Notes

    The burse and prayer sheet were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2010 by John Grasser and Linda Layton, on behalf of the Estate of Edward Henry.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2023-08-25 18:26:02
    This page:

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