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Current Exhibit

Our current exhibit features documents and items related to Father James “Jim” Hennessy, a missionary priest from Boston who served in the Solomon Islands from 1937 to 1942.

Father Hennessy was born in Cambridge in 1905, and after attending Saint Anselm’s College in New Hampshire, entered Saint John’s Seminary, Brighton, before completing his studies in Rome.  Shortly after being ordained, Father Hennessy found himself as an assistant to the then Father Richard J. Cushing at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, but was determined to serve as a missionary priest.

An opportunity finally came, and Father Hennessy served in the Solomon Islands from 1937 until 1942, when World War II brought the Japanese military to the island.  Despite warnings, Father Hennessy would not abandon his mission, and was taken captive by the occupying forces, after which his fate was unknown.

The mystery of his fate plagued his family, Cardinal Cushing, and all those who knew Father Hennessy.  Assuming the worst, Cardinal Cushing would establish the Father Jim Hennessy Club in his memory, a dedicated to learning about and supporting missions around the world.  He also published a pamphlet describing Father Hennessy’s work and the circumstances surrounding his capture and disappearance. 

His fate was discovered in 1947, via a letter from the United States Navy now on display.  Other items being exhibited include Father Hennessy’s Mass kit and documents pertaining to the Father Jim Hennessy Club, among others.  The display is located in the Lobby of the Pastoral Center in Braintree.