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Monsignor William J. Lallou records

Identifier: MC 55

Scope and Contents

The Monsignor William Lallou Records, 1885-1975, largely contains sermons, scrapbooks, handwritten diaries, notebooks, published books, and portrait photographs. A significant portion of the scrapbooks and diaries document Lallou’s travels abroad as well as functions at Our Lady of Lourdes Church and other church functions. The collection of notebooks are handwriten on science and church related subjects.

Most of the materials in the collection are in English, though some are written in French. There are two oversized items. One is a photo album located on the third shelf down, on top of the hollinger boxes designated, MC 55, Monsignor William J. Lallou Records. The second, is a small bust statue of Bishop Neumann which is located in the basement of the archive. Please make proper arrangments with archive staff if you wish to see use/access these materials.


  • Creation: 1885 - 1975

Language of Materials

A majority of the records are in English, some materials are in French.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Please note that copyright is retained by the authors of items in these records, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

William J. Lallou was born on August 17, 1880 of French-Irish ancestry in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His mother died in 1882, when he was 2 years old and his father died in 1886. He was raised by his paternal grandmother and two paternal aunts in Sacred Heart of Jesus parish in South Philadelphia.

Lallou was educated in the public schools of Philadelphia as there was no parochial school at Sacred Heart parish when he was of elementary school age. He graduated from Central High School in 1898. He spent a year of concentrated training in Latin at Roman Catholic High School and was admitted into St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in September, 1899. After his first year at St. Charles, Lallou was advised to take a year off for health reasons. He spent the year at Seton Hall College in South Orange, New Jersey and received his Bachelor of Arts degree there in 1901. He returned to the seminary and was ordained on May 24, 1904.

Lallou's first assignment was as chaplain for the summer of 1904 to Colonel Edward and Mrs. Louise Morrell at their home in Bar Harbor, Maine. The Morrells were a prominent Philadelphia Catholic family. Louise Morrell was the sister of Mother Katharine Drexel. In September, 1904, he was sent to the Catholic University, Washington, D.C. for post-graduate study and received a Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree in 1905. On June 10, 1905, Lallou was made an assistant at St. Philomena’s parish in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania. In January, 1910, he was assigned to the parish of St. John the Evangelist in Philadelphia. During World War I, he served for five months as an army chaplain at Camp Hancock, Georgia. In February, 1918, he was appointed pastor pro tem of St. Ann's in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania where he served until October of that year when he was named Director of Catholic Charities for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He held this position until 1920, when he was named pastor of St. Philip Neri in Philadelphia.

In 1926, Lallou was appointed as professor at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary where he taught liturgy, sacramental theolohy and French. He also directed the school plays and supervised the ceremonies. In 1938, Lallou became a professor at the Catholic University in Washington where he taught liturgy and served as Master of Ceremonies. While at Catholic University, he also wrote for The American Ecclesiastical Review and directed ceremonies at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Lallou was well read and highly educated. In addition to his teaching assignments, he was known as a distinctive preacher and gave many sermons for different occasions such as funerals, eulogies, graduations, religious holidays, and anniversaries. As a professor, he wrote on a variety of subjects such as physics, anatomy, music, and chemistry, in addition to his writings on Catholic liturgical issues. He also often appeared on radio discussing aspects of Catholic faith and liturgy.

While a professor at St. Charles and Cathoic University, he utilized summer vacations to travel extensively. He travelled throughout the world, including Europe, the Near East and the Far East. Laloou also travelled throughout the United States and visited all of the mainland states, as well as Alaska. He spent time on a Navaho reservation and was also made an honory chief by the Mohawks of Caugnawaugha, Canada. He also had strong interests in sports, music and the theater. During a trip to Califronia, he served as advisor on the film "Joan of Arc." He also had a strong interest in sports, music and theater.

In 1950, while facing mandatory retirement from Catholic University, Lallou was named pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Philadelphia. At the parish, Lallou abandoned his interests in travel and writing to devote himself to his pastoral duties at the parish. He visited the school almost every day and began many liturgical ceremonies at the parish to celebrate various Holy Days and Feast Days. He continued his interest in sports by establishing athletic programs at the parish.

In 1959, Lallou was named a domestic prelate by Pope John XXXIII. He retired as rector in June, 1967 and became Pastor Emeritus. In 1969, he observed his 65th anniversary as a priest. Monsginor Lallou died on October 11, 1973 and was interred on the church grounds.


6.25 Linear Feet (; 15 boxes, one oversized album, one bust statue)


Born in Philadelphia and a graduate of St. Charles Seminary (Overbrook, Philadelphia, PA), William J. Lallou (1880-1973) served as an assistant pastor and pastor of several parishes within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, including Our Lady of Lourdes, where he served as pastor for 17 years. He served as Director of the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and was a professor at St. Charles Seminary and at the Catholic University of America. He authored the book The fifty years of the apostolic delegation (1943), and was named a domestic prelate by Pope John XXIII in 1959.

The Monsignor William J. Lallou Records, 1885-1975, contains a large number of sermons, scrapbooks, and picture books, many of which document both Lallou’s travels abroad as well as activities at Our Lady of Lourdes Church. The collection also includes: personal diaries, family photographs, research notes and books on various topics, such as Central High School, Lallou’s alma mater.


The Monsignor William J. Lallou Records are arranged into six series. Because the collection was previously processed, our reprocessing efforts were mainly updating preservation standards for the materials. As a result, materials remained in the original arrangement. The collection also has a Small Bust Statue, which is located in the basement of the archives.

Series I. Sermons

Series II. Scrapbooks

Series III. Diaries

Series IV. Notebooks

Series V. Books

Series VI. Photographs

The Monsignor William J. Lallou Records are arranged into 6 series. Small Bust Statue, 7, is an item located in the basement of the archives.

  1. Sermons
  2. Scrapbooks
  3. Diaries
  4. Notebooks
  5. Books
  6. Photographs
  7. Small Bust Statue

Separated Materials

Small bust statue of Bishop Neumann is located on shelf in archives.

Processing Information

This collection was previously processed by the Ryan Memorial Library. The Philadelphia Archdiocese Historical Research Center (PAHRC) believed the collection needed to be reprocessed in order to promote basic preservation standards. As a result, in November 2012, our processing intern, Hoang Tran, reprocessed the collection at the file level and included item-level description of materials.

In order to adhere to the principle of original order, it was decided that materials in each series were to remain in their current archival arrangement order. As a result of this decision, the finding aid provides researchers with item-level description within the file level.

Hoang Tran
November 2012
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Catholic Historical Research Center of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Repository

6719 Calvert Street
Philadelphia PA 19149