Sunday, 31 August 2008

George Macdonald

George Macdonald - Oil and Utilities Entrepreneur; Head of the American Chapter of SMOM

Business, Pleasure Monday, Nov. 11, 1929

Last fortnight one of the innumerable roads to Rome (this one was the Saturnia of the Cosulich Line) took His Eminence Patrick Joseph Cardinal Hayes, third-ranking U. S. Cardinal, Archbishop of New York to His Holiness Pius XI. Ghostly was His Eminence's business. As Archbishop of Rome's largest diocese (1,273,291) he had some to report on its spiritual condition.

To the Vatican went Cardinal Hayes, to a private audience with the Pope. Then he visited his titular church, Santa Maria in Via, placed on the image of the Virgin of Sorrows a tiara "of imperial design," studded with precious gems, diamonds, rubies, pearls. The tiara was a gift from the Cardinal's parishioners.

In Cardinal Hayes' party were four priests and one layman—Papal Knight Commander of the Grand Cross Sir George MacDonald, noted Catholic charitarian. Manhattan financier. While Cardinal Hayes was in Rome, Sir George served as Papal Chamberlain at the Vatican. Then the party went to Naples to embark on the yacht lamara, chartered for a lengthy cruise by Papal Knight MacDonald. Manned by 50 sailors, 300-foot, 14-cabined, the lamara is the largest yacht in European waters. Once before, in 1927, had Sir George taken the Cardinal cruising, but that had been in the Caribbean. This time his yacht will skim the storied waters of the Mediterranean, carry them to Egypt, Palestine, Constantinople, return the Cardinal to Rome in time for the Pope's Golden Jubilee on Dec. 20.,9171,738002,00.html
It should not be forgotten that distinguished Catholic Americans, several of whom were members of the SMOM, received titles of nobility from the Holy See as recently as the 1950's. Among the better known examples are the late Rose FitzGerald Kennedy, a Papal Countess and mother of President John F. Kennedy, and Bernardine Donohue, a Papal Countess created by Pius XII, whose husband Daniel J. Donohue is a Gentleman of His Holiness and member of the American Association of the SMHOM. In the 1920's one of the founders of the American Association, Nicholas Brady, received the title of Papal Duke while another, George Macdonald, sometime President of the Association, was created a Papal Marquess.
The Association’s first president James J. Phelan and later president George Macdonald were instrumental in increasing the Association’s membership and in bringing increased revenues into the American organization.
Using his inherent talent, drive, and devotion to the Association, Cardinal Spellman was able to enlist the aid of some of America’s elite, including: John J. Raskob, chairman of General Motors; John Farrell, then president of U.S. Steel; Joseph P. Grace of W.R. Grace & Co.; Joseph Kennedy, a Boston entrepreneur; George MacDonald of Pennsylvania; and John D. Ryan.
If one enters Fordham Law School, a large bronze wall plaque lists the benefactors whose generosity enabled the construction of the Lincoln Center campus of the Jesuit University of New York. Among them is George, Marquis MacDonald. If memory serves, he had begun as a contractor, became a spectacularly successful financier, and then a benefactor of the church. He had married a daughter of the infamous police inspector Thomas Byrnes, whose personal fortune came from sources best left unexamined. MacDonald became a Knight of Malta, a Knight Grand Cross of the Holy Sepulchre, a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Gregory the Great, the holder of numberless honorary doctorates and, much to his pleasure, a papal marquis. He loved to have his picture taken in the uniform of one or another of these orders.
WHO'S WHO ? ................... KNIGHTS OF MALTA KNOW
An exception was made for the United States because of its rising political, economic and military power, and in 1927 a branch of SMOM was established on the East Coast. Most of the founding members were tycoons of industry and finance who would strongly oppose Roosevelt's New Deal [one, John J. Raskob, the chairman of the board of General Motors, even became involved in a plot to seize the White House].

They were soon joined by such titans as John Farrell, president of U.S. Steel; Joseph P. Grace, of W.R. Grace & Co.; Joseph Kennedy, a Boston entrepreneur and father of a future president of the United States; and George MacDonald of Pennsylvania, who made a fortune in oil and utilities.

MacDonald was typical of those who joined SMOM for the sheer fun of it. In recognition of generous contributions to the church, he was made a papal marquis as well as a grand master of the Knights, of Malta. MacDonald loved to dress up in the splashy Knights costume, with its ostrich-plumed hat, gold spurs and a uniform with gold epaulets, sashes and the medal with the Knights' eight-pointed Maltese cross

Many of the approximately 1,500 Americans who subsequently joined the knighthood also enjoyed the rituals of induction at the local cathedral and the ceremonies in honor of the order's patron, St. John. But for others, SMOM was more than pomp and circumstance-it was a source of money and power.
June 1, 1938.
Co /laster Knights and Dames, members of."

The Feast of St. John the Baptist will be celebrated this year on Satur-
day, June 25th. On that day the Association of Master Knights of the
Sovereign Military Order of Malta in the United States of America will
assemble in reunion by attending Holy Mass in the Lady Chapel of St.
Pafrick's Cathedral, 50th Street and Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y., at
nine o'clock A. M.
His Eminence Patrick Cardinal Hayes, Archbishop of New York, Grand
Protector and Spiritual Advisor of the Order in the United States, will
celebrate the Mass.
St. John the Baptist is the Patron Saint of the Order of Malta and
throughout the world the Knights gather in prayer on his annual Feast Day.
The By-Laws of the Association make it obligatory if possible that there
shall be a reunion or assemblage of ail members of the Association in a church
or chapel to be selected by the Board of Founders. Each member of the
Association should attend the said reunion or assemblage unless for justifiable
reason it is impossible for him to be present. We would naturally be pleased
to have the members of your family or friends attend on your invitation.
Ail members of the Association are urgently requested to attend but in
the event that it is impossible for Knights or Dames residing outside the
City of New York to be present, they are requested to attend Holy Mass on
June 25th at their parish church.
It is desirable to bave Knights mld Dames wear the button of the Order
on that occasion.

American Chpte', Knights of Malta.

149 Broadway,
New York, N. Y. (Proof Positive)
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