The Reverend Marvin R. O’Connell, professor emeritus of history, University of Notre Dame, and the ACHA’s 2013 Distinguished Scholar Award recipient, died last month on August 19th. A longtime member of the Association, Fr. O’Connell was selected for the Distinguished Scholar award in recognition of his achievements as a master historian of people, movements, and institutions stretching from Rome to St. Paul and from the mid-sixteenth to the mid-twentieth century.
He launched his scholarly career in 1964 when Yale University Press published his book “Thomas Stapleton and the Counter Reformation”. Displaying the remarkable range and versatility that would be the hallmarks of his scholarly career, O’Connell turned next to “The Oxford Conspirators: A History of the Oxford Movement, 1833–1845” (New York, 1969). Five years later, he contributed “The Counter Reformation, 1559–1610” (New York, 1974) to the famous “Rise of Modern Europe” series.
Turning next to the American Church and his own Minnesota, O’Connell published “John Ireland and the American Catholic Church” (St.Paul, MN, 1988). Returning to intellectual history and largely to European concerns, he next published “Critics on Trial: An Introduction to the Catholic Modernist Crisis” (Washington, DC, 1994) and “Blaise Pascal: Reasons of the Heart” (Grand Rapids, MI, 1997). In his retirement, O’Connell published a complete study of Notre Dame’s founder “Edward Sorin” (Notre Dame, 2001) and “Pilgrims to the Northland: The Archdiocese of St. Paul, 1840–1962” (Notre Dame, 2009).