Fonds REN BRC - The Most Reverend Robert John Renison 1875-1957 Fonds

Mrs. Renison with Three Bishops at Renison College. James Bay: The Simple Alphabet Robert John Renison - Portrait by Kennedy Prayer Versus Hitler Photograph of Robert John Bristol Renison coming home from World War II with Everett Bristol and ... B & W Photograph of the Reverend Robert John Renison (seated) with his First Son Robert John ... Finding Aid - Fonds REN BRC - The Most Reverend Robert John Renison 1875-1957 Fonds Black and White Photo of Bishop Renison Blessing Congregation at the end of his Installation as M... The Rock of Cashel
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Title proper

The Most Reverend Robert John Renison 1875-1957 Fonds

General material designation

  • Textual record
  • Graphic material

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  • Source of title proper: Source of title is from provenance.

Level of description

Fonds

Reference code

CA Renison University College Archives REN BRC

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Dates of creation area

Date(s)

  • 2014 (Custody)
    Custodian
    Renison University College Archives
    Place
    Waterloo, Ont.
  • 1999- (Accumulation)
    Accumulator
    Reverend Robert John Renison Fonds
    Place
    Waterloo, Ont.
  • 1999-2008 (Custody)
    Custodian
    Renison College
    Place
    Waterloo, Ont.
  • 1957-1998 (Custody)
    Custodian
    Renison, Colonel George Everett Bristol
    Place
    Toronto, Ont.
  • 1957-1998 (Creation)
    Creator
    Renison, Colonel George Everett Bristol
    Place
    Toronto, Ont.
  • 1957-1975 (Creation)
    Creator
    Renison, Elizabeth Bristol (1885 - 1975)
    Place
    Toronto, Ont.
  • 1875-1957 (Creation)
    Creator
    Renison, Robert J. (Robert John). Metropolitan of Ontario.
    Place
    Ontario (Canada)

Physical description area

Physical description

122 linear centimeters.
500 photographs
200 negatives

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Archival description area

Name of creator

([1875-1957])

Biographical history

The Most Reverend Robert John Renison [1875-1957]
The Most Reverend Robert John Renison is an important figure in the history of the Anglican Communion in Canada due to his role as Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario. He also was known as a gifted writer of books and articles and was a popular religion columnist for the Globe and Mail for over 20 years. He was born in Ireland in the little village of Clonoulty near Cashel in the County Tipperary in 1875. His father was the Rev. Canon Robert Renison and his mother was the former Mary Elizabeth Kennedy, an American citizen that the Rev. Canon Renison met while on a trip to the United States. The Rev. Robert John Renison was the oldest of three boys, all of whom became Anglican (or Episcopalian) priests. In addition, he had three sisters. In 1914 he married Elizabeth Bristol of Hamilton, Ontario. They had two sons, Robert John Bristol Renison born in 1916, and George Everett Bristol Renison born in 1918. George Renison (d.1998) was married to Nancy Stirett and had three children; Katherine, Carol and Michael. Robert John was married to Shirley Sommerville (d 1957) and had one son Robert.

Bishop Renison immigrated to Canada in 1880 when his father answered a call to serve as a missionary to the Ojibway on the shores of Lake Nipigon. He was educated at Trinity College School in Port Hope Ontario from 1886-1892 on a scholarship for children of Anglican Priests, at the University of Toronto where he received a B.A. in English in 1895 and a M.A. in 1896, and at Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto. He received a D.D. degree from St. Johns College in Winnipeg in acknowledgement of his missionary work. He was ordained as a deacon in 1898 and as a full priest in 1899. After graduating from Wycliffe College he enlisted in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers under the pseudonym “Sergeant Patrick O’Reilly.” His first parish position was as a missionary priest near James Bay, Ontario, where he served until 1912. From 1912-1927 he was Rector of the Church of the Ascension in Hamilton, Ontario, except for a leave from 1918-1919 when he served as Anglican Chaplain for the 21st Battalion expeditionary Forces in World War I in France. He was Rector of Christ Church in Vancouver from 1927-1931 and Dean of New Westminster from 1929-1931. From 1931-1932 he was Bishop of Athabasca. From 1932- 1943 he was Rector of St. Paul’s Church on Bloor Street in Toronto. In 1944 he became Bishop of Moosonee. In 1952, he became the 9th Metropolitan (Head Bishop) of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario, a position he held until his retirement in 1954. He died in 1957. His funeral at St. Paul’s Anglican Church on Bloor Street, where he served as rector for many years, was packed with over 2000 mourners.

A dedicated missionary, he spent much of his career as a missionary with the first nation people in northern Ontario. He spent the first 14 years of his career as a missionary in the James Bay region. He was fluent in Cree and in writing the Cree syllabary language, eventually writing a hymnal in Cree. He was considered an advocate for members of the first nation tribes in northern Ontario for his time and was given the name “Sheegoos” or “the good medicine which comes once a year” in Cree. Upon his appointment to Metropolitan, he declined the opportunity to serve in Southern Ontario, preferring to stay in the Diocese of Moosonee. He was considered to be a gifted orator with a strong intellect and a rich sense of humour. He was a much loved rector during his time in Hamilton, Vancouver and Toronto as well.

He was a talented writer publishing a number of books besides his Cree Hymnal including the Life of Bishop Sullivan, Canada at War, Wednesday Morning, (which was a selection of his editorials for the Globe and Mail), For such a Time as This, (which was a collection of his sermons), and One Day at a Time, (his autobiography). Starting in 1937, he wrote a popular newspaper column in the Globe and Mail which he continued until his death in 1957. As a result of his weekly column and his work as a rector and Archbishop, he was held in high regard by Anglicans in Ontario for his spiritual leadership. In September of 1941 he travelled to London, England as one of a number of Canadian journalists and writers, in his case representing the Globe and Mail, as a guest of the British Council.

He left a legacy with his writings and books and also in the honours which were bestowed on him as a result of his life’s work. In 1959, the newly formed Anglican College in Waterloo, Ontario, which would become later become affiliated with the University of Waterloo, was named in his honour. The Renison family remained in close contact with the college, with Bishop Renison's widow Elizabeth often being present for College events in early years. His son, George Everett Bristol Renison, a World War II hero and the founder and chairman of W.H. Smith Canada, served as Chancellor of Renison University College from 1986-1992.

Name of creator

(1918?-1998)

Biographical history

Colonel George Everett Bristol Renison is the youngest son of the Reverend Robert John Renison and his wife Elizabeth Bristol Renison. He was born in 1918 in Hamilton Ontario while his father served as an Anglican Chaplain to the Canadian Expeditionary forces. He was a war hero and former prisoner of war during World War II. He was the Chairman and founder of W.H. Smith Canada and Chancellor of Renison University College from 1986-1992 and honourary Chancellor until his death in 1998.

Name of creator

((1885- 1975))

Biographical history

Elizabeth Bristol Renison was born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1885. In 1914 she married the Reverend Robert John Renison in Hamilton, Ontario. She died in 1975 in Toronto, Ontario. They had two sons, Robert John Bristol Renison and George Everett Bristol Renison.

Custodial history

Willed to Renison University College in c/o Gail Cuthbert Brandt July 1999 from the estate of George Everett Bristol Renison. Willed to George Everett Bristol Renison by his father Bishop Robert John Renison.

Scope and content

The Most Reverend Robert John Renison (1875-1957) fonds contains newspaper clippings collected by Bishop Renison (and later by his wife) about him or written by either himself or his wife, Elizabeth Bristol Renison. It also contains drafts of his writings, diaries, letters from him and to him and his wife, drafts and notes from his sermons, speeches by him or his wife, photographs and negatives including many from newspapers, his books with his notes (many in Cree), official documents and certificates and objects including his academic robes and war medals.

Notes area

Physical condition

Fair to poor. Many items show evidence of acidification.

Immediate source of acquisition

Estate of George Everett Bristol Renison

Arrangement

Language of material

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Digitized version of some items available online

Restrictions on access

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Items include published works including books, photographs and newspaper articles. Rights for individual items are as noted in individual item records.

Finding aids

Finding aid available.

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Description record identifier

REN BRC

Institution identifier

Renison University College Archives

Rules or conventions

RAD - Rules for Archival Description, Rev. version., Ottawa: Bureau of Canadian Archivists, 2008.

Status

Final

Level of detail

Full

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created: 08.20.2013
Revised: 04.04.2014
Revised: 04.27.2016
Revised: 06.27.2016
Revised: 05.03.2016

Language of description

Script of description

Sources

Cuthbert Brandt, G. (2008). Bold and Courageous Dreams : A History of Renison University College, 1959-2009. Waterloo, Ont. : Renison University College.

Renison, Robert John,Bishop, 1875-1957. (1957). One Day at a Time : The Autobiography of Robert John Renison ; edited by Margaret Blackstock. Toronto : Kingswood.

Accession area