This collection survives as a legacy of the Urasenke school of Japanese tea ceremony courses taught at La Salle University by Brother Joe Keenan from 1987 until his death 1999. Brother Keenan taught in the Religion Department at La Salle from 1963 to 1971 and from 1974 to 1999. The design for his courses grew from his observance of parallels between Japanese tea ceremony, or “chanoyu,” and the Eucharist of the Catholic Mass.
This program made La Salle one of the first universities in the East with a learning center dedicated to Japanese tea ceremony. Chanoyu courses were taught in the Belfield estate’s “Tenant House,” renovated in 1987 to serve as a traditional Japanese tea ceremony house, only to be demolished in 2007 and replaced with administrative offices. The Philadelphia chapter of the Urasenke school lives on at Shofuso, the Japanese house and garden in Fairmount Park.