Pedrodecordoba[1]

Catholics in the Movies: Pedro de Cordoba (1881-1950)

Born in New York City to a French mother and a Cuban father, Pedro de Cordoba was a solidly reliable character actor in American films from the silent through the sound era. Between 1915 and 1951, he appeared in some 125 movies. The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) says of him: "A tall, somewhat frail-looking man, he often played wealthy, aristocratic Latins, usually (but not always) kind-hearted and benevolent." Some of his more noteworthy appearances include two Errol Flynn movies: Captain Blood … [Read More...]

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Anti-Catholic Cartoon of the Week

The Rail Splitter was one of several anti-Catholic publications that gained a wide circulation in the 1910's and 1920's. This cartoon from its pages shows a cassocked priest replete with horns and tail knocking at the door of the American public school system. (In many remote rural areas of the South, priests, and Catholics in general, were said to have horns under their hats). He is seen literally crossing the line between Church and State, coming from the "parochial school and nunnery," where … [Read More...]

Francis_Kernan_-_Brady-Handy[1]

Catholics in Public Service: Senator Francis Kernan, New York (1816-1892)

As Americans go to the polls today, we profile the first Catholic to represent New York in the United States Senate. The following is taken from the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia:Lawyer, statesman; born in Steuben County, New York, 14 January, 1816; d. at Utica, New York, 7 September, 1892; son of General William Kernan, who came to America from County Cavan, Ireland, in 1800, and of Rose Anna Stubbs, his wife. He attended Georgetown College, D.C., from 1833 to 1836, studied law in Utica, N.Y., … [Read More...]

john-lancaster-spalding-1[1]

Catholic Poetry: “Believe and Take Heart,” by John Lancaster Spalding

BELIEVE AND TAKE HEART By John Lancaster SpaldingWhat can console for a dead world? We tread on dust which once was life; To nothingness all things are hurled: What meaning in a hopeless strife?Time's awful storm Breaks but the form.Whatever comes, whatever goes, Still throbs the heart whereiby we live; The primal joys still lighten woes, And time which steals doth also give.Fear not, be brave: God- can thee save.The essential truth of life remains, … [Read More...]

Father Walter Elliott, C.S.P. (1842-1928)

All Saints Day Homily, St. Paul the Apostle, Manhattan, 1913

FEAST OF ALL SAINTS: The Intercession of the Saints."You have come to Mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to the company of many thousands of angels, and to the Church of the firstborn, who are written in the heavens, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the just made perfect" (Heb. xii. 22, 23).SAINT SULPICIOUS SEVERUS says of St. Martin of Tours, that he commanded a raging conflagration to cease, and it instantly obeyed him; he was … [Read More...]

A bust of Father John Hand (1807-1846), founder of All Hallows

All Hallows College, Ireland (1840)

On the eve of  All Hallows (All Saints), it seems appropriate to focus on a seminary named for that day. From 1840 through the 1980's, All Hallows College sent some 5,000 Irish priests out to the English-speaking world. Today it is a college of Dublin City University. The following is taken from the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia:An institution devoted to the preparation of priests for the missions in English-speaking countries. In the year 1840 a young priest, the Reverend John Hand … [Read More...]

The First Review of “New York Catholics”!

The following review of my new book, New York Catholics, appears this week in The Tablet, the official newspaper of the Diocese of Brooklyn. It's in the editorial column by Editor Ed Wilkinson:  I’m a big fan of a new book titled “New York Catholics, Faith, Attitude and the Works” by Dr. Patrick McNamara. I write that not just because I’m one of the 71 people profiled in the book but because it is an outstanding piece of scholarship that offers insight into the history of the Church in … [Read More...]

Mona Darkfeather

Who’s Buried in Catholic Cemeteries: Mona Darkfeather, Actress (1883-1977)

Between 1910 and 1917, this actress appeared in some 109 movies, featured mainly as a Native American woman. Born Josephine Workman in California, she was of English, Scottish, Native American and Chilean descent. As a young woman she responded to a newspaper from Bison Pictures looking for women to play Native American characters. The company advertised as a full-blooded Blackfoot Indian princess, and she became famous in the movie world of the 1910’s as Princess Mona Darkfeather, famous for “ … [Read More...]

Bp Reynolds

Blog Bishop of the Week: Ignatius A. Reynolds, Charleston, South Carolina (1798-1855)

Ignatius Aloysius Reynolds was born near Bardstown, Kentucky, August 22, 1798, of one of the Catholic families that emigrated from Maryland to that State. Trained under Bishop Flaget and Dr. David he early showed a real vocation, and was one of the first students in the Theological Seminary at Bardstown. Completing his course at St Mary's, Baltimore, the young Kentuckian was ordained there October 24, 1823. Returning to his native State, he became professor, and subsequently president, of St. … [Read More...]

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Anti-Catholic Cartoon of the Week: “Erin Go Unum”

This cartoon was circulated from the early 1900’s through the 1920’s, when anti-Catholicism reached a fever pitch in American life. Here an octopus with Pope Leo XIII’s head strangles Lady Liberty with tentacles titled “Insolence,” “Rascality,” “Deceit,” “Tyranny,” “Treachery,” “Bigotry,” “Intolerance,” and “Greed.” The cartoon illustrates the alleged threat that Roman Catholicism, specifically Irish Roman Catholicism, poses to America in general and the public school system in particular. The si … [Read More...]


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