Which Bishop Kearney?

Today in 1935 marks the day that Raymond A. Kearney (1902-1956) was consecrated an Auxiliary Bishop for the Brooklyn Diocese. Born in Jersey City, his family moved to Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant section when he was a child. He was a parishioner at Nativity of Our Blessed Lord Church, where he attended the parochial school. He then [Read More...]

Felix Varela: Cuban Patriot and Priest

Today marks the death of Father Felix Varela (1788-1853), priest, scholar, and Cuban patriot. Orphaned at three, he was raised by his grandfather in Florida. He returned to Cuba at fourteen to study for the priesthood. Ordained at age 23, he became a seminary professor. He would eventually publish seven books on philosophy and social [Read More...]

Lithuanian Parish Founded in Queens, 1908

Today marks the day in 1908 that the First Mass was celebrated by Father Nicodemus Petjus at Transfiguration Church in the Maspeth section of Queens. The parish was founded as Queens’ first (and only) Lithuanian Catholic parish. By the turn of the century Lithuanians were moving into western Queens in large numbers, and they wanted [Read More...]

Mother Mary Augustine Giesen (1860-1950)

Today marks the death of Mary Augustine Giesen (1860-1950), foundress of the Sisters of St. Francis of Maryville. Born in Minnesota, she joined the Sisters of St. Mary in St. Louis as a young woman. In 1894 she and six sisters founded a separate community, the Sisters of St. Francis of Maryville. That year they [Read More...]

Walla Walla’s One and Only

Today marks the death of Bishop Augustin M. Blanchet (1797-1887), the first and only Bishop of Walla Walla. Born in Quebec, he was ordained a priest in 1821. His older brother Francis N. Blanchet also became a priest and an archbishop. For twenty-five years he worked in rural parishes and in Montreal before he was [Read More...]

Robert E. Lee’s Jesuit Classmate

The website for the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester has a great section on its former presidents, and it seems that the college’s president during the Civil War years was quite an interesting figure. Father James Clark (1809-1885) was the first West Point graduate to join the Jesuits. Born in Pennsylvania, he entered [Read More...]

Josephites founded to Evangelize Black America

They weren’t actually founded on this day, but Black History Month makes this a good time to talk about the Josephites (advertised here in this 1890′s flyer). Officially named St. Joseph’s Society of the Sacred Heart in 1893, the Josephites are unique among American religious communities. They started as an offshoot of the Mill Hill [Read More...]

RSHM’s founded 1849

Today marks the founding of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary (RSHM), a community founded in 1849 in Montpellier, France. The community was founded by Father Jean Gailhac (1802-1890), a diocesan priest, and Appolllonie Cure (1809-1849), a widow. Their first apostolic work was to run a women’s shelter and an orphanage. Appollonie became [Read More...]

General Thomas Wilberforce Egan (1834-1887)

Today marks the death of another Civil War general who was Catholic: Major General Thomas Wilberforce Egan (1834-1887). Born to Irish immigrants in Watervliet in upstate New York, he enlisted at the start of the war and was commissioned a lieutenant colonel in the 40th New York Volunteers. He served in nearly in nearly every [Read More...]

Church Historian Named to Gotham

This morning it was announced that Pope Benedict XVI had appointed Milwaukee’s Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan to be the next Archbishop of New York. The Archbishop brings an impressive background with him: Secretary to the Apostolic Nuncio, Rector of the North American College, Auxiliary Bishop of St. Louis, head of an archdiocese. But not everyone [Read More...]