Mother Angela Gillespie (1824-1887)

Today marks the death of Mother Angela Gillespie (1824-1887), first Mother Superior of the Sisters of the Holy Cross. Born Eliza Gillespie in Indiana, she graduated from Visitation Academy in Washington, D.C., before teaching school. In 1853 she joined the Sisters of the Holy Cross, a community founded in France. In 1855 she was assigned [Read More...]


At the end of the Civil War, Father Isaac Hecker, founder of the Paulists, fulfilled his dream of launching a national Catholic magazine, The Catholic World. The first issue appeared in May, and it ran continuously for 131 years until 1996. It was a pretty bold step at a time when many Catholic journals were [Read More...]

Katharien Drexel, the Millionaire Saint

Today marks the Feast of St. Katharine Drexel (1858-1955), foundress of a religious community. A Philadelphia heiress, she was educated by tutors at home and traveled extensively as a young girl. After her parents’ death, she decided to use her sizeable inheritance in the interests of the Church. She was particularly interested in ministering to [Read More...]

America’s First Polish Cardinal

Today marks the death of John Krol (1910-1996), the first Polish-American Cardinal. Born in Cleveland to Polish immigrants, he was managing a supermarket when a Protestant co-worker stumped him in a theological argument. The experience inspired him to launch on a personal study of Catholicism that led to his being ordained a priest for the [Read More...]

America’s First Polish Bishop

Today marks the death of Paul Rhode (1870-1945), the first Pole to be named a Roman Catholic Bishop in the United States. Born in Werowo, an area of Poland under Prussian rule, he came to Chicago with his family at age nine. By the turn of the century Chicago had more Poles than Warsaw. Rode’s [Read More...]

America’s First Suffragette

The first sizeable number of Catholics to settle in the thirteen colonies were in Maryland, beginning in the 1630’s. While the colony was not officially Catholic, its large Catholic population and the high number of Catholics in public office made it seem that way at times. Among the prominent Maryland families were the Brents. Giles [Read More...]

Avery Dulles, Comic Book Hero

Avery Dulles wore numerous hats in his life: scion of a distinguished American family, Harvard grad, Catholic convert, World War II veteran, Jesuit, theologian, Cardinal. In addition to all of this, he was featured in Treasure Chest, the Catholic comic book distributed in parochial schools between 1946 and 1972. The article featured his conversion story. [Read More...]

Pius XII Elected Pope

Today marks the unanimous election of Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli (1876-1958) to the papacy as Pope Pius XII. Pacelli was Pius XI’s announced choice for successor. Born Eugenio Pacelli to a noble Roman family, he entered the diplomatic service as a young priest. From 1917 to 1929 he was nuncio to Germany. He then came back [Read More...]

St. Joseph’s Church, Brooklyn

Since March is dedicated to St. Joseph, this is a good chance to highlight a local parish dedicated in his name. St. Joseph parish, located in Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights section, was founded in 1853 to meet the needs of Irish immigrants flocking to the area in large numbers. Soon it became what today we call [Read More...]

“The poor Wretches, fingering their Beads, chanting Latin”

John Adams wasn’t the biggest fan of the Catholic Church, but there was something he found undeniably fascinating about it. In October 1774, while he was in Philadelphia on Continental Congress business, he stopped in to visit an unspecified Catholic Church. He wrote about the experience to his wife Abigail: This afternoon, led by Curiosity [Read More...]