“The Mission of the Catholic Press,” 1920′s Style

From the thirties through the sixties, The Brooklyn Tablet was considered “the most influential diocesan paper in America.” Jesuit historian James Hennesey writes that few papers “had the spice” of the Tablet, with its hardcore anticommunism and general conservative tenor. No one embodied the image of the pugnacious Brooklyn Irish Catholic better than its longtime [Read More...]

Confederate President Almost Converts

When he was a child, future Confederate President Jefferson Davis attended Catholic school for a short while, the College of St. Thomas near Springfield, Kentucky. (In those days, “college” was a loose term meaning anything from grammar school through junior college.) Founded by the Dominican Fathers in 1812, St. Thomas was the first school west [Read More...]

Children’s Book Features African-American Nun

Sister Anne’s Hands, written by Marybeth Lorbiecki and beautifully illustrated by K. Wendy Popp, is a neat little book about an African-American nun in an unnamed religious order teaching white European ethnic school children in an unnamed city during the 1960’s. When Sister Anne is the subject of a racial comment, she uses the incident [Read More...]

Bishop Matthias Loras (1792-1858)

Today marks the death of Bishop Matthias Loras (1792-1858), first Bishop of Dubuque, Iowa. Born in Lyons during the French Revolution, he lost seventeen relatives to the Reign of Terror(including his father when he was ten weeks old). At school he befriended Jean Vianney, the future saint. After his ordination in 1815, he spent a [Read More...]

Spellman Gets Red Hat, 1946

Today marks the day that New York’s Archbishop Francis Spellman (1889-1967) and 31 other men were elevated to the College of Cardinals. Born in Massachusetts, he graduated from Fordham in 1911 and studied at the North American College in Rome, where he was ordained in 1916. He returned to Massachusetts as a priest of the [Read More...]

Missionary Crucified in China, 1820

Today marks the death of St. Francis Regis Clet (1748-1820), a Vincentian missionary martyred in China. Born in Grenoble he joined St. Vincent De Paul’s Congregation of the Mission in 1769. He was ordained in 1773, and spent fifteen years teaching at the order’s seminary at Annecy. In 1788 he was named novice director at [Read More...]

Happy Birthday, Gregorian!

Today marks the founding of the world’s first Jesuit university, the Gregorian, in 1551. Originally named the Roman College, it was raised to university status in 1553. The university’s great patron was Pope Gregory XIII (1572-1585), who gave a new building and endowment to the school, which was renamed in his honor. When the Society [Read More...]

Barnabites Founded, 1533

The sixteenth century saw a plethora of new religious communities like the Jesuits and the Oratorians, along with the reform of several others, such as the Capuchin Franciscans and St. Teresa of Avila’s Discalced Carmelites. Today marks the founding of the Barnabites in 1533 by St. Antonio Maria Zaccaria (seen here). It’s often assumed that [Read More...]

Just a Reminder

St. Patrick’s Day is one month away! [Read more...]

The Awful Anti-Catholicism of Maria Monk

The Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk was one of 19th century America’s best sellers. It sold 300,000 copies before the Civil War. It belongs to a particular genre, that of the “escaped nun.” In his highly recommended book, American Catholic, Charles Morris writes: The tales follow a consistent pattern: An innocent young girl, full of [Read More...]