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...]

Sister Blandina meets Billy the Kid

Today marks the death of Sister Blandina Segale, S.C. (1850-1941), an Italian-American nun who ministered in the Wild West during its heyday. Born Rosa Segale in Italy, she emigrated to America as a child, settling in Cincinnati. At age sixteen she joined the Sisters of Charity, taking the name Blandina. After a few years teaching [Read More...]

“The Most Bombed Bishop in the World”

Today marks the death of Bishop Edward Galvin (1882-1956), founder of the Columban Fathers. A native of Crookstown, he was ordained in Ireland in 1909. At the time, however, his diocese had too many priests, and he was sent across the water to Brooklyn. For three years he worked at Holy Rosary parish in Bedford-Stuyvesant, [Read More...]

“Father Matthew Kelly”

Today marks the death of Venerable Samuel Mazzuchelli, O.P. (1806-1864), a pioneer missionary priest who established over twenty parishes in the American Midwest Born in Milan, he joined the Dominicans at age seventeen and came to America five years later. In 1828, he was ordained a priest in Cincinnati by the Dominican Bishop Edward Fenwick. [Read More...]

Priest Founds First Polish Community in America

The first Polish settlement in America, surprisingly, wasn’t New York or Chicago. It was actually a rural Texas community named Panna Maria (Polish for “Virgin Mary”). Today marks the death of Father Leopold Moczygemba, O.F.M. Conv. (1824-1891), a Polish-born priest who was the leading figure behind the founding of that community. Born in Silesia, he [Read More...]