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...]

Catholic Action: The Comic Book

The phrase “Catholic Action” was an all-encompassing term that came into wide usage at the turn of the century. It referred to various groups of lay people attempting to bring a Catholicimprint to bear upon society at large. In his book The Soul of the Apostolate, Dom Chautard recalls a conversation Pope St. Pius X [Read More...]

Polish Religious Community Founded 1836

Today in 1836 marks the founding of the Congregation of the Resurrection in France. The first three members were a layman, Bogdan Janski, and two priests, Peter Semenenko and Jerome Kajsiewicz. Living among Polish refugees in Paris, Janski was an intellectual who found in the Gospel’s message the answer to the world’s problems. In his [Read More...]

Fordham Grad Leads Hunt for Lincoln Assassin

Tomorrow marks the death of General James Rowan O’Beirne (1844-1917), Civil War general and public official. Born in Roscommon, he emigrated to America as a child and graduated from St. John’s College (now Fordham University) before the war. During the war he served in the Eastern Theater, winning the Medal of Honor for bravey at [Read More...]

Lincolns Attend Parish Fundraiser on White House Lawn

In 1864, at the height of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary spent the Fourth of July at a parish fundraiser held on the White House lawn. A few weeks earlier Gabriel Coakley, an African-American Catholic, walked into the White House to see President about the picnic. Morris McGregor, the parish [Read More...]

“Champion of the Colored Race”

Today marks the death of Father Stephen Eckert (1869-1923), a Capuchin priest dedicated to working with the Black community. Born John Eckert to German immigrants in Ontario, he took the name Stephen when he joined the Capuchins in Detroit. He was ordained in 1896. Assigned to parishes in New York, he established a reputation for [Read More...]

Polish Schism Leads to Breakoff Church

Today marks the death of Francis Hodur (1866-1953), who led the only large-scale schism in American Catholic history. Born in Poland, he emigrated to the United States and finished his priestly studies in Pennsylvania, where he was ordained in 1893. He was assigned to local parishes, and in 1895 he became a pastor in Nanicoke. [Read More...]