The Catholic Half of Hull House

Today marks the death of Ellen Gates Starr (1859-1940), who along with Jane Addams founded Hull House in 1889 to help Chicago’s immigrant population. Born in Illinois, she was raised a Unitarian and studied at Rockford Female Seminary, where she first met Addams. For ten years she taught art and English in Chicago schools. Starr [Read More...]

Jesuit Starts America’s First Foreign Service School

This year marks the ninetieth anniversary of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, the first school in the United States for diplomatic training. The school’s founder was a young Jesuit recently appointed to the university, Father Edmund A. Walsh (1885-1956). A huge success from the start, the SFS had the first complete academic program geared [Read More...]

St. Miguel Febres Cordero, F.S.C. (1854-1910)

Today marks the Feast of St. Miguel Febres Cordero (1854-1910), the first Ecuadorian to join the De La Salle Christian Brothers. Born into a prominent family, he joined the Brothers and taught at their schools in Ecuador and Spain. Once a young confrere asked him why he still prepared lessons after twenty years of teaching. [Read More...]

Solider, Mayor, Saint

Today marks the Feast of St. Jerome Emiliani (1481-1537). A native of Venice, he served as a soldier and as mayor of Treviso before he entered religious life. Ordained a priest in 1518, he felt a strong call to help the urban poor, particularly abandoned children. He founded orphanages, hospitals and homes for ex-prostitutes. In [Read More...]

The Saint from Darfur

Today marks the death of St. Josephine Bakhita (1869-1947). Born in Darfur, she was sold into slavery at age seven and forcibly converted to Islam. She was renamed Bakhita (meaning “fortunate”) by her captors. She was sold several times, the last time to an Italian diplomat. It’s hard to imagine the brutality she experienced as [Read More...]

Sisters on the March

This photo was taken during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. If you’re interested in learning more about the participation of women religious in the movement, check out the documentary Sisters of Selma, which is now available on DVD. [Read more...]

“The Prisoner of the Vatican”

Today marks the death of Pope Pius IX (1792-1878), whose 32 year pontificate was the longest (tradition has it) after St. Peter. Born to a noble family, Giovanni Mastai-Ferretti was ordained in 1819. After some pastoral and diplomatic work, he was named an Archbishop in 1827. He became a Cardinal. When the arch-conservative Pope Gregory [Read More...]

Bishop’s Grave Lost and Found

Today marks the death of John Connolly (1750-1825), second Bishop of New York from 1815 to 1825. Born in County Meath, he joined the Dominicans and studied in Belgium, where he was ordained in 1774. For 37 years he taught at the Irish Dominican College in Rome. In 1814 he was named second Bishop of [Read More...]

Librarian, Mountainclimber, Pope

Today marks the election of Pope Pius XI in 1922. Born Achille Ratti in 1857, he grew up near Milan and was ordained in 1879. He taught in Milan’s seminary and was named head of the Ambrosian Library in 1888. Father Ratti was an expert in Medieval paleography. In 1907 he was named head of [Read More...]

Eagle Scout Nears Sainthood

Just the other day, Deacon Greg Kandra posted the sad story of a seminarian who died just before his ordination. In a few days, we’ll be marking the passing of another seminarian who died young, and whose canonization cause is underway. February 7 marks the passing of Frank Parater (1897-1920), a seminarian from the Richmond [Read More...]