Brooklyn’s First Monsignor

When the Brooklyn Diocese was founded in 1853, the bulk of its people were German and Irish. For much of the next 75 years, the diocese had two Vicars General, one Irish and one German. (A Vicar General is in charge of a diocese during the bishop’s absence.) Today marks the death of Monsignor Michael [Read More...]

The Lateran Treaty of 1929

Today marks the signing of the Lateran Treaty in 1929 between the Holy See (the Vatican’s official name) and the Italian government. Because Italy’s unification in 1870 meant the loss of the Papal States, Pope Pius IX refused to recognize the new nation and his successors followed suit. For a long time Catholics were forbidden [Read More...]

Archbishop Patrick J. Ryan (1831-1911)

Today marks the death of Archbishop Patrick J. Ryan (1831-1911), the sixth ordinary of the Philadelphia Archdiocese. Born in Tipperary, he studied for the priesthood at St. Patrick’s College in Carlow. Like many seminarians, he was invited to work in the United States. While still a deacon, he went to the Diocese of St. Louis. [Read More...]

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...]