And then there were Nuns…

A few months ago I was asked to speak on the history of Brooklyn’s Catholic schools to a group of parochial school teachers. What I discovered as I was preparing my talk surprised me. As we all know, this is a tough period for Catholic education in the United States. For Catholics of an older [Read More...]

Evangelization on Wheels

Begun in 1858, the Paulists were the first religious community of priests founded in America. Their purpose was (and is) to evangelize America. A hallmark of their charism has been meeting people “where they’re at.” Here’s a good example! During the 1930′s, they outfitted a number trailers as portable chapels, and they traveled into the [Read More...]

“One of the great arguments for Christianity”

Cardinal Newman once wrote that “the outburst of saints in 1500-1600 after the monstrous corruption” of the Renaissance papacy was “one of the great arguments for Christianity.” Today is the Feast of St. Angela Merici (1474-1540), foundress of the Ursulines, the first women’s teaching order. Born in Italy near Brescia, at age 22 she gathered [Read More...]

Blessed Jurgis Matulaitis (1871-1927)

Today marks the death of Blessed Jurgis Matulaitis (1871-1927), Bishop and founder of three religious communities. Born in Lithuania, he joined the Marian Fathers and was ordained in 1898. He earned a doctorate in Theology at the University of Fribourg and was a theology professor until he was named Bishop of Vilnius, Lithuania, in 1918. [Read More...]

Blessed Paul Joseph Nardini (1821-1862)

Today marks the death of Blessed Paul Joseph Nardini (1821-1862), priest and founder of a religious community. Born to a single mother in Germany, he was raised by his aunt and uncle. After studying at the University of Munich, he was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Speyer in 1846. For the next sixteen [Read More...]

Remembering Old Brooklyn

During the 1960′s, the New York Daily News carried a column titled “I Remember Old Brooklyn.” In it, ex-Brooklynites wrote in with their reminiscences about life in the borough during the 1920′s, World War I, the Gaslight era, and even earlier. One correspondent recalled Civil War veteran parades in the 1880′s! Here a Mr. Edward [Read More...]

H.A. Reinhold and the Dialogue Mass

Today marks the death of Hans Ansgar Reinhold (1907-1968), a German born priest who took a leading role in the Liturgical Movement. Begun in late 19th century Europe, the movement made its way to America in the 1920’s. Its purpose was twofold: to make the liturgy more attuned to early Christian traditions, and to make [Read More...]

“A Twentieth Century Doctor of the Church”

Today marks the death of Dietrich von Hildebrand (1889-1977), philosopher and academic. The son of a prominent sculptor, he grew up in Florence and returned to Germany to study philosophy. In 1912 he received his doctorate from the University of Göttingen. He converted to Catholicism in 1914, and during World War I he served in [Read More...]

Bishop Hughes and the Public School Society

New York City’s public schools were started in 1805 by the Public School Society, a Protestant evangelical group. The school day began with prayers, hymns, and Bible readings. However, the school textbooks had a strong anti-Catholic bias. In history, students read that “general ignorance” and “general corruption” characterized Catholic Europe. They also read that “superstition [Read More...]

Catholic Schools Week 2009

Today marks the beginning of Catholic Schools Week. This year’s theme is “Catholic Schools Celebrate Service.” The story of Catholic schools in America begins in 1640, when a layman named Roger Crouch founded the first in Maryland. Over the next 150 years growth was slow, because of the anti-Catholic legislation in many colonies. New York [Read More...]


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