Holy Cross Foundress

Today marks the death of Leocadie Gascoin (1818-1900), first Superior General of the Marianites of the Holy Cross, a branch of the community founded by Father Basil Moreau. The Marianites are one of three women’s communities within the Holy Cross family. Born in Montenay, France, she left her parents’ home to join Father Moreau in [Read More...]

The Harvest is Great…

… Literally! I couldn’t resist adding this one! This 1938 photo from the Universe, a leading English Catholic weekly, shows the Augustinian Recollects of St. Austin’s Priory gathering crops in August 1938. This community was founded in sixteenth century Spain, and the priory was founded in 1932. [Read more...]

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...]