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...]

The Colored Catholic Club of Brooklyn

The history of African-American Catholics is the story of a group of people who kept the faith alive for decades with little institutional support and often without the benefit of clergy. Today marks the death of Jules DeWeever (1871-1940), an early leader of Brooklyn’s Black Catholic community. Born in the Dutch West Indies, as a [Read More...]

George N. Shuster: Intellectual, Educator, Public Servant

Today marks the death of George Nauman Shuster (1894-1977), author, editor, public official and college president. Born in Wisconsin, he graduated from Notre Dame in 1915. During World War I, he served with the U.S. Army in Europe. Afterward he returned to Notre Dame, where he earned a master’s degree in English and joined the [Read More...]

Can Soap Be Anti-Catholic?

Back in the 1800′s, when people used the term “Native American,” they weren’t referring to the indigenous peoples of North America. They meant native-born white Anglo-Saxon Protestants. Hence the anti-immigrant movement became known as Nativism. In 1849, a group of Nativists met in New York to form an organization they titled the “Order of the [Read More...]

Cardinal Consalvi, Papal Diplomat

Today marks the death of Cardinal Ercole Consalvi (1757-1824), a papal diplomat regarded as one of the greatest to ever serve the Holy See. A native Roman, he earned degrees in canon and civil law before entering the ranks of the papal government. He took Holy Orders early on, but wasn’t ordained a priest. In [Read More...]

St. Francis De Sales and the Universal Call to Holiness

Today is the Feast of St. Francis De Sales (1567-1622). Born to an aristocratic family in Savoy, he studied law and theology at the University of Padua before being ordained a priest in 1593. He was named Bishop of Geneva in 1602. In 1610, he and St. Jane Frances de Chantal founded the Visitation Sisters. [Read More...]

“Even a Fool is Silent and Adores.”

Today is the feast day for Blessed Marianne Cope (1838-1918), a Franciscan sister who worked with Father Damien on the island of Moloka’i ministering to the lepers there. Born in Germany, her family emigrated to upstate New York when she was young. At age twenty-four she joined the Franciscan Sisters of Philadelphia. Over the next [Read More...]

William Gaston: Southerner, Catholic, Politician

Today marks the death of William Gaston (1778-1844): lawyer, politician, judge, and Southern Catholic. Born in North Carolina to a Protestant father and a Catholic mother, in 1791 he was the first student to enroll at Georgetown College in Washington, D.C. (Until the early 1900’s, there wasn’t a clear line of demarcation between high schools [Read More...]

“When We Are Devoted to Mary We Will Imitate Jesus.”

The Church historian Roger Aubert estimates that every year of the nineteenth century saw a new religious community dedicated somewhere in the world to the Blessed Mother. Today marks the death of William Joseph Chaminade (1761-1850), a French priest who founded the Marianists in 1817. Ordained just before the French Revolution, Chaminade refused to take [Read More...]