More Nast(iness)

Thomas Nast really had it in for the Catholic Church! This cartoon, titled “The Promised Land,” appeared in the October 1, 1870, issue of Harper’s Weekly. Here Pope Pius IX and his minions look toward America in the hopes of subjugating it to Catholic rule. For Nast Roman Catholicism and American democracy were incompatible, a [Read More...]

Ty Cobb’s Jesuit

After Ty Cobb was suspended in the spring of 1912 for attacking a fan, his teammates walked out in support. But the Tigers had a tough game coming up against the World Series champion Philadelphia Athletics, so owner Frank Navin recruited local players in the Philly area to fill in for them. Among them was [Read More...]

Louise Imogen Guiney: Poet, Critic, Biographer

Today marks the birth of Louise Imogen Guiney (1861-1920), a Massachusetts-born essayist, poet, and literary scholar who spent much of her life in England. The daughter of a Civil War general, she worked as a postmistress and librarian in New england while pursuing her writing. In 1901, she moved to England permanently. In addition to [Read More...]

“I began to ask myself, ‘Is there no remedy?’”

Today marks the death of Father Edward McGlynn (1837-1900), a New York priest and social activist. Ordained in 1860, parish work in New York’s immigrant neighborhoods strengthened his commitment to the urban poor. In 1866, he became pastor of St. Stephen’s, then the city’s largest parish. He was troubled by “the never-ending procession of men, [Read More...]

Walter Elliott (1842-1928): Paulist Evangelizer

Today marks the birth of Father Walter Elliott (1842-1928), a Paulist priest who was one of the leading preachers and writers of his day. Born in Detroit to Irish immigrant parents, he attended Notre Dame and studied law before the Civil War. During the war he was a sergeant in the Fifth Ohio Infantry. After [Read More...]

Philly’s Bohemian Bishop

Today is the Feast of St. John Neumann (1811-1860), Philadelphia’s fourth bishop (1852-1860). Born in Bohemia, he studied for the priesthood in Prague, where he got interested in the American missions (the U.S. was officially classified as mission territory until 1908). When he finished studies, his diocese had too many priests (there was such a [Read More...]

“What’s Meryl Streep Wearing?”

People who didn’t grow up seeing nuns in habits have been asking about Meryl Streep’s garb in the movie “Doubt.” She’s dressed as a Sister of Charity, a religious community founded by St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821) in 1809. And since today is her feast day, this offers an opportunity to talk about the great [Read More...]

“In New York, No One Had to Ask Who Ruled the Church”

Today marks the death of Archbishop John Hughes (1797-1864), one of the most colorful figures that ever wore a mitre. Born in Northern Ireland, he came to America as a young man. His first job was working in quarries, but he got into the seminary with the help of St. Elizabeth Seton. Ordained in 1826, [Read More...]

“To Do Some Good to the People in the World”

The Syro-Malabar Rite is one of the most ancient in the Church, tracing its roots back to apostolic times. In 1831, three Syro-Malabar priests in Kerala founded the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, India’s oldest indigenous religious community still in operation. They were Fathers Thomas Palackal, Thomas Porukara and Kuriakose Elias Chavara (1805-1871), whose feast is [Read More...]

The First Black Catholic Congress (1889)

The first national gathering of laypeople in America was the Black Catholic Congress, held January 1-4, 1889, at St. Augustine Church in Washington, D.C. Attended by over 200 African-American delegates, the congress sought “to try and devise ways and means of bettering our condition both religiously and socially.” Subsequent congresses were held in Cincinnati (1890), [Read More...]