Category Archives: History


Brother Francis has a tremendous appreciation for the history of the Church. He likes to call Church history “the laboratory of wisdom.” Why? Because the history of the Church is the history of human salvation, and choosing the best means to save one’s soul is the highest prudence. And prudence, says St. Thomas Aquinas, is wisdom in action.

History is the laboratory of wisdom, but the application today of the lessons learned from history is prudence.

How, for example, are we to understand what St. Pius X meant when he said that “modernism is the synthesis of all heresies,” if we are ignorant of the history of the Church’s battles against heresy? How are we to evaluate the causes of what Pope Benedict referred to a “crisis of Faith,” if we unfamiliar with any of the twenty ecumenical councils that preceded Vatican II?

There are twenty-two books of the Bible that are history books: the first nineteen of the Old Testament, the two books of Machabees, which end the Old Testament, and the Acts of the Apostles in the New.

A knowledge of Church History is a knowledge of the life of the Body of Christ extended in time throughout the past twenty centuries. It is a glorious history, with its martyrs, confessors, saints of the desert, great doctors and popes, apostles of nations, proliferation of contemplative orders, active orders, teaching orders, advances in science, medicine, the arts, missionary life, and victories over the enemies of true religion, who engaged her by pen and sword.

Without a knowledge of history, of its facts, dates, and events, a Catholic is ill-prepared to defend the Church against those who would gainsay her by misrepresentation, misinformation, or deliberate disinformation. Nor can we forget that we all have an obligation to instruct the ignorant who have been misled by error and who, in their hearts, nurture an affinity for the truth.

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Don Pelayo Starts the Reconquest

In the year 711, the Visigothic Kingdom of Spain fell to the invading Umayyad Muslim forces. This was due to the fateful victory of the Berber commander Ṭāriq ibn Ziyad, over Visigothic forces in the Battle of Guadalete. Spain’s monarch, King Rodrigo, was either killed in that battle or perhaps escaped to what is now Portugal. Either way, his tomb was found in Spain’s Iberian … More →

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Introduction to the Saint Augustine Institute of Wisdom

The Saint Augustine Institute of Wisdom* (SAI) is the educational division of Saint Benedict Center. The Institute provides well-rounded and conveniently simple courses of instruction in Catholic thought. The classes available through SAI are a continuation of the studies which have been offered at Saint Benedict Center since 1942. Our teachers are the Popes, the Councils, the Saints, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, … More →

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Catholic Albion Before It Was England and After, Until Henry

Joseph Pearce, The Imaginative Conservative: It is often forgotten that the Catholic presence in England is older than England itself. From the martyrdom of St. Alban in the early fourth century, under the Roman occupation, the land has been blessed with a host of Catholic saints. After the Romans left the land that they called Albion, a faithful remnant of Christians kept the Faith alive … More →

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Forty Years After Franco’s Death

A young American male traveling in Spain in the early 1960s, as I was and did, would notice that women did not sunbathe topless on the country’s beaches the way many did on the French Riviera. There weren’t even any bikinis. An American who lived in the country explained to me that the body-covering one-piece swimsuits I saw everywhere were “required.” I was also told … More →

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England and Always: Romance and Religion

“England and Always” The British, the Empire, and the Faith Part V: Romance and Religion The splendour falls on castle walls And snowy summits old in story: The long light shakes across the lakes, And the wild cataract leaps in glory. Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying, Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying. –Alfred, Lord Tennyson Inspired by Sir Walter Scott and … More →

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Natalie Delage Sumter

A Lady of French Royal Blood in the Wilds Of South Carolina: Natalie Delage Sumter When we hear the name Sumter, if we are reasonably knowledgeable of our country’s history, the first thing that pops into our minds is “Fort Sumter” (lately much in the news) where the first shots of the War Between the States were fired. Do we know how this landmark of … More →

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Turkish Moslem War Tents from Siege of Vienna Now Mass Vestments

Good news American TFP: The spoils of war from King Jan Sobieski’s great victory on September 12, 1683, against the 150,000 Muslim Turks outside Vienna were immense, but perhaps none received a better fate than the war tents. Read more here. Share, Bookmark, Like: Facebook, Twitter, etc.

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More Than Trivia: Who Was the First Pope to Step Onto American Territory?

Blessed Pius IX. Fascinating little account by George Weigle, First Things: The history of popes in these United States is full of surprises. And one of them, to begin at the beginning, includes the little-known fact that Blessed Paul VI was not the first pontiff to set foot on American territory, when he landed at newly-renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport on October 4, 1965. … More →

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Miracles of the Cross in Chinese History

AsiaNews: Since 2014, an official campaign carrying out the demolition of crosses on Christian churches has been conducted, primarily in Zhejiang province. Chinese authorities do not like to see crosses dotting the skyline of their country: the cross is a religious, Christian symbol which they see as contradictory to their atheistic ideology. And yet, the cross has played a special role in the history of the … More →

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England and Always: Good King George and the Dragon

“England and Always” The British, the Empire, and the Faith Part IV: Good King George and the Dragon Ye, Tories all rejoice and sing, success to George our gracious King. The faithful subjects tribute bring, and execrate the Congress. These hardy knaves and stupid fools, some apish and pragmatic mules, Some servile acquiescing tools, These compose the Congress. -The Congress (1776) Actual combat between the … More →

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Martyr of Guam, Father Jesus Baza Duenas

Great story by Donald McClarey The American Catholic: Acquired by the US pursuant to the treaty that ended the Spanish-American War in 1898, by the time of the Japanese invasion of Guam in 1941, the people of Guam, Chamorros, were largely pro-American, enjoying prosperity under American rule.  Thus they were hostile to the Japanese invasion of Guam which occurred in December 1941.  The Japanese occupation was … More →

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Saint Helena’s Belated Mission as a Late-Comer to Christ

(This Article is dedicated to the memory of Anthony Fraser on the anniversary of his death by Dr. Robert Hickson. Requiescat in pace.) Two years after Evelyn Waugh had published his long-incubating, and especially moving, historical novel on Saint Helena, entitled Helena (1950), he published a short non-fictional book of some personal and historical importance, entitled The Holy Places. In this short presentation of earlier … More →

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Company E: Mexican WWII Regiment of Heroes From El Paso

This a great story and the book seems like a good read NBCNews: When the young Chicanos who fought valiantly in World War II returned home, many did not return to the high schools they had left to go fight for their country. By then, they felt they were too old. But they made sure their children finished school and excelled, says Arnulfo Hernández Jr., … More →

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England and Always: In the Good Old Colony Days

“England and Always” The British, the Empire, and the Faith Part III: In the Good Old Colony Days In good old colony days When we lived under the King, Three roguish chaps fell into mishaps Because they could not sing After Queen Anne died in 1714, the Whig Oligarchs brought over her next closest protestant relation, George I of the House of Hanover. He was … More →

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Saint Patrick and the Making of the Irish Nation

Saint James was the apostle of Spain, Saint Augustine the apostle of England, Saint Boniface the apostle of Germany, Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius the apostles of the Russian and the Slavic nations, but there is no nation in the world that is so intimately identified with its apostle as Saint Patrick is for Ireland. His is a stature of mythical proportions. There are all … More →

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