Category: Did you know?

Los Angeles

The original name of Los Angeles, California, as a Franciscan mission, was El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula (The Village of Our Lady Queen of the Angels of the Portiuncula). The Portiuncula was the … Continue reading

Famous Catholic Scientists

The names for three different kinds of electrical measure: amps, volts, and coulombs, come from the surnames of three Catholic scientists who were each pioneers in their respected fields. André Marie Ampere was a French mathematician, chemist, and physicist.

Dumb Bells

Dumbbells, the smaller one hand weights used by body builders, were named after a tool used by church bell ringers in teaching the art of steeple bell ringing to their apprentices. The tool was a special bell that would not … Continue reading

“Green” Fuel Production Hurts Environment

Apparently, it helps to look at the big picture when touting the benefits of alternative fuels. I have heard similar things about certain hybrid cars. Yes, they get better mileage, but…. The New York Times has more details. Almost all … Continue reading

Saint Dymphna

Are you crazy? Meet your patron.  Saint Dymphna was the daughter of a pagan king in Ireland during the seventh century. When her mother (who had passed on her exquisite beauty to her daughter) died, the pagan king wanted to … Continue reading

Our Lady of Europe

Gibraltar houses a Marian shrine that was once a mosque.  Gibraltar was under Islamic rule from 711 to 1462, except for the short interval from1309 to1333. The name of the peninsula is an Anglicized version of the Arabic “Jabal [Mount] … Continue reading

The Last Dance of Salome

The gyrating daughter of Herodias met her death in a gruesome, winter-time danse macabre. Salome, it should be recalled, was the damsel whose shameful dancing was rewarded by Herod Antipas with the head of St. John the Baptist (Mt. 14:6-8; … Continue reading

The Zionist and the Saint

Theodore Herzl (1860-1904), one of the pioneers of Zionism, had the distinction of winning Western Jews and European leaders to the cause of a Jewish state in Palestine. Toward the end of his career, he met with, among others, the … Continue reading

Japanese Martyr a Mexican Export

We English-speaking American Catholics often overlook (or are ignorant of) the accomplishments of our non-English-speaking Catholic forerunners on this continent. One such forerunner, who should be a household name to American Catholics, is St. Philip of Jesus. In 1597 — … Continue reading