Category Archives: Franciscan History

#280 – Father Theobald Mathew, Apostle of Temperance – Part Two

Father Theobald Mathew, OFM Cap., traveled to the United States in the hopes of spreading his Total Abstinence Society and raising funds for continuing his work in Ireland. He attracted enormous crowds and even met the president. However, he also found himself caught up in the maelstrom that was slavery. Links: Wikipedia page of Father […]

#279 – Father Theobald Mathew, Apostle of Temperance – Part One

Father Theobald Mathew, OFM Cap., the Apostle of Temperance, greatly struggled against the evils of alcoholism as part of his Total Abstinence Society. Millions, inspired by his message, took the Pledge to give up drinking. However, conflicts with bishops, problems with Irish nationalism, and the Great Famine threatened to undo it all. Links: Wikipedia page […]

#271 – Fr. Gereon Goldmann, OFM – Part Two

After his ordination, Fr. Gereon Goldmann, OFM ministered in Prisoner of War camps braving the anger of German Nazis and French guards. More than once his life will be in grave jeopardy. He will have to endure much before he finally fulfills his dream of going to Japan. Links: Biography and photos of Fr. Goldmann, […]

#270 – Fr. Gereon Goldmann, OFM – Part One

When WWII broke out, Gereon Karl Goldmann, a Franciscan seminarian, was ordered to enlist in the German Army. He will struggle to remain faithful to his Church and to his country both as an officer in the Wehrmacht and, later, in Hitler’s Waffen SS. This struggle will bring him on the path to the priesthood […]

#263 – Lift As You Climb

As we begin National Black Catholic History Month in the United States, we look at the life and work of Lena Frances Edwards. A recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Edwards spent her life in defense of those most in need. Links: Articles on Black Catholic History Month can be found here, here, here […]

#261 – Nature Abhors A Vacuum

The great philosopher Aristotle would influence the Catholic understanding of theology and science throughout the Middle Ages. However, reflections on the nature of the vacuum will, in turn, lead to reflections on the nature of God. Links: Condemnations of 1277 Image – horses attempting to separate the Magdeburg Hemispheres Sources: Barrow, John D. The Book […]

#255 – Saving Husserl’s Nachlass

Father Herman Leo Van Breda, OFM played a key role in the preservation of the nachlass of Edmund Husserl. At great risks to himself, he ensured that these priceless writings concerning phenomenology would survive – writings that would in turn prove tremendously influential upon Catholic philosophy and John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. Links: […]

Today in Catholic History – Edward Gibbon and the Franciscans

On 15 October 1764, Edward Gibbon received his inspiration to write his famous The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire which is seen as the beginning of modern historical writing on the Roman Empire and a tremendous influence on later historical writing. Gibbon wrote in his Autobiography that it was as […]

Today in Catholic History – Saint Clare and the Privilege of Poverty

On 17 September 1228, Pope Gregory IX answered Saint Clare’s request for the Privilegium Paupertatis. This was a modification of the 1219 Rule for the Poor Clares through which Gregory granted that the Poor Clares could not be forced to accept property. For Clare, living the poverty of Christ as exemplified in the life of […]

#244 – The Leonine Union

Struggling to live the life of St. Francis amidst the threats and temptations of the modern world, four groups of Franciscans had to decide if life together was better than life apart. Links: Image of the history of the divisions and union within the First Order of Saint Francis Diagram of the Franciscan Family Tree […]


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