Category Archives: French History

#285 – Our Lady of Pontmain

On 17 January 1871, a group of children in the small village of Pontmain claimed to have seen a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The reported apparition lasted for several hours, the effects of that apparition would last for much longer. Links: Official site of Our Lady of Pontmain Vatican norms regarding Marian apparitions […]

#275 – The Papal Peace Note

Pope Benedict XV repeatedly called for an end to the violence of the First World War, but his cries just as repeatedly were rejected by the governments of belligerent countries that would be satisfied with nothing less than total victory. Yet, it was not only the governments of belligerent countries that thwarted Benedict’s mission – […]

#262 – The Evil of Loudun

In early 17th century France, a convent of Ursuline sisters will begin to exhibit the signs of demonic possession. The resulting investigation will reveal the evil that lies in human hearts. Links: On the possessions at Loudun Image – The death of Father Urbain Grandier Sources: Michel de Certeau, The Possession At Loudun, Chicago: The […]

#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 […]

#249 – Papal Zouaves, Part I

In 1860, faced with threats of Italian nationalism, the Pope appealed for help. Thousands of Catholics traveled to Rome to protect Pius IX and to give their lives for their faith. Links: The Vatican Rifles The Pope’s Legion: The Multinational Fighting Force that Defended the Vatican by Charles A. Coulombe Check out the other great […]

Today in Catholic History – The Beginning of Perpetual Adoration

On 14 September 1226, in celebration of a victory over the Albigensians, French King Louis VIII ordered that the Blessed Sacrament be exposed in the Chapel of the Holy Cross. So many faithful came to offer adoration that Bishop Pierre de Corbie of Avignon obtained the approval of Pope Honorius III for adoration to be […]

Today in Catholic History – The Council of Agde

On 10 September 506, twenty four bishops, eight priests and two deacons met in council at the Basilica of St. Andrew at Agde in Languedoc under the leadership of St. Caesarius of Arles. In its 47 canons we can see the beginnings of the system of benefices [land given in return for service]. Other canons […]

Today in Catholic History – The September Massacres

On 2 September 1792, French revolutionaries in Paris gravely concerned over the approaching armies of Prussians and believing that the Catholic Clergy were an unreliable support, attacked and killed many Catholic clergy and religious. At a Carmelite convent, 150 priests were massacred, including Bl. Severin Girault, a member of the Third Order of St. Francis. […]

Today in Catholic History – The First Mass for the Feast of the Sacred Heart

On 31 August 1670, the first feast of the Sacred Heart Mass was celebrated at the Grand Seminary of Rennes. With this Mass, the devotion of the Sacred Heart of Jesus became a public devotion for the whole Catholic Church. St. John Eudes had played a key role in spreading devotion to the Sacred Heart […]


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