church history


St. Camillus: Catholic Pioneer in Health Care

On July 18 we celebrate the feast of a saint whose life is significant not only to the history of religion but to the history of medical practice as well — prompting him to be called the “Red Cross saint.” St. Camillus de Lellis (born in Abruzzi, Italy in 1550) started out as a feisty and quarrelsome youth, much addicted to gambling.  Standing […]


The Third Man: St. Raymond of Penafort

When you think about early luminaries of the Dominican order (the great intellectual and preaching order founded by St. Dominic in 1216), the giant names of St. Albert the Great and St. Thomas Aquinas leap to mind.  But a third figure, St. Raymond of Penafort (c.1175-1275), whose feast day we observe this month, is also well worth […]

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A Patron Saint for the New Evangelization: St. Philip Neri

On May 26 the Church celebrates the feast day of a saint whose relative obscurity (in America, at least) is ridiculously out of proportion with his attractiveness and relevance.  It is high time that more people knew St. Philip Neri (1515-1595), the “Apostle of Rome.” The moniker seems paradoxical; why would Rome, the headquarters of the Catholic Church, need […]