American Catholic History
Spirituality/Belief • Education • Culture
Sharing and discussing the amazing and unexpected history of Catholics in what is today the United States of America, starting with the first Mass offered on these shores in 1513, through the present day. Share your stories and those from your local area, and let's learn from one another!
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Dr. Kevin Schmiesing, American Catholic History Conversation
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December 16, 2022
Father Nerinckx and the Stubborn Mules

Father Charles Nerinckx, the great Belgian missionary, was very hands-on in building the new Holy Cross Church which was completed in 1823. During the construction, the farmers helping to build the church had trouble with their mules, causing Fr. Nerinckx great frustration. His frustration turned to righteous indignation when he discovered what the problem was!

Supporters can listen to the entire conversation:

December 13, 2022
A Bishop Flaget Miracle

In 1852, Martin John Spalding successor to Benedict Joseph Flaget as bishop of Louisville, published a book called “Sketches of the Life, Times, and Character of the Right Reverend Benedict Joseph Flaget, First Bishop of Louisville.
It is a long book which really is more than sketches. It has a fairly detailed biography, and many, many dates and specific descriptions of things. He got much of the material straight from Bishop Flaget’s own personal journal, and from his private papers, which Bishop Spalding had at his disposal after Bishop Flaget’s death in 1850.
One of the stories in the book that we did not include in our episode on Bishop Flaget was the one account of a miracle attributed to the holy Bishop prayers and blessing. The miracle occurred in December of 1835, while Bishop Flaget was in France. Flaget had been bishop of Bardstown for 27 years by this point. He had tried to resign his position due to ill health in 1832, but the love of his flock compelled him to return to that duty just ...

November 21, 2022
Bloody Mayhem on Election Day 1855 in Louisville

On election day in 1855 in Louisville, Kentucky, Know Nothings decided that Catholics and other immigrants shouldn't be permitted to vote. So they blocked the polls and beat anyone who tried to get past.

By the end of the day they had tried to burn down the Cathedral of the Assumption and St. Martin's Church, they succeeded in burning down more than 100 other structures and killing at least 22 — but more likely over 100 — persons.

No one was ever held to account for the destruction and murder. Louisville, the tenth-largest city in the nation at the time — never fully recovered from the mayhem and was surpassed by other cities along the riverways.

Listen to the entire episode about Bloody Monday in Louisville, Kentucky:

#catholicpodcaster #achpodcast #catholic #americancatholichistory #podcast #bloodymonday #electionviolence #KnowNothings #louisville #louisvilleky

Fr. Henry Duranquet, SJ: The Apostle of the Tombs

Father Henry Duranquet, SJ, earned the moniker “Apostle of the Tombs” because of his 25-plus years ministering to the convicts of New York’s prisons, including the prison known as “The Tombs.” His patient Christlike work won over thousands of souls for Christ, including notorious murderers like Albert Hicks, whose hanging in 1860 was a major public event. Father Duranquet also won over the guards, doctors, and leadership of the prison system, many of whom were anti-Catholic Know Nothings. Father Duranquet spent his last few years as a spiritual guide to the Jesuits first at Worcester, Massachusetts, then at Woodstock, Maryland, where he died in 1891 at 82 years old.

Fr. Henry Duranquet, SJ: The Apostle of the Tombs
January 16, 2023
Episode 163: Buffalo Bill Cody

Buffalo Bill Cody was among the most famous persons on earth in his day. By 26 years old he had two plays and a serialized book written about him. He was one of the last great scouts of the west, and his outgoing personality and instinct for show business led him to found "Buffalo Bill's Wild West," which was a sensation in the east, as well as in all the major cities of Europe.

In his personal life, he married his wife, Louisa, when he was just 20 years old. They had four children, two of whom died young. But his life on the road strained their relationship. He attempted divorce twice, but was refused by the courts both times.

His exposure to Catholicism was mostly through the Indians who were part of his Wild West troupe — they had been evangelized by Jesuits over the previous few centuries. But he also met the pope, Leo XIII, in 1890 when his Wild West was showing in Rome.

The day before he died in 1917, he was baptized by a Catholic priest — one who had been wowed by his ...

Episode 163: Buffalo Bill Cody
January 05, 2023
Year in Review: 2022

We did something different with this most recent episode. Rather than tell another great story, we took a step back to let our listeners know what's up with us, to look back at topics we covered in 2022, changes in our podcast situation, and what it means for us and this podcast going forward. We hope you enjoy this change in format — but not too much, because we won't do this too often at all. Our next episode is coming soon, and it's on Buffalo Bill Cody.

Year in Review: 2022

Welcome to all our new members and supporters! Thank you for being here. We hope that you find the community enjoyable, supportive, and informative.

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We hope those who are supporters will comment and post. The more people participating in the forum, the more interesting it is for everyone!

Who are supporters? Those who support our work with at least $5 each month. We actually have a great line-up of perks for supporters:

$5/month: access to all our "Supporter-Only" content. We've been working hard at developing some new content beyond our weekly podcast. Each month we plan to release a video in our new "American Catholic History On Location" series, taking you to American Catholic places near and far. Look out for our inaugural video tomorrow!

We also will be releasing longer-form interviews ...

January 05, 2023
A Blessed Memorial of St. John Neumann!

A blessed memorial of St. John Neumann, the fourth bishop of Philadelphia and the first American male to be canonized. He was a model of prayer, patient suffering, obedience, perseverance, and hard work. He did a lot to build the Church in Pennsylvania — both in the Pittsburgh area, where he served as a pastor, and in Philadelphia, where he literally worked himself to death. Learn more in our episode on this great Bohemian immigrant missionary:

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Did you know that every episode page on our website includes resources to help you learn more about our topic? Each month we'll be featuring one or more of these resources, starting this month with "Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving" by Eric Metaxas. This is a beautifully illustrated children's book telling the story of how Squanto was kidnapped and brought to Europe, became Catholic, and eventually made his way back to the New World, where he helped the Pilgrims.
If you use our Amazon affiliate link to buy this book, you're also helping to support the podcast. Win/Win!

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