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How Fr. McGivney, the new American blessed, fought anti-Catholic prejudice

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 10/29/20

The legacy of Fr. McGivney is the organization he founded - the Knights of Columbus. But beatification recognizes how he lived.

We have now six Blesseds of the United States, with the beatification of Fr. Michael McGivney, (and 10 canonized saints!).

Blessed McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus, the well known fraternal organization that has taken up thousands of charity projects throughout the world.

But Fr. McGivney’s beatification recognizes his personal life of sanctity, not the work of the Knights. And that life was a stepping stone to bring about a changed role for Catholics in the United States.

Many Americans today have no idea how hard it was to be Catholic and American just some short years ago.

You can read about some of that history in these article below: Who were the “Know-nothings”? What was “Know-Nothingism”?Did you know it was once illegal to be a Catholic priest in NYC?An American story about an Irish priest, a brave girl, and the KKK

But that was the reality that the McGivney family — and the families of friends and neighbors — lived every day.

And it was part of the inspiration for the Knights of Columbus, which would be a safety net so that widows and orphans wouldn’t have to face unspeakable miseries.

McGivney was born in 1852 and he founded the Knights 30 years later. He died just a short eight years after that.

It was in part thanks to McGivney and the Knights that Catholics little by little took on a much different role in the United States.

Click the video above to see more about his history.

And see our coverage of Fr. McGivney here.

Tags:
Catholic historyKnights of ColumbusMichael McGivneySaints
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