At the turn of the millennium, Eric Brende took bold action. Long concerned about the detrimental effects of technology on the human condition, he decided to test his theory. Brende was a graduate student at M.I.T. and decided to write his Master’s thesis by living with an Amish community for eighteen months. He and his … Read moreThe Unthinkable!
Rome, Italy, 1948. A young Polish priest stepped off the plane, his heart filled with excitement. A momentous week lay ahead for him. Soon he would meet Padre Pio, the humble Capuchin friar who had gained world-wide fame as a mystic and stigmatist. Little did he know that Padre Pio would reveal a secret hidden for … Read moreThe Secret Wounds of Padre Pio: Part II
One day a little boy accompanied his father on a pilgrimage to the shrine to San Pellegrino in Italy. As they entered the church, he heard a woman crying in desperate supplication to God that her deformed child be healed. Instinctively, the little boy prayed with the mother, watching as she placed her child on … Read moreThe Secret Wounds of Padre Pio: Part One
Never stand in the way of a woman on a mission, especially if she is an empress. In the year 325, St. Helena, mother of Roman emperor Constantine, arrived in Jerusalem surrounded by investigators, architects, and advisors. Holy desire burned in Helena’s heart, a desire to find the true cross on which Jesus died. For more … Read moreDiscovery of the True Cross
In 1969, a film crew arrived in Calcutta, India, prepared to shoot a documentary on Mother Teresa and her work with the destitute, often found lying in filth along city streets. Under the direction of BBC journalist Malcom Muggeridge, the crew intended to film inside a home for the destitute. One scene was to be … Read moreA Miracle of Light
How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization In a recent blog post I wrote about St. Benedict’s Rule (529), a monastic rule that provided order and peace in a world besieged in chaos. Men retired to monasteries to cultivate discipline in the spiritual life. Manual labor was seen to mortify the flesh, as monks took … Read moreWho invented champagne?
One of the most famous relics the Church venerates today is the Shroud of Turin, believed by many to be the burial cloth of Jesus. Imprinted on the 14-foot-long piece of linen is the image of a man beaten, scourged, and crucified. Yet how many people know about another shroud with a mysterious image? It … Read moreIs this the face of Jesus?
Recently, my sister and I have collaborated on a family history book, a labor of love that stirs up memories of childhood. In one conversation we talked about a pivotal point in our lives, crucial in our development as life-time readers. We grew up in a Boston suburb complete with sidewalks lined by elm trees. Atlantic … Read moreTime of Wonder
How Catholic innovations changed western civilization. Strange question you might think. I assure you that this is not a thought experiment. Here we have authentic history. Picture a dismal swamp. Picture murky streams, land submerged in spring-time floods, invasive reeds, and thick peat all devouring forests of fir and oak. Imagine rank soil and dead … Read moreWho turned swamps into farmland?
Watch that woman standing on the farmer’s porch. She pulls on her work jeans that still show patches of garden dirt. She sprays insect repellent on her work boots, arms, and neck. Next comes a mesh insect protection net that loops under her armpits and covers her entire head. With great precision, she dons her … Read moreBattles in the Garden