Knights of Columbus
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Michael J. McGivney
Time Period
The Knights of Columbus, a fraternal organization for Catholic men, first met on October 2, 1881, in the basement of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Connecticut. It was part of a larger milieu of similar societies that emerged in a period of increased Catholic immigration to the United States and public displays of anti-Catholicism. New Haven priest Michael J. McGivney, the Knights' founder, saw the need for an organization that would provide insurance for Catholic men, allowing them to better provide for their families, and that would strengthen their ties to both their church and their country. This group eventually took Christopher Columbus as its patron and named itself the Knights of Columbus, which served to stake a claim for the Catholic Church as a founder of the American nation and which declared Catholics to be loyal Americans. The Knights of Columbus officially incorporated on March 29, 1882.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Catholic Religious Events and People in American History
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Catholic Religious Events and People in American History
Religious Groups
Catholicism (Western Liturgical Family): Other ARDA Links


Michael McGivney portrait- Hathi Trust- from The Knights of Colombus in Peace and War by Maurice Francis Egan and John B. Kennedy

St Mary's Church, New Haven- Wikimedia Commons- photo by Eumenes12 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Christopher Columbus statue- Hathi Trust- from A History of the Knights of Columbus in Illinois by Joseph J. Thompson

Knights of Columbus poster- Library of Congress, LC-USZC4-10131
Book/Journal Source(s)
Kauffman, C.J., 2003. Knights of Columbus. Detroit: Thomson/Gale; Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America.Notes: In New Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 8, 2nd ed.: 189-192.)
Kauffman, Christopher J., 1992. Faith and Fraternalism: The History of the Knights of Columbus. New York: Simon & Schuster.Notes: Revised edition)
Koehlinger, Amy, 2004. "Let us live for those who love us": Faith, Family, and the Contours of Manhood Among the Knights of Columbus in Late Nineteenth-Century Connecticut. Journal of Social History.Notes: Vol. 38, no. 2 (Winter 2004): 455-469)
Web Source(s)
Knights of Columbus Website
Web Page Contributor
William S. Cossen
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in History

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