On October 2, 1881, a small group of men met in the basement of a church in New Haven, Connecticut. Gathered together by their priest, Father Michael J. McGivney, they formed a fraternal society called the Knights of Columbus in honor of the Catholic explorer who had brought Christianity to the New World. Originally conceived as a mutual aid society, the Knights of Columbus was dedicated to helping Catholic families in need—people in the community who, in many cases, were excluded from unions and other organizations that provided social services to so many others. The members also vowed to be defenders of their nation and their faith.
Starting with the organization's humble beginnings, this captivating book takes you on a journey through the struggles and challenges—as well as the joys and triumphs—that are the Knights of Columbus. It describes the establishment of this unique order and the Knights' guiding principles of charity, unity, fraternity, and patriotism. It explains how decade after decade, the Knights have worked to overcome bigotry, not only against Catholics but against all marginalized groups, while supporting and sharing the ideals of the Catholic Church. And through stories about Notable Knights, it illustrates how members have made exceptional contributions to society through devotion to both their country and their faith.
Well over a century after its founding, the Knights of Columbus is going strong and, with over 1.8 million members, it has extended its reach to embrace people around the world. Through fascinating text and photographs, The Knights of Columbus: An Illustrated History tells the story of an organization that, through war and peace, has remained “the strong right arm of the Church,” bringing help and hope to people everywhere.
Andrew T. Walther is the Vice President of Communications and Strategy Planning for the Knights of Columbus. Previously, he worked as a freelance journalist and taught writing for several years at the University of Southern California. He currently serves on the boards of several nonprofit organizations.