Kevin Schmiesing

Kevin Schmiesing is a research fellow at the Acton Institute. He is the author of American Catholic Intellectuals, 1895-1955 (Edwin Mellen Press, 2002) and, most recently, of Within the Market Strife: American Catholic Economic Thought from Rerum Novarum to Vatican II (Lexington Books, 2004). He is the book review editor for The Journal of Markets & Morality and is also executive director of CatholicHistory.net. Schmiesing earned his Ph.D. in American history from the University of Pennsylvania.

recent articles

The Separation of Charity and State

The years-long assault on religious freedom continues in the United States, as Catholic charities, colleges, and other institutions are forced to comply with—or fight legal battles against—mandates concerning adoptions and employment matters related to same-sex couples, abortion and contraceptive health care coverage, and other items on the growing list of issues on which Church teaching … Read more

The Priest of the Gulag: Walter Ciszek, SJ

Far in the bitter Russian north, word of the death of Joseph Stalin spread—even among the political prisoners and criminals who toiled ceaselessly, doomed and forgotten, in the mines and forests of Siberia. The news was a spark of hope that lit the fuse of rebellion. The camps erupted in violence as prisoners’ pent up … Read more

The Immigrant Saint: Frances Xavier Cabrini

Americans differ fiercely concerning the role of schools in assimilation: Should we cater to foreign-born students or demand that they learn English? Many believe that immigrants pose serious risks to American wellbeing—and there are disease epidemics and violent crimes to support their argument. The Church itself is caught up in the fray, as Catholics debate … Read more

At the Service of God and Man: Venerable Pierre Toussaint

A French-speaking, enslaved man of African descent, he rubbed shoulders with the white New York elite as a ladies’ hairdresser. Possessed of the means to purchase his own liberty, he instead chose to provide for those around him—including the woman who owned him—and sought the liberty of other slaves. Once rudely refused entrance to a … Read more

The Apostle of the Rockies: Fr. Pierre-Jean De Smet, SJ

Every year on the Feast of the Assumption, Catholics of native descent hold a powwow at Idaho’s oldest building, Sacred Heart Mission in Cataldo. For more than 150 years the Coeur d’Alenes have handed down the story of the Jesuit missionary who healed their chief’s daughter and brought the gospel to their people. This annual … Read more

The Privileged Pauper: St. Katharine Drexel

“One thing I do know: it took the Catholic Church 100 years here in America to show forth such a person as yourself.” Father Augustine Tolton, the first African-American priest in the United States, wrote these words to a wealthy benefactress in 1891, explaining why so many black Catholics were imploring her assistance. Tolton would … Read more

The Walking Saint: Bishop John Neumann

At the corner of Fifth and Girard in Philadelphia stands a large stone church, St. Peter the Apostle. Beneath the church is a chapel whose altar table rests atop a glass case containing a man’s remains, which are sheathed in a wax shell and dressed in episcopal garb. The shrine is nicely decorated but not … Read more

The Apostle of Alaska, Archbishop Charles Seghers

On an evening late in November, 1886, four men settled into their bearskins to try to keep warm in the unoccupied hut they had appropriated for the night. They were worn out from a long day trekking across the snow-covered tracts of western Alaska. Tomorrow they would reach their destination, the town of Nulato. In … Read more

A Saint for the Hoosiers: Mother Guérin

The sisters and their helpers had toiled all year to create a bountiful harvest. Less than two years into their effort to establish a foothold in the Indiana wilderness, they stowed their precious grains and other foodstuffs in their new barn, which was also a product of their labor. It was October 2, 1842, the … Read more

Blandina Segale, Sister of Charity in the Wild West

Stagecoach rides across the Great Plains. Runaway horses. Murderous outlaws. Her life had all the adventure of a stock character out of a Hollywood western, but she was neither a pioneering homesteader nor a lady of doubtful virtue. She was a Catholic nun, Sister Blandina Segale, SC. Considering that she lived on the margins of … Read more

Margaret Budenz: From Communism to Catholicism

Archbishop Fulton Sheen was known for his “celebrity converts” — famous people whom he had a role in bringing into the Catholic Church. Among them were the automobile executive Henry Ford Jr. and the diplomat Clare Booth Luce, wife of Time/Life publisher Henry Luce. Less well remembered today — due in part to our fading memory … Read more

The Long Road to Civil Rights

Rising Road: A True Tale of Love, Race, and Religion in America Sharon Davies, Oxford University Press, 352 pages, $27.95 In 1954, Hugo Black joined his fellow Supreme Court justices in outlawing racial segregation in American schools in the unanimous, landmark decision, Brown v. Board of Education. There is, indeed, as Reinhold Niebuhr might put … Read more

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