The new book — The Knights of Columbus: An Illustrated History — covers a wide array of initiatives undertaken since the charitable and fraternal organization’s founding in 1882. But do you know the men behind the mission? You may be surprised.
From presidents to writers and actors to athletes, here are some of the members of the Knights of Columbus have shaped the world we know today.
The Sultan of Swat. The King of Crash. The Colossus of Clout. The Great Bambino. Babe Ruth forever changed baseball unlike any athlete before him. A home run slugger, he paved the way in numerous batting categories, holding records for career home runs and more.
John F. Kennedy
President Kennedy, the only Catholic ever elected commander in chief, was a longtime Knight. He praised his brother Knights’ charity and service, writing in 1961 that their “countless allied activities all unselfishly offered in the name of our common humanity have served to strengthen and solidify their hold on the public heart.” Today almost 30 Knights of Columbus councils bear his name.
Archbishop Sheen was one of the most influential Catholics of the 20th century. He hosted several radio and television shows, including The Fulton Sheen Program which had roughly 30 million weekly viewers. His cause for sainthood is currently open.
The Ed Sullivan Show is among the most trend-setting variety shows ever that helped introduce Elvis Presley and The Beatles to the American public.
A French general, Ferdinand Foch became the Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Armies during World War I. He led the French, British and American troops. When Germany sued for an armistice, it was Foch who accepted those terms.
Lombardi coached the Green Bay Packers to five NFL championships as well as the first two Super Bowls in 1967 and 1968. The Super Bowl trophy in now named in his honor.
Kilmer, considered the leading Catholic poet of his day, is probably best known for the short poem “Trees.” He enlisted in World War I and was killed in action on the battlefields of France in 1918.
An author and athlete, Connolly was the first modern Olympic gold medal winner, winning the triple-jump in the 1896 games.
Commander Denton, a U.S. pilot, was an American prisoner of war in Vietnam. He was forced to participate in a propaganda interview, during which he blinked the word TORTURE in Morse Code to secretly reveal the reality of what was happening to American officials.
A world-renowned oceanographer, Scully-Power worked with NASA. He became not only the first Australian-born person to go into space, but also was the first astronaut with a beard.
Shriver created the Peace Corps with his brother-in-law President Kennedy. The Peace Corps’ mission was to help improve the health, education and general welfare in less developed countries around the world.
Want to learn about how these Knights and others impacted the world? Check out The Knights of Columbus: An Illustrated History here.
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