Skip to content

Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Down to the Council of Nicaea

Devotion to Our Blessed Lady in its ultimate analysis must be regarded as a practical application of the doctrine of the Communion of Saints. Seeing that this doctrine is not contained, at least explicitly in the earlier forms of the Apostles' Creed, there is perhaps no ground for surprise if we do not meet with any clear traces of the cultus of the Blessed Virgin in the first Christian centuries. The earliest unmistakable examples of the "worship" -- we use the word of course in the relative sense -- of the saints is connected with the veneration paid to the martyrs who gave their lives for the Faith. From the first century onwards, martyrdom was regarded as the surest sign of election. The martyrs, it was held, passed immediately into the presence of God. Over their tombs the Holy Sacrifice was offered (a practice which may possibly be alluded to in Revelation 6:9) while in the contemporary narrative of the martyrdom of St. Polycarp (c. 151) we have already mention of the "birthday", i.e. the annual commemoration, which the Christians might be expected to keep in his honour. This attitude of mind becomes still more explicit in Tertullian and St. Cyprian, and the stress laid upon the "satisfactory" character of the sufferings of the martyrs, emphasizing the view that by their death they could obtain graces and blessings for others, naturally and immediately led to their direct invocation.

A further reinforcement, of the same idea, was derived from the cult of the angels, which, while pre-Christian in its origin, was heartily embraced by the faithful of the sub-Apostolic age. It seems to have been only as a sequel of some such development that men turned to implore the intercession of the Blessed Virgin. This at least is the common opinion among scholars, though it would perhaps be dangerous to speak too positively. Evidence regarding the popular practice of the early centuries is almost entirely lacking, and while on the one hand the faith of Christians no doubt took shape from above downwards (i.e. the Apostles and teachers of the Church delivered a message which the laity accepted from them with all docility) still indications are not lacking that in matters of sentiment and devotion the reverse process sometimes obtained. Hence, it is not impossible that the practice of invoking the aid of the Mother of Christ had become more familiar to the more simple faithful some time before we discover any plain expression of it in the writings of the Fathers. Some such hypothesis would help to explain the fact that the evidence afforded by the catatcombs and by the apocryphal literature of the early centuries seems chronologically in advance of that which is preserved in the contemporaneous writings of those who were the authoritative mouthpieces of Christian tradition .

Be this however as it may, the firm theological basis, upon which was afterwards reared the edifice of Marian devotion, began to be laid in the first century of our era. It is not without significance that we are told of the Apostles after the Ascension of Christ, that "all these were persevering with one mind in prayer with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren " ( Acts 1:14 ). Also attention has rightly been called to the fact that St. Mark, though he tells us nothing of our Christ's childhood, nevertheless describes Him as "the son of Mary" ( Mark 6:3 ), a circumstance which, in view of certain known peculiarities of the Second Evangelist, greatly emphasises his belief in the Virgin Birth.

The same mystery is insisted upon by St. Ignatius of Antioch , who, after describing Jesus as "Son of Mary and Son of God ", goes on to tell the Ephesians (7, 18, and 19) that "our God, Jesus Christ , was conceived in the womb of Mary according to a dispensation of the seed of David but also of the Holy Ghost," and he adds: "Hidden from the prince of this world were the virginity of Mary and her childbearing and likewise also the death of the Lord -- three mysteries to be cried aloud". Aristides and St. Justin also use explicit language concerning the Virgin Birth, but it is St. Irenæus more especially who has deserved to be called the first theologian of the Virgin Mother. Thus he has drawn out the parallel between Eve and Mary, urging that, "as the former was led astray by an angel's discourse to fly from God after transgressing His word, so the latter by an angel's discourse had the Gospel preached unto her that she might bear God, obeying His word. And if the former had disobeyed God, yet the other was persuaded to obey God : that the Virgin Mary might become an advocate for the virgin Eve. And as mankind was bound unto death through a virgin, it is saved a through virgin ; by the obedience of a virgin the disobedience of a virgin is compensated " (Irenaeus, V, 19). No one again disputes that the clause "born of the Virgin Mary" formed part of the primitive redaction of the Creed, and the language of Tertullian, Hippolytus, Origen, etc., is in thorough conformity with that of Irenaeus ; further, though writers like Tertullian, Hevidius, and possibly Hegesippus disputed the perpetual virginity of Mary, their more orthodox contemporaries affirmed it.

It was natural then that in this atmosphere we should find a continually developing veneration for the sanctity and exalted privileges of Mary. In the paintings of the catacombs more particularly, we appreciate the exceptional position that she began, from an early period, to occupy in the thoughts of the faithful. Some of these frescoes, representing the prophecy of Isaias, are believed to date from the first half of the second century. Three others which represent the adoration of the Magi are a century later. There is also a remarkable but very much mutilated bas-relief, found at Carthage, which may be probably assigned to the time of Constantine.

More startling is the evidence of certain apocryphal writings, notably that of the so-called Gospel of St. James, or "Protevangelion." The earlier portion of this, which evinces a deep veneration for the purity and sanctity of the Blessed Virgin, and which affirms her virginity in partu et post partum , is generally considered to be a work of the second century. Similarly, certain interpolated passages found in the Sibylline Oracles, passages which probably date from the third century, show an equal preoccupation with the dominant role played by the Blessed Virgin in the work of redemption (see especially II, 311-12, and VIII, 357-479). The first of these passages apparently assigns to the intercession "of the Holy Virgin" the obtaining of the boon of seven days of eternity that men may find time for repentance (cf. the Fourth Book of Esdras, vii, 28-33). Further, it is quite likely that the mention of the Blessed Virgin in the intercessions of the diptychs of the liturgy goes back to the days before the Council of Nicaea, but we have no definite evidence upon the point, and the same must be said of any form of direct invocation, even for purposes of private devotion.

The Age of the Fathers

The existence of the obscure sect of the Collyridians, whom St. Epiphanius (d. 403) denounces for their sacrificial offering of cakes to Mary, may fairly be held to prove that even before the Council of Ephesus there was a popular veneration for the Virgin Mother which threatened to run extravagant lengths. Hence Epiphanius laid down the rule: "Let Mary be held in honour. Let the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost be adored, but let no one adore Mary" ( ten Marian medeis prosknueito ). Nonetheless the same Epiphanius abounds in the praises of the Virgin Mother, and he believed that there was some mysterious dispensation with regard to her death implied in the words of Revelations 12:14: "And there were given to the woman two wings of a great eagle that she might fly into the desert unto her place." Certain it is, in any case, that such Fathers as St. Ambrose and St. Jerome, partly inspired with admiration for the ascetic ideals of a life of virginity and partly groping their way to a clearer understanding of all that was involved in the mystery of the Incarnation, began to speak of the Blessed Virgin as the model of all virtue and the ideal of sinlessness. Several striking passages of this kind have been collected.

  • "In heaven ", St. Ambrose tells us, "she leads the choirs of virgin souls ; with her the consecrated virgins will one day be numbered."
  • St. Jerome (Ep. xxxix, Migne, P. L., XXII, 472) already foreshadows that conception of Mary as mother of the human race which was to animate so powerfully the devotion of a later age.
  • St. Augustine in a famous passage (De nat. et gratis, 36) proclaims Mary's unique privilege of sinlessness
  • In St. Gregory Nazianzen's sermon on the martyr St. Cyprian (P.G., XXXV, 1181) we have an account of the maiden Justina, who invoked the Blessed Virgin to preserve her virginity.
But in this, as in some other devotional aspects of early Christian beliefs, the most glowing language seems to be found in the East, and particularly in the Syrian writings of St. Ephraem. It is true that we cannot entirely trust the authenticity of many of the poems attributed to him; the tone, however, of some of the most unquestioned of Ephraem's compositions is still very remarkable.
  • Thus in the hymns on the Nativity (6) we read: "Blessed be Mary, who without vows and without prayer in her virginity conceived and brought forth the Lord of all the sons of her companions, who have been or shall be chaste or righteous, priests and kings. Who else lulled a son in her bosom as Mary did? Who ever dared to call her son, Son of the Maker, Son of the Creator, Son of the Most High?"
  • Similarly in Hymns 11 and 12 of the same series, Ephraem represents Mary as soliloquizing thus: "The babe that I carry carries me, and He hath lowered His wings and taken and placed me between His pinions and mounted into the air, and a promise has been given me that height and depth shall be my Son's" etc.
This last passage seems to suggest a belief, like that of St. Epiphanius already referred to, that the holy remains of the Virgin Mother were in some miraculous way translated from earth. The fully-developed apocryphal narrative of the "Falling asleep of Mary" probably belongs to a slightly later period, but it seems in this way to be anticipated in the writings of Eastern Fathers of recognized authority. How far the belief in the "Assumption" which became generally prevalent in the course of a few centuries, was independent of or influenced by the apocryphal "Transitus Mariae", which is included by Pope Gelasius in his list of condemned apocrypha, is a difficult question. It seems likely that some germ of popular tradition preceded the invention of the extravagant details of the narrative itself.

In any case, the evidence of the Syriac manuscripts proved beyond all question that in the East before the end of the sixth century, and probably very much earlier, devotion to the Blessed Virgin had assumed all those developments which are usually associated with the later Middle Ages. In some manuscripts of the "Transitus Mariae" -- dating from the late fifth century -- we find mention of three annual feasts of the Blessed Virgin:

  • one two days after the feast of the Nativity,
  • another on the 15th day of Iyar, corresponding more or less to May, and
  • a third on the 13th (or 15th) day of Ab (roughly August), which probably is the origin of our present feast of the Assumption.
Moreover, the same apocryphal relation contains an account of the Blessed Virgin's miracles, purporting to have been forwarded from the Christians of Rome, and closely resembling the "Marienlegenden" of the Middle Ages . For example we read: Often here in Rome she appears to the people who confess her in prayer, for she has appeared here on the sea when it was troubled and raised itself and was going to destroy the ship in which they were sailing. And the sailors called on tke name of the Lady Mary and said: 'O Lady Mary, Mother of God , have mercy on us,' and straightway she rose upon them like the sun and delivered the ships, ninety-two of them, and rescued them from destruction, and none of them perished.

And again we are told:

She appeared by day on the mountain where robbers had fallen upon people and sought to slay them. And these people cried out saying: 'O Lady Mary Mother of God , have mercy on us.' And she appeared before them like a flash of lightning, and blinded the eyes of the robbers and they were not seen by them" (ib., 49).

Of course the wild extravagance of this apocryphal literature cannot be questioned. It is all pure invention and a comparison of the various texts of the "Transitus" shows that this treatise in particular was continually being modified and added to in its various translations, so that we cannot be at all sure that the "Liber qui appellatur transitus, id est Assumptio, Sanctae Mariae apochryphus," condemned by Pope Gelasius in 494, was identical with the Syriac version just cited. But it is highly probable that this same Syriac version was then in existence, and apocryphal as the text may be, it undoubtedly testifies to the state of mind of at least the less instructed Christians of that period. Neither is it likely that feasts would be spoken of and ascribed to the institutions of the Apostles themselves if no such commemoration existed in the locality in which this fictitious narrative was so widely popular. In point of fact, scholars give good reason for believing that a feast described as mneme tes hagias Oeotokou kai aeikarthenou Marias was ceIebrated at Antioch as early as the year 370, while from the circumstance that it was connected with the Epiphany we may probably identify it with the first of the feasts referred to in the Syriac Transitus.

There is also confirmatory evidence for such a feast to be found in the hymns of Balai, a Syriac writer of the beginning of the fifth century; for not only does this writer use the most glowing language about Our Lady , but he speaks in such terms as these: "Praise to Thee Lord upon the memorial feast of Thy Mother" (Poem 4, p. 14, and Poem 6, p. 15). Another clear testimony is that of St. Proclus, who died Patriarch of Constantinople, and who in 429 preached a sermon in that city, at which Nestorius was present, beginning with the words "The Virgin's festival ( parthenike panegyris ) incites our tongue today to herald her praise." In this, we may further note, he describes Mary as

handmaid and Mother, Virgin and heaven, the only bridge of God to men, the awful loom of the Incarnation, in which by some unspeakable way the garment of that union was woven, whereof the weaver is the Holy Ghost ; and the spinner the overshadowing from on high; the wool the ancient fleece of Adam; the woof the undefiled flesh from the virgin, the weaver's shuttle the immense grace of Him who brought it about; the artificer the Word gliding through the hearing" (P.G., LXV, 681).

This discourse illustrates in a remarkable degree how the controversies which bore fruit in the canons of Ephesus and the title theotokos had led to a deeper understanding of the part of the Blessed Virgin in the work of Redemption.

Turning to another Eastern land, we find a very remarkable monument of Marian devotion among the Coptic Ostraca (p. 3), dated to about A. D. 600. This fragment bears in Greek the words: "Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, because thou didst conceive Christ, the Son of God , the Redeemer of our souls ". This oriental variant of the Ave Maria was apparently intended for liturgical use, much as the earliest form of the Hail Mary in the West took the shape of an antiphon employed in the Mass and Office of the Blessed Virgin. Relatively late as this fragment may seem, it is the more valuable because the direct mention of the Blessed Virgin in our earliest liturgical form is of rare occurrence. None such, for example, is found in the prayer-book of Serapion, or in the liturgy of the Apostolic Constitutions, or in the fragments of the Canon of the Mass preserved to us in the Ambrosian treatise "De Sacramentis". Certain Syriac hymns by Cyrillon as (c. 400) and especially by Rabnlas of Edessa (d. 435) speak of Mary in terms of warm devotion; but as in the case of St. Ephraem there is a certain element of uncertainty regarding the authorship of these compositions. On the other hand the dedication of many early churches undoubtedly afford an indication of the authoritative recognition at this period extended to the cultus of the Blessed Virgin. Already at the beginning of the fifth century St. Cyril wrote: "Hail to thee Mary, Mother of God, to whom in towns and villages and in island were founded churches of true believers" (P.G., LXXVII, 1034). The Church of Ephesus, in which in 431 the Ecumenical Council assembled, was itself dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. Three churches were founded in her honour in or near Constantinople by the Empress Pulcheria in the course of the fifth century, while at Rome the Church of Santa Maria Antiqua and Santa Maria in Trastevere are certainly older than the year 500. Not less remarkable is the ever increasing prominence given to the Blessed Virgin during the fourth and fifth centuries in Christian art. In the paintings of the catacombs, in the sculptures of sarchophagi, in the mosaics, and in such minor objects as the oil flasks of Monsa, the figure of Mary recurs more and more frequently, while the veneration with which she is regarded is indicated in various indirect ways, for example by the large nimbus, such as may be seen in the pictures of the Crucifixion in the Rabulas manuscript of A.D. 586 (reproduced in THE CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA, VIII, 773). As early as 540 we find a mosaic in which she sits enthroned as Queen of Heaven in the centre of the apex of the cathedral of Parenzo in Austria, which was constructed at that date by Bishop Euphrasius.

The Early Middle Ages

With the Merovingian and Carlovingian developments of Christianity in the west came the more authoritative acceptance of Marian devotion as an integral part of the Church's life. It is difficult to give precise dates for the introduction of the various festivals, but it has already been pointed out in the article CALENDAR that the celebration of the Assumption, Annunciation, Nativity and Purification of Our Lady may certainly be traced to this period. Three of these feasts appear in the Calendar of St. Willibrord of the end of the seventh century, the Assumption being assigned both to 18 January, after the practice of the Gallican Church, and to August (which approximates to the present Roman date ), while the absence of the Annunciation is probably due only to accident. Again we may quite confidently affirm that the position of the Blessed Virgin in the liturgical formula of the Church was by this time securely established. Even if we ignore the Canon of the Roman Mass which had taken very much the form it now retains before the close of the sixth century, the "praefatio" for the January festival of the Assumption in the Gallican Rite, as well as other prayers which may safely be assigned to no later date than the seventh century, give proof of a fervent cultus of the Blessed Virgin. In poetic language Mary is declared not only marvellous by the pledge which she conceived through faith but glorious in the translation by which she departed" (P. L., LXII, 244-46), the belief in her Assumption being clearly and repeatedly taken for granted, as it had been a century earlier by Gregory of Tours. She is also described in the liturgy as "the beautiful chamber from which the worthy spouse comes forth, the light of the gentiles, the hope of the faithful, the spoiler of the demons, the confusion of the Jews, the vessel of life, the tabernacle of glory, the heavenly temple, whose merits, tender maiden as she was, are the more clearly displayed when they are set in contrast with the example of ancient Eve " (ib., 245). At the same period numberless churches were erected under Mary's dedication, and many of these were among the most important in Christendom. The cathedrals of Reims, Chartres, Rouen, Amiens, Nîmes, Evreux, Paris, Bayeux, Séez, Toulon etc., though built at different dates, were all consecrated in her honour. It is true that the origin of many of these French shrines of Our Lady is impenetrably shrouded in the mists of legends. For example, no one now seriously believes that St. Trophimus at Arles dedicated a chapel to the Blessed Virgin while she was still living, but there is conclusive evidence that some of these places of pilgrimage were venerated at a very early date. We learn from Gregory of Tours (Hist. Fr., IX, 42) that St. Rhadegund had built a church in her honour at Poitiers, and he speaks of others at Lyons, Toulouse, and Tours. We also possess the dedication tablet of a church erected by Bishop Frodomund in 677 "in honore almae Mariae, Genetricis Domini", and as the day named is the middle of the month of August ( mense Augusto medio ), there can be little doubt that the consecration took place upon the festival of the Assumption, which was at that time beginning to supplant the January feast. In Germany the shrines of Altötting and Lorch profess to be able to trace their origin as places of pilgrimage to remote antiquity and though it would be rash to pronounce too confidently, we may probably feel safei in assigning them at least to the Carlovingian period.

In England and Ireland the evidence that from the earliest period Christianity was strongly leavened with devotion to Mary is very great. Bede tells us of the church consecrated to the honour of Our Lady at Canterbury by St. Mellitus, the immediate successor of Augustine; we also learn from the same source of many other Mary churches, e.g. Weremouth and Hexham (this last dedication being due to the miraculous cure of St. Wilfrid after invoking the Mother of God ), and Lastingham near Whitby, while St. Aldhelm, before the end of the same seventh century, informs us how the Princess Bugga, daughter of King Edwin, had a church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin on the feast of her Nativity:


Istam nempe diem, qua templi festa coruscant,
Nativitate sua sacravit Virgo Maria. And Our Lady's altar stood in the apse :
Absidem consecrat Virginis ara.

Probably the earliest vernacular poetry in the West to celebrate the praise of Mary was the Anglo-Saxon; for Cynewulf, slightly before the time of Alcuin and of Charlemagne, composed most glowing verses on this theme; for example to quote Gollancz's translation of "the Christ" (ii, 214-80):


Hail, thou glory of this middle-world!
The purest woman throughout all the earth.
Of those that were from immemorial time
How rightly art thou named by all endowed
With gifts of speech! All mortals throughout earth
Declare full blithe of heart that thou art bride
Of Him that ruleth the empyral sphere.

To speak in detail of all that we find in the writings of Aldhelm, Bede, and Alcuin would be impossible; but it is well to note the testimony of an Anglican writer with regard to the whole period before the Norman Conquest. "The Saint," he says, "most persistent!y and frequently invoked, and to whom the most passionate epithets were applied, trenching upon the Divine prerogatives, was the Blessed Virgin. Mariolatry is no very modern development of Romanism"; and he instances from a tenth-century English manuscript now at Salisbury, such invocations as "Sancta Redemptrix Mundi, Sancta Salvatrix Mundi, ora pro nobis"; The same writer after referring to prayers and practices of devotion known in Anglo-Saxon times, for example the special Mass already assigned to the Blessed Virgin on Saturdays in the Leofric Missal, comments upon the strange delusion, as he regards it, of many Anglicans, who can look upon a Church which tolerated such abuses as primitive and orthodox.

Not less remarkable are the developments of devotion to the Mother of God in Ireland. The calendar of Aengus at the beginning of the ninth century is very remarkable for the ardour of the language used whenever the Blessed Virgin's name is introduced, while Christ is continually referred to as "Jesus Mac Mary" (i.e. Son of Mary). There is also besides certain Latin hymns, a very striking Irish litany in honour of the Blessed Virgin, which as regards the picturesqueness of the epithets applied to her, yields in nothing to the present Litany of Loreto . Mary is there called "Mistress of the Heavens, Mother of the Heavenly and earthly Church, Recreation of Life, Mistress of the Tribes, Mother of the Orphans, Breast of the Infants, Queen of Life, Ladder of Heaven." This composition may be as old as the middle of the eighth century.

The Later Middle Ages

It was characteristic of this period, which for our present purpose may be regarded as beginning with the year 1000, that the deep feeling of love and confidence in the Blessed Virgin, which hitherto had expressed itself vaguely and in accordance with the promptings of the piety of individuals, began to take organized shape in a vast multitude of devotional practices. Long before this date a Lady altar was probably to be found in all the more important churches -- St. Aldhelm's poem on the altars takes us back to before the year 70 and many records testify that at such altars paintings, mosaics, and ultimately sculptures reproduced the figure of the Blessed Virgin to delight the eyes of her clients. The famous seated figure of the Madonna with the Divine Infant at Ely dated from before 1016. The statue of the Blessed Virgin at Coventry, round the neck of which Lady Godiva's rosary was hung, belongs to the same period. Even in Aldhelm's day Our Lady was besought to hearken to the prayers of those who bent the knee before her shrine.


Audi clementer populorum vota precantum
Qui . . . genibus tundunt curvato poplite terram.

It was especially for such salutations that the Ave Maria, which probably first became familiar as an antiphon used in the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin, won popular favour with all classes. Accompanying it each time with a genuflection, such as tradition averred that the Angel Gabriel himself had made, Mary's clients repeated this formula before her images again and again. As it was destitute at first of its concluding petition, the Ave was felt to be a true form of salutation, and in the course of the twelfth century came into universal use. To the same epoch belongs the wide popularity of the Salve Regina, which also seems to have come into existence in the eleventh century. Though it originally began with the words "Salve Regina Misericordia" without the "Mater", we cannot doubt that something of the vogue of the anthem was due to the immense diffusion of the collections of Mary-stories (Marien-legenden) which multiplied exceedingly at this time (twelfth to fourteenth century), and in which the Mater Misericordia motif was continually recurrent. These collections of stories must have produced a notable effect in popularising a number of other practices of devotion besides repetitions of the Ave and the use of the Salve Regina, for example the repetition of five salutations beginning "Gaude Maria Virgo," the recitation of five psalms, the initials of which make up the word Maria, the dedication of the Saturday by special practices to the Blessed Virgin, the use of assigned prayers, such as the sequence "Missus Gabriel," the "O Intemerata," the hymn "Ave Maris Stella," etc., and the celebration of particular feasts, such as the Conception of the Blessed Virgin and her Nativity. The five Gaudes just mentioned originally commemorated Our Lady's "five joys" and to match those joys spiritual writers at first commemorated five corresponding sorrows. It was not until late in the fourteenth century that seven sorrows or "dolours" began to be spoken of, and even then only by exception.

In all these matters the first impulse seems to have come very largely from the monasteries, in which the Mary-stories were for the most part composed and copied. It was in the monasteries undoubtedly that the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin (see PRIMER) began to be recited as a devotional accretion to the Divine Office , and that the Salve Regina and other anthems of Our Lady were added to Compline and other hours. Amongst other orders the Cistercians, particularly in the twelfth century, exercised an immense influence in the development of Marian devotion. They claimed a very special connection with the Blessed Virgin, whom they were taught to regard as always presiding unseen at the recitation of Office. To her they dedicated their churches, and they were particular in saying her hours, giving her special prominence in the Confiteor and frequently repeating the Salve Regina . This example of a special consecration to Mary was followed by other later orders, notably by the Dominicans, the Carmelites, and the Servites. Indeed, almost every such institution from this time forward adopted some one or other special practice of devotion to mark its particular allegiance to the Mother of God. Shrines naturally multiplied, and although some, as already noted, are in their origin of later date than the eleventh century, it was at this period that such famous places of pilgrimage arose as Roc Amadour, Laon, Mariabrunn near Klosterneuburg, Einsiedeln etc., and in England, Walsingham, Our Lady Undercroft at Canterbury, Evesham, and many more.

These shrines, which as time went on multiplied beyond calculation in every part of Europe, nearly always owed their celebrity to the temporal and spiritual favours which it was believed the Blessed Virgin granted to those who invoked her in these favoured spots. The gratitude of pilgrims often enriched them with the most costly gifts; crowns of gold and precious gems, embroidered garments, and rich hangings meet us at every turn in the record of such sanctuaries. We might mention, to take a single example, that of Halle, in Belgium, which was exceptionally rich in such treasures. Perhaps the commonest form of votive offerings took the shape of a gold or silver model of the person or limb that had been cured. For example Duke Philip of Burgundy sent to Halle two silver statues, one representing a knight on horseback, the other a foot-soldier in gratitude for the cure of two of his own bodyguard. Often again the special vogue of a particular shrine was due to some miraculous manifestation which was believed to have occurred there. Blood was said to have flowed from certain statues and pictures of Our Lady which had suffered outrage. Others had wept or exuded moisture. In other cases, the head had bowed or the hand been raised in benediction.

Without denying the possibility of such occurrences, it can hardly be doubted that in many instances the historical evidence for these wonders was unsatisfactory. That popular devotion to the Blessed Virgin was often attended with extravagance and abuse, it is impossible to deny. Nevertheless we may believe that the simple faith and devotion of the people was often rewarded in proportion to their honest intention of paying respect to the Mother of God. And there is no reason to believe that these forms of piety had on the whole a delusive effect, and fostered nothing but superstition. The purity, pity, and motherliness of Mary were always the dominant motive, even the "Miracle" of Max Reinhardt, the wordless play which in 1912 took London by storm, persuaded many how much of true religious feeling must have underlain even the more extravagant conceptions of the Middle Ages.

The most renowned English shrines of Our Lady, that of Walsingham in Norfolk, was in a sense an anticipation of the still more famous Loreto. Walsingham professed to preserve, not indeed the Holy House itself, but a model of its construction upon measurements brought from Nazareth in the eleventh century. The dimensions of the Walsingham Santa Casa were noted by William of Worcester, and they do not agree with those of Loreto. Walsingham measured 23 ft. 6 in. by 12 ft. 10 in.; Loreto, 31 ft.3 in. by 13 ft. 4 in.

In any case the homage paid to Our Lady during the later Middle Ages was universal. Even so unorthodox a writer as John Wyclif, in one of his earlier sermons, says: "It seems to me impossible that we should obtain the reward of Heaven without the help of Mary. There is no sex or age, no rank or position, of anyone in the whole human race, which has no need to call for the help of the Holy Virgin." So again the intense feeling evoked from the twelfth to the sixteenth century over the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is only an additional tribute to the importance which the whole subject of Mariology possessed in the eyes of the most learned bodies of Christendom. To give even a brief sketch of the various practices of Marian devotion in the Middle Ages would be impossible here. Most of them -- for example the Rosary, the Angelus, the Salve Regina etc. and the more important festivals -- are discussed under separate headings. It will be sufficient to note the prevalence of the wearing of beads of all possible fashions and lengths, some of fifteen decades, some of ten, some of six, five, three, or one, as an article of ornament in every attire; the mere repetition of Hail Marys to be counted by the aid of such Pater Nosters, or beads, was common in the twelfth century, before the time of St. Dominic ; the motive of meditating on assigned "mysteries" did not come into use until 300 years later. Further, we must note the almost universal custom of leaving legacies to have a Mary-Mass, or Mass of Our Lady, celebrated daily at a particular altar, as well as to maintain lights to burn continually before a particular statue or shrine. Still more interesting were the foundations left by will to have the Salve Regina or other anthems of Our Lady sung after Compline at the Lady altar, while lights were burned before her statue. The "salut" common to France in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries formed only after development of this practice, and from these last we have almost certainly derived our comparatively modern devotion of Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

Modern Times

Only a few isolated points can be touched upon in the development of Marian devotion since the Reformation. Foremost among these may be noticed the general introduction of the Litany of Loreto, which though, as we have seen, it had precursors in other lands as remote as Ireland in the ninth century, not to speak of isolated forms in the later Middle Ages , itself only came into common use towards the close of the sixteenth century. The same may also be said of any general adoption of the second part of the Hail Mary. Another manifestation of great importance, which also like the last followed close after the Council of Trent, was the institution of sodalities of the Blessed Virgin, particularly in houses of education, a movement mainly promoted by the influence and example of the Society of Jesus, whose members did so much, by the consecration of studies and other similar devices, to place the work of education under the patronage of Mary, the Queen of Purity. To this period is also due, with some occasional exceptions, the multiplication in the calendar of minor feasts of the Blessed Virgin, such as that of the Holy Name of Mary, the festum B.V.M. ad Nives, de Mercede, of the Rosary, de Bono Consilio, Auxilium Christianorum, and so on. Still later in date (seventeenth century at earliest) is the adoption of the custom of consecrating the month of May to the Blessed Virgin by special observances, though the practice of reciting the Rosary every day during the month of October can hardly be said to be older than the Rosary Encyclicals of Leo XIII. Not much controversy was maintained regarding the Immaculate Conception after the indirect pronouncement of the Council of Trent, but the dogma was only defined by Pius IX in 1854. Undoubtedly, however, the greatest stimulus to Marian devotion in recent times has been afforded by the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin in 1858 at Lourdes, and in the numberless supernatural favours granted to pilgrims, both there and at other shrines, that derive from it. The "miraculous medal" connected with the church of Notre-Dame des Victoires at Paris also deserves mention, as giving a great stimulus to this form of piety in the first half of the nineteenth century.

More Volume: D 494

Click/Touch the sub-volume below to view encyclopedia articles within the sub-volume.

1

Dávila Padilla

(AGUSTÍN) A native of the City of Mexico, b. 1562; d. 1604. At the age of sixteen he ...

× Close

1

Dénés

( men or people , in most of their dialects) An aboriginal race of North America, also ...

× Close

3

Díaz de Solís, Juan

Spanish navigator and explorer, b. about 1470 at Lebrija (Seville), or, according to some ...

Díaz del Castillo, Bernal

(Corruption of Bernardo), Spanish historian, one of the chief chroniclers of the conquest of ...

Díaz, Pedro

Missionary, b. at Lupedo, Diocese of Toledo, Spain, in 1546; d. in Mexico, 12 Jan., 1618. Though ...

× Close

2

Döllinger, Johann Joseph Ignaz von

A historian and theologian, born at Bamberg, Bavaria, 28 February, 1799; died at Munich, 10 ...

Döring, Matthias

Historian and theologian, b. between 1390 and 1400, at Kyritz, in Brandenburg ; d. there 24 ...

× Close

1

Dürer, Albrecht

Celebrated painter and engraver, born at Nuremberg, Germany, 21 May, 1471; died there, 6 ...

× Close

D' 1

D'Avenant, Sir William

Poet and dramatist, b. Feb., 1605-6, at Oxford, England ; d. in London, 7 April, 1668. He was ...

× Close

Da 72

Da Ponte, Lorenzo

Poet, b. at Cenada, Italy, 1749; d. in New York, 17 Aug., 1838. He was the son of a Jew and was ...

Dablon, Claude

Jesuit missionary, born at Dieppe, France, in February, 1618; died at Quebec, 3 May, 1697. At ...

Dabrowski, Joseph

Founder of the Sts. Cyril and MethodiusSeminary, Detroit, Michigan, b. at Zoltance, Russian ...

Dacca

DIOCESE OF DACCA (DACCHENSIS) Diocese in Bengal, India. By the Constitution "Æquam ...

Dacier, André

A French philologist, born at Castres, 6 April, 1651; died 18 September, 1722. He was a Huguenot ...

Dacier, Anne

( Née Lefèvre) The wife of André Dacier, born at Saumur in 1651; died ...

Dagon

A Philistine deity. It is commonly admitted that the name Dagon is a diminutive form, hence ...

Daguesseau, Henri-François

(Also rendered d'Aguesseau). Chancellor of France, born at Limoges, 27 November, 1668; died at ...

Dahomey

The Vicariate Apostolic of Dahomey, in West Africa, is territorially identical with the French ...

Dalberg, Adolphus von

Prince-Abbot of Fulda and founder of the university in the same city, born 29 May, 1678; died ...

Dalgairns, John Dobree

(In religion F ATHER B ERNARD ). Born in the island of Guernsey, 21 Oct., 1818; d. 6 April, ...

Dalila

(Or Dalila ). Samson, sometime after his exploit at Gaza ( Judges 16:1-3 ), " loved a ...

Dallas

DIOCESE OF DALLAS (DALLASCENSIS). The Diocese of Dallas, created 1890, comprises 108 counties ...

Dalley, William Bede

Lawyer and statesman, born in Sydney, New South Wales, 1831; died there 28 October, 1888. He was ...

Dalmatia

A part of the Kingdom of Croatia according to a convention entered into between Croatia and ...

Dalmatic

PRESENT USAGE The dalmatic is the outer liturgical vestment of the deacon. It is worn at Mass ...

Dalton, John

Irish author and translator from Spanish and German, born in 1814; died at Maddermarket, ...

Damão

DIOCESE OF DAMÃO (DAMAU, DAMAUN) Suffragan to Goa, and situated in Portugese India ...

Damaraland

The middle part of the German colony, German Southwest Africa, between 19° and 23° S. ...

Damascus

Damascus, in Syria, is one of the oldest cities in the world. According to Flavius Josephus it ...

Damasus I, Saint, Pope

Born about 304; died 11 December, 384. His father, Antonius, was probably a Spaniards ; the name ...

Damasus II, Pope

(Previously called POPPO) A native of Bavaria and the third German to be elevated to the See ...

Damberger, Joseph Ferdinand

Church historian, born 1 March, 1795, at Passau, Bavaria ; died 1 April, 1859, at ...

Damian and Cosmas, Saints

Early Christian physicians and martyrs whose feast is celebrated on 27 September. They were ...

Damien, Father (Joseph de Veuster)

Missionary priest, born at Tremeloo, Belgium, 3 January 1840; died at Molokai, Hawaii, 15 ...

Damietta

(Greek Tamiathis , Arabic Doumiât ). An Egyptian titular see for the Latins and ...

Dan

( Hebrew dn , Sept. Dán ),–(1) The fifth son of Jacob, being the elder of the two ...

Danaba

A titular see of Phænicia Secunda. Danaba is mentioned by Ptolemy (V, xv, 24) as a town in ...

Dance of Death

(French, Dance Macabre , German Todtentanz ) The "Dance of Death" was originally a ...

Dancing

The origin of dancing is to be sought in the natural tendency to employ gesture either to ...

Dandolo, Enrico

Doge of Venice from 1192 to 1205; died, aged about a hundred years, in 1205. He belonged to one ...

Daniel

The hero and traditional author of the book which bears his name. This name ( Hebrew dnyal ...

Daniel and Companions, Saint

Friars Minor and martyrs ; dates of birth unknown; died 10 October, 1227. The martyrdom of ...

Daniel of Winchester

(Danihel), Bishop of the West Saxons, and ruler of the See of Winchester from 705 to 744; died ...

Daniel, Anthony

Huron missionary, born at Dieppe, in Normandy, 27 May 1601, slain by the Iroquois at Teanaostae, ...

Daniel, Book of

In the Hebrew Bible, and in most recent Protestant versions, the Book of Daniel is limited to ...

Daniel, Charles

Born 31 December, 1818, at Beauvais, France ; died 1 January, 1893, at Paris. He joined the ...

Daniel, Gabriel

Historian and controversialist, born at Rouen, France, 8 Feb., 1649; died at Paris, 23 June, ...

Daniel, John

Born 1745; died in Paris, 3 October, 1823; son of Edward Daniel of Durton, Lancashire, and ...

Dansara

A titular see in Osrhoene. Stephanus Byzantius mentions Dansara as a town near Edessa (Orfa). ...

Dante Alighieri

Italian poet, born at Florence, 1265; died at Ravenna, Italy, 14 September, 1321. His own ...

Danti, Ignazio

Mathematician and cosmographer, b. at Perugia, Italy, 1537; d. at Alatri, 19 Oct., 1586. As a ...

Danti, Vincenzo

Sculptor, brother of Ignazio, b. at Perugia, 1530; d. 24 May, 1576. He also enjoyed some ...

Dantine, Maurus

Benedictine of the Congregation of Saint-Maur, and chronologist, born at Gourieux near Namur, ...

Darboy, Georges

Archbishop of Paris and ecclesiastical writer, b. at Fayl-Billot, near Langres, 1813; ...

Dardanus

A titular see in the province of Hellespont, suffragan of Cyzicus. Four or five bishops are ...

Dardel, Jean

Friar Minor of the French province of the order, chronicler of Armenia in the fourteenth century, ...

Darerca, Saint

St. Darerca, of Ireland, a sister of St. Patrick. Much obscurity attaches to her history, and ...

Dareste de la Chavanne, Antoine-Elisabeth

Historian and professor, b. in Paris, 25 October, 1820; d. at Lucenay-lès-Aix, 6 August, ...

Darius and Chrysanthus, Saints

Roman martyrs, buried on the Via Salaria Nova, and whose tombs, according to the testimony of ...

Darnis

A metropolitan titular see of Libya, in Egypt. Ptolemy (IV, 4, 2; 5; 6) and Ammian. Marcell., ...

Darras, Joseph-Epiphane

Church historian, b. at Troyes, France, 1825; d. at Paris, Nov. 8, 1878. He completed his ...

Darrell, William

Theologian, b. 1651, in Buckinghamshire, England ; d. 28 Feb., 1721, at St. Omer's, France. ...

Dates and Dating

In classical Latin even before the time of Christ it was usual for correspondents to indicate ...

Daubrée, Gabriel-Auguste

French geologist, b. at Metz, 25 June, 1814; d. at Paris, 29 May, 1896. He studied mining ...

Daulia

A titular see of Greece. Daulis, later Daulia, Dauleion, often Diauleia, even Davalia, was a ...

Daumer, Georg Friedrich

German poet and philosopher, b. at Nuremberg, 5 March, 1800; d. at Wurzburg, 14 December, 1875. ...

Davenport

DIOCESE OF DAVENPORT (DAVENPORTENSIS) The Diocese of Davenport, erected 8 May, 1881, embraces ...

Davenport, Christopher

Also known as FRANCISCUS À SANCTA CLARA and sometimes by the alias of FRANCIS HUNT and ...

David of Augsburg

(DE AUGUSTA). Medieval German mystic, b. probably at Augsburg, Bavaria, early in the ...

David of Dinant

A pantheistic philosopher who lived in the first decades of the thirteenth century. Very little ...

David Scotus

A medieval Irish chronicler, date of birth unknown; d. 1139. Early in the twelfth century ...

David, Armand

Missionary priest and zoologist, b. 1826; d. 1900. He entered the Congregation of the Mission ...

David, Gheeraert

Son of John David, painter and illuminator, b. at Oudewater, South Holland, c. 1450, d. 13 ...

David, King

In the Bible the name David is borne only by the second king of Israel, the great-grandson of ...

David, Saint

(DEGUI, DEWI). Bishop and Confessor, patron of Wales. He is usually represented standing on ...

Davies, Venerable William

Martyr, one of the most illustrious of the priests who suffered under Queen Elizabeth, b. in ...

Dawson, Æneas McDonnell

Author, b. in Scotland, 30 July, 1810; d. in Ottawa, Canada, 29 Dec., 1894. He studied at the ...

Dax, Diocese of

An ancient French diocese which was suppressed by the Concordat of 1801, its territory now ...

Day of Atonement

( Hebrew Yom Hakkippurim . Vulgate, Dies Expiationum , and Dies Propitiationis — ...

Day, George

Bishop of Chichester ; b. in Shropshire, England, c. 1501; d. 2 August, 1556. He was graduated ...

Day, John Charles, Sir

Jurist, b. near Bath, England, 1826; d. 13 June, 1908, at Newbury. He was educated at Rome and ...

× Close

De 133

De L'Orme, Philibert

Celebrated architect of the French Renaissance, born at Lyons, c. 1515 or a little later; died at ...

De La Croix, Charles

Missionary, b. at Hoorbeke-St-Corneille, Belgium, 28 Oct., 1792; d. at Ghent, 20 Aug., 1869. He ...

De Lisle, Ambrose Lisle March Phillipps

Born 17 March, 1809; died 5 March, 1878. He was the son of Charles March Phillipps of Garendon ...

De Paul University

DePaul University, Chicago, is the outgrowth of St. Vincent's College, which opened in Sept., ...

De Profundis

("Out of the depths"). First words of Psalm 129. The author of this Psalm is unknown; it was ...

De Rossi, Giovanni Battista

A distinguished Christian archaeologist , best known for his work in connection with the Roman ...

De Smet, Pierre-Jean

Missionary among the North American Indians , b. at Termonde (Dendermonde), Belgium, 30 Jan., ...

De Soto, Hernando

Explorer and conqueror, born at Villanueva de la Serena, Badajoz, Spain, 1496 or 1500; died on the ...

De Vere, Aubrey Thomas Hunt

Poet, critic, and essayist, b. at Curragh Chase, County Limerick, Ireland, 10 January, 1814; died ...

Deaconesses

We cannot be sure that any formal recognition of deaconesses as an institution of consecrated ...

Deacons

The name deacon ( diakonos ) means only minister or servant, and is employed in this sense ...

Dead Sea

The name given to the lake that lies on the south-eastern border of Palestine. The Old Testament ...

Dead, Prayers for the

This subject will be treated under the following three heads: I. General Statement and Proof of ...

Deaf, Education of the

Education essentially includes the process of encouraging, strengthening, and guiding the ...

Dean

(Gk. déka , ten; Latin decanus ). One of the principal administrative officials of ...

Dean, William, Venerable

Born in Yorkshire, England, date uncertain, martyred 28 August, 1588. He studied at Reims and ...

Dease, Thomas

Born in Ireland, 1568; died at Galway, 1651. He sprang from an ancient Irish family at one ...

Death Penalty

The infliction by due legal process of the penalty of death as a punishment for crime. The ...

Death, Dance of

(French, Dance Macabre , German Todtentanz ) The "Dance of Death" was originally a ...

Death, Preparation for

The basic preparation for death When should a priest be called? Winding up our earthly affairs ...

Debbora

Prophetess and judge: she was the wife of Lapidoth and was endowed by God with prophetic gifts ...

Debt

( debitum ) That which is owed or due to another; in general, anything which one person is ...

Decalogue

(Greek deka , ten and logos , word). The term employed to designate the collection of ...

Decapolis

(From Greek Deka , ten, and polis , city) Decapolis is the name given in the Bible and ...

Dechamps, Adolphe

Belgian statesman and publicist, brother of Cardinal Dechamps, born at Melle near Ghent, 17 ...

Dechamps, Victor Augustin Isidore

Cardinal, Archbishop of Mechlin, and Primate of Belgium ; born at Melle near Ghent 6 Dec., ...

Decius

(C AIUS M ESSIUS Q UINTUS T RAJANUS D ECIUS ). Roman Emperor 249-251. He was born, ...

Decker, Hans

A German sculptor of the middle of the fifteenth century. Very little is recorded concerning ...

Declaration, The Royal

This is the name most commonly given to the solemn repudiation of Catholicity which, in ...

Decorations, Pontifical

Pontifical decorations are the titles of nobility, orders of Christian knighthood and other ...

Decree

( Latin decretum , from decerno , I judge). In a general sense, an order or law made by a ...

Decretals, Papal

I. DEFINITION AND EARLY HISTORY (1) In the wide sense of the term decretalis (i.e. epistola ...

Dedication

A term which, though sometimes used of persons who are consecrated to God's service, is more ...

Dedication, Feast of the

Also called the Feast of the Machabees and Feast of Lights ( Josephus and Talmudic ...

Deduction

( Latin de ducere , to lead, draw out, derive from; especially, the function of deriving truth ...

Deer, Abbey of

A once famous Scotch monastery. According to the Celtic legend St. Columcille, his disciple ...

Defender of the Matrimonial Tie

( Defensor matrimonii ) The Defender of the Matrimonial Tie is an official whose duty is to ...

Definitions, Theological

The Vatican Council (Sess. iv, cap. iv) solemnly taught the doctrine of papal infallibility ...

Definitor (in Canon Law)

An official in secular deaneries and in certain religious orders. Among regulars, a definitor is ...

Definitors (in Religious Orders)

Generally speaking, the governing council of an order. Bergier describes them as those chosen to ...

Deger, Ernst

Historical painter, born in Bockenem, Hanover, 15 April, 1809; died in Düsseldorf, 27 ...

Degradation

( Latin degradatio ). A canonical penalty by which an ecclesiastic is entirely and ...

Deharbe, Joseph

Theologian, catechist, b. at Straburg, Alsace, 11 April, 1800; d. at Maria-Laach, 8 November, ...

Dei gratia; Dei et Apostolicæ Sedis gratia

( By the grace of God; By the grace of God and the Apostolic See ) A formulæ added ...

Deicolus, Saint

(DICHUIL) Elder brother of St. Gall, b. in Leinster, Ireland, c. 530; d. at Lure, France, 18 ...

Deism

( Latin Deus , God ). The term used to denote certain doctrines apparent in a tendency ...

Deity

( French déité ; Late Latin deitas ; Latin deue , divus , "the divine ...

Delacroix, Ferdinand-Victor-Eugène

French painter, b. at Charenton-St-Maurice, near Paris, 26 April, 1798; d. 13 August, 1863. He was ...

Delaroche, Hippolyte

(Known also as P AUL ) Painter, born at Paris, 17 July, 1797; died 4 November, 1856. A pupil ...

Delatores

( Latin for DENOUNCERS) A term used by the Synod of Elvira (c. 306) to stigmatize those ...

Delaware

Delaware, one of the original thirteen of the United States of America. It lies between ...

Delaware Indians

An important tribal confederacy of Algonquian stock originally holding the basin of the Delaware ...

Delcus

A titular see of Thrace, suffragan of Philippopolis. The Greek name of the place was Delkos or ...

Delegation

( Latin delegare ) A delegation is the commission to another of jurisdiction, which is to be ...

Delfau, François

Theologian, born 1637 at Montel in Auvergne, France ; died 13 Oct., 1676, at Landevenec in ...

Delfino, Pietro

A theologian, born at Venice in 1444; died 16 Jan., 1525. He entered the Camaldolese ...

Delilah

(Or Dalila ). Samson, sometime after his exploit at Gaza ( Judges 16:1-3 ), " loved a ...

Delille, Jacques

French abbé and litterateur , born at Aigueperse, 22 June, 1738; died at Paris, 1 May, ...

Delisle, Guillaume

Reformer of cartography, born 28 February, 1675, in Paris ; died there 25 January, 1726. His ...

Delphine, Blessed

A member of the Third Order of St. Francis, born in Provence, France, in 1284; died 26 ...

Delrio, Martin Anton

Scholar, statesman, Jesuit theologian, born at Antwerp, 17 May, 1551; died at Louvain, 19 ...

Delta of the Nile, Prefecture Apostolic of the

The Prefecture Apostolic of the Delta of the Nile is situated in the north of Egypt and ...

Deluge

Deluge is the name of a catastrophe fully described in Genesis 6:1 - 9:19 , and referred to in the ...

Demers, Modeste

An apostle of the Pacific Coast of North America, and the first Catholic missionary among most ...

Demetrius

The name of two Syrian kings mentioned in the Old Testament and two other persons in the ...

Demetrius, Saint

Bishop of Alexandria from 188 to 231. Julius Africanus, who visited Alexandria in the time of ...

Demiurge

The word means literally a public worker, demioergós, demiourgós, and was ...

Democracy, Christian

In Christian Democracy , the name and the reality have two very different histories, and ...

Demon

(Greek daimon and daimonion , Latin daemonium ). In Scripture and in Catholic ...

Demoniacs

( See also DEMONOLOGY, EXORCISM, EXORCIST, POSSESSION.) (Greek daimonikos, daimonizomenos, ...

Demonology

As the name sufficiently indicates, demonology is the science or doctrine concerning demons. ...

Dempster, Thomas

Savant, professor, author; b., as he himself states at Cliftbog, Scotland, 23 August, 1579; d. at ...

Denaut, Pierre

Tenth Bishop of Quebec, b. at Montreal, 20 July, 1743; d. at Longueuil in 1806. After studying ...

Denifle, Heinrich Seuse

( Baptized JOSEPH.) Paleographer and historian, born at Imst in the Austrian Tyrol, 16 Jan., ...

Denis, Johann Nepomuk Cosmas Michael

Bibliographer and poet, b. at Schärding, Bavaria, 27 September, 1729; d. at Vienna, 29 ...

Denis, Joseph

( Baptized JACQUES). Born 6 November, 1657, at Three Rivers , Canada ; died 25 January, ...

Denis, Saint

Bishop of Paris, and martyr. Born in Italy, nothing is definitely known of the time or place, ...

Denman, William

Publisher, b. in Edinburgh, Scotland, 17 March, 1784; d. in Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A. 12 ...

Denmark

( Latin Dania ). This kingdom had formerly a much larger extent than at present. It once ...

Denonville, Seigneur and Marquis de

(JACQUES-RENE DE BRISAY, SEIGNEUR AND MARQUIS DE DENONVILLE) Born in 1638 at Denonville in the ...

Dens, Peter

Theologian, b. at Boom, near Antwerp, Belgium, 12 September, 1690; d. at Mechlin, 15 February, ...

Denunciation

Denunciation ( Latin denunciare) is making known the crime of another to one who is his ...

Denver

(D ENVERIENSIS ). A suffragan of the Archdiocese of Santa Fé, erected in 1887 and ...

Denys the Carthusian

(D ENYS VAN L EEUWEN, also L EUW or L IEUWE ). Born in 1402 in that part of the ...

Denza, Francesco

Italian meteorologist and astronomer, b. at Naples, 7 June, 1834; d. at Rome, 14 December, 1894. ...

Denzinger, Heinrich Joseph Dominicus

One of the leading theologians of the modern Catholic German school and author of the ...

Deo Gratias

("Thanks be to God "). An old liturgical formula of the Latin Church to give thanks to God ...

Deposition

A deposition is an ecclesiastical vindictive penalty by which a cleric is forever deprived of ...

Deprés, Josquin

Diminutive of "Joseph"; latinized Josquinus Pratensis . Born probably c. 1450 at ...

Derbe

A titular see of Lycaonia, Asia Minor. This city was the fortress of a famous leader of ...

Dereser, Anton

(Known also as THADDAEUS A S. ADAMO). Born at Fahr in Franconia, 3 February, 1757; died at ...

Derogation

(Latin derogatio ). The partial revocation of a law, as opposed to abrogation or the ...

Derry

DIOCESE OF DERRY (DERRIENSIS). Includes nearly all the County Derry, part of Donegal, and a ...

Derry, School of

This was the first foundation of St. Columba, the great Apostle of Scotland, and one of the three ...

Desains, Paul-Quentin

Physicist, b. at St-Quentin, France, 12 July, 1817; d. at Paris, 3 May, 1885. He made his literary ...

Desault, Pierre-Joseph

Surgeon and anatomist, b. at Magny-Vernois a small town of Franche-Comté, France, in ...

Descartes, René

(Renatus Cartesius), philosopher and scientist, born at La Haye France, 31 March, 1596; died at ...

Deschamps, Eustache

Also called M OREL , on account of his dark complexion; b. at Vertus in Champagne between 1338 ...

Deschamps, Nicolas

Polemical writer, born at Villefranche (Rhône), France, 1797; died at Aix-en-Provence, ...

Desclée, Henri and Jules

Henri (1830-); Jules (1828-1911). Natives of Belgium, founders of a monastery and a ...

Desecration

Desecration is the loss of that peculiar quality of sacredness, which inheres in places and ...

Desert

The Hebrew words translated in the Douay Version of the Bible by "desert" or "wilderness", and ...

Desertion

The culpable abandonment of a state, of a stable situation, the obligations of which one had ...

Deshon, George

Priest of the Congregation (or Institute) of St. Paul the Apostle , b. at New London, Conn., ...

Desiderius

(DAUFERIUS or DAUFAR). Born in 1026 or 1027 of a non-regnant branch of the Lombard dukes of ...

Desiderius of Cahors, Saint

Bishop, b. at Obrege (perhaps Antobroges, name of a Gaulish tribe), on the frontier of the ...

Desmarets de Saint-Sorlin, Jean

A French dramatist and novelist, born in Paris, 1595, died there, 1676. Early in life he held ...

Desolation, The Abomination of

The importance of this Scriptural expression is chiefly derived from the fact that in Matthew ...

Despair

(Latin desperare , to be hopeless.) Despair, ethically regarded, is the voluntary and ...

Despretz, César-Mansuète

Chemist and physicist, b. at Lessines, Belgium, 11 May, 1798; d. at Paris, 11 May, 1863. He ...

Desservants

The name of a class of French parish priests. Under the old regime, a priest who performed the ...

Desurmont, Achille

Ascetical writer, b. at Tourcoing, France, 23 Dec., 1828; d. 23 July, 1898. He attended first the ...

Determinism

Determinism is a name employed by writers, especially since J. Stuart Mill, to denote the ...

Detré, William

Missionary, b. in France in 1668, d. in South America, at an advanced age, date uncertain. ...

Detraction

(From Latin detrahere , to take away). Detraction is the unjust damaging of another's good ...

Detroit

(Detroitensis) Diocese established 8 March, 1838, comprises the counties of the lower ...

Deus in Adjutorium Meum Intende

"Deus in adjutorium meum intende," with the response: "Domine ad adjuvandum me festina," first ...

Deusdedit, Cardinal

Born at Todi, Italy ; died between 1097 and 1100. He was a friend of St. Gregory VII and ...

Deusdedit, Pope Saint

(Adeodatus I). Date of birth unknown; consecrated pope, 19 October (13 November), 615; d. 8 ...

Deusdedit, Saint

A native of Wessex, England, whose Saxon name was Frithona, and of whose early life nothing is ...

Deuteronomy

This term occurs in Deuteronomy 17:18 and Joshua 8:32 , and is the title of one of the five ...

Deutinger, Martin

Philosopher and religious writer, b. in Langenpreising, Bavaria, 24 March, 1815; d. at ...

Devas, Charles Stanton

Political economist, b. at Woodside, Old Windsor, England, of Protestant parents, 26 August, ...

Devereux, John C.

Born at his father's farm, The Leap, near Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, Ireland, 5 Aug., 1774; died ...

Devereux, Nicholas

Born near Enniscorthy, Ireland, 7 June, 1791; died at Utica, New York, 29 Dec., 1855, was the ...

Devil

(Greek diabolos ; Latin diabolus ). The name commonly given to the fallen angels, who are ...

Devil Worship

The meaning of this compound term is sufficiently obvious, for all must be familiar with the ...

Devil's Advocate

("Advocate of the Devil" or "Devil's Advocate"). A popular title given to one of the most ...

Devolution

( Latin devolutio from devolvere ) Devolution is the right of an ecclesiastical ...

Devoti, Giovani

Canonist, born at Rome, 11 July, 1744; died there 18 Sept., 1820. At the age of twenty he ...

Devotions, Popular

Devotion, in the language of ascetical writers, denotes a certain ardour of affection in the ...

Deymann, Clementine

Born at Klein-Stavern, Oldenburg, Germany, 24 June, 1844; died at Phoenix, Arizona, U. S. A., 4 ...

Deza, Diego

Theologian, archbishop, patron of Christopher Columbus, b. at Toro, 1444; d. 1523. Entering the ...

× Close

Dh 1

Dhuoda

Wife of Bernard, Duke of Septimania. The only source of information on her life is her "Liber ...

× Close

Di 100

Diaconicum

(Greek diakonikon ) The Diaconicum in the Greek Church is the liturgical book specifying ...

Diakovár

(Croatian, Djakovo ). See of the Bishop of the united Dioceses of Bosnia or ...

Dialectic

[Greek dialektike ( techne or methodos ), the dialectic art or method, from dialegomai ...

Diamantina

DIOCESE OF DIAMANTINA (ADAMANTINA). Located in the north of the State of Minas Geraes, Brazil, ...

Diana, Antonino

Moral theologian, born of a noble family at Palermo, Sicily, in 1586; died at Rome, 20 July, ...

Diano

(D IANENSIS ) Diocese and small city in the province of Salermo, Italy ; the ancient ...

Diario Romano

( Italian for "Roman Daybook") A booklet published annually at Rome, with papal ...

Diarmaid, Saint

Born in Ireland, date unknown; d. in 851 or 852. He was made Archbishop of Armagh in 834, but ...

Dias, Bartolomeu

A famous Portuguese navigator of the fifteenth century, discoverer of the Cape of Good Hope; ...

Diaspora

(Or DISPERSION). Diaspora was the name given to the countries (outside of Palestine) through ...

Dibon

A titular see in Palæstina Tertia. Dîbîn (Septuagint, Daibon or Debon ) ...

Dicastillo, Juan de

Theologian, b. of Spanish parents at Naples, 28 December, 1584; d. at Ingolstadt 6 March, 1653. ...

Dicconson, Edward

Titular Bishop of Malla, or Mallus, Vicar Apostolic of the English Northern District; b. 30 ...

Diceto, Ralph de

Dean of St. Paul's, London, and chronicler. The name "Dicetum" cannot be correctly connected with ...

Dichu, Saint

The son of an Ulster chieftain, was the first convert of St. Patrick in Ireland. Born in the ...

Dicuil

Irish monk and geographer, b. in the second half of the eighth century; date of death ...

Didache

(D OCTRINE OF THE T WELVE A POSTLES ) A short treatise which was accounted by some of the ...

Didacus, Saint

[Spanish = San Diego .] Lay brother of the Order of Friars Minor, date of birth uncertain; ...

Didascalia Apostolorum

A treatise which pretends to have been written by the Apostles at the time of the Council of ...

Didon, Henri

Preacher, writer, and educator, b. 17 March, 1840, at Touvet (Isère), France ; d. 13 ...

Didot

Name of a family of French printers and publishers. François Didot Son of Denis Didot, ...

Didron, Adolphe-Napoleon

Also called Didron aîné ; archaeologist; together with Viollet-le-Duc and Caumont, ...

Didymus the Blind

Didymus the Blind, of Alexandria, b. about 310 or 313; d. about 395 or 398, at the age of ...

Diego y Moreno, Francisco Garcia

First bishop of California, b. 17 Sept., 1785, at Lagos in the state of Jalisco, Mexico; d. 30 ...

Diekamp, Wilhelm

Historian, b. at Geldern, 13 May, 1854; d. at Rome, 25 Dec., 1885. Soon after his birth the ...

Diemoth

Diemoth, an old German word for the present "Demuth", the English " humility ", was the name of ...

Diepenbeeck, Abraham van

An erudite and accomplished painter of the Flemish School, b. at Bois-le-Duc in the ...

Diepenbrock, Melchior, Baron von

Cardinal and Prince-Bishop of Breslau, b. 6 January, 1798, at Boeholt in Westphalia ; d. at the ...

Dieringer, Franz Xaver

Catholic theologian, b. 22 August, 1811, at Rangeningen (Hohenzollern-Hechingen); d. 8 September, ...

Dies Irae

This name by which the sequence in requiem Masses is commonly known. They are the opening words of ...

Dietenberger, Johann

Theologian, b. about 1475 at Frankfort-on-the-Main, d. 4 Sept., 1537, at Mainz. He was educated ...

Diether of Isenburg

Archbishop and Elector of Mainz, b. about 1412; d. 7 May, 1482, at Aschaffenburg. He studied at ...

Dietrich von Nieheim

(N IEM ). Born in the Diocese of Paderborn , between 1338 and 1340; d. at Maastricht, 22 ...

Digby, George

Second Earl of Bristol, b. at Madrid, Spain, where his father, the first earl, was ambassador, ...

Digby, Kenelm Henry

Miscellaneous writer, b. in Ireland, 1800; d. at Kensington, Middlesex, England, 22 March, 1880. ...

Digby, Sir Everard

Born 16 May, 1578, died 30 Jan., 1606. Everard Digby, whose father bore the same Christian name ...

Digby, Sir Kenelm

Physicist, naval commander and diplomatist, b. at Gayhurst (Goathurst), Buckinghamshire, England, ...

Digne

(D INIA ; D INIENSIS ) Diocese comprising the entire department of the Basses Alpes; ...

Dignitary, Ecclesiastical

An Ecclesiastical Dignitary is a member of a chapter, cathedral or collegiate, possessed not only ...

Dijon

The Diocese of Dijon comprises the entire department of Côte-d'Or and is a suffragan of ...

Dillingen, University of

Located in Swabia, a district of Bavaria. Its founder was Cardinal Otto Truchsess von Waldburg, ...

Dillon, Arthur-Richard

A French prelate, b. at St-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris, 1721; d. in London, 1806. The fifth son ...

Dimissorial Letters

( Latin litteræ dimissoriales , from dimittere ), letters given by an ecclesiastical ...

Dingley, Ven. Sir Thomas

Martyr, prior of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, found guilty of high treason 28 April, ...

Dinooth, Saint

(DINOTHUS, DUNAWD, DUNOD). Founder and first Abbot of Bangor Iscoed (Flintshire); flourished ...

Diocaesarea

(SEPPHORIS) (1) A titular see in Palestina Secunda. Diocaesarea is a later name of the town ...

Diocesan Chancery

That branch of administration which handles all written documents used in the official government ...

Diocese

( Latin diœcesis) A Diocese is the territory or churches subject to the jurisdiction of ...

Diocese (Supplemental List)

Pope Pius X, recognizing how necessary it is for the Church to develop in proportion to the ...

Dioclea

A titular see of Phrygia in Asia Minor . Diocleia is mentioned by Ptolemy (V, ii, 23), where ...

Diocletian

(V ALERIUS D IOCLETIANUS ). Roman Emperor and persecutor of the Church, born of parents ...

Diocletianopolis

A titular see of Palaestina Prima. This city is mentioned by Hierocles (Synecdemus, 719, 2), ...

Diodorus of Tarsus

Date of birth uncertain; d. about A.D. 392. He was of noble family, probably of Antioch. St. Basil ...

Diognetus, Epistle to

(EPISTOLA AD DIOGNETUM). This beautiful little apology for Christianity is cited by no ...

Dionysias

A titular see in Arabia. This city, which figures in the "Synecdemos" of Hierocles (723, 3) and ...

Dionysius Exiguus

The surname E XIGUUS , or "The Little", adopted probably in self-deprecation and not because he ...

Dionysius of Alexandria

(Bishop from 247-8 to 264-5.) Called "the Great" by Eusebius, St. Basil, and others, was ...

Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite

By "Dionysius the Areopagite" is usually understood the judge of the Areopagus who, as related in ...

Dionysius, Pope Saint

Date of birth unknown; d. 26 or 27 December, 268. During the pontificate of Pope Stephen ...

Dionysius, Saint

Bishop of Corinth about 170. The date is fixed by the fact that he wrote to Pope Soter (c. ...

Dioscorus

Antipope, b. at Alexandria, date unknown; d. 14 October, 530. Originally a deacon of the ...

Dioscorus

(Also written Dioscorus; Dioscurus from the analogy of Dioscuri ). Bishop of Alexandria ...

Diplomatics, Papal

The word diplomatics , following a Continental usage which long ago found recognition in ...

Diptych

(Or diptychon , Greek diptychon from dis , twice and ptyssein , to fold). A ...

Direction, Spiritual

In the technical sense of the term, spiritual direction is that function of the sacred ministry by ...

Directories, Catholic

The ecclesiastical sense of the word directory , as will be shown later, has become curiously ...

Discalced

( Latin dis , without, and calceus , shoe). A term applied to those religious congregations ...

Discernment of Spirits

All moral conduct may be summed up in the rule: avoid evil and do good. In the language of ...

Disciple

This term is commonly applied to one who is learning any art or science from one distinguished by ...

Disciples of Christ

A sect founded in the United States of America by Alexander Campbell. Although the largest ...

Discipline of the Secret

(Latin Disciplina Arcani ; German Arcandisciplin ). A theological term used to express ...

Discipline, Ecclesiastical

Etymologically the word discipline signifies the formation of one who places himself at school ...

Discussions, Religious

(CONFERENCES, DISPUTATIONS, DEBATES) Religious discussions, as contradistinguished from ...

Disibod, Saint

Irish bishop and patron of Disenberg (Disibodenberg), born c. 619; died 8 July, 700. His life was ...

Disparity of Cult

( Disparitas Cultus ) A diriment impediment introduced by the Church to safeguard the ...

Disparity of Worship

( Disparitas Cultus ) A diriment impediment introduced by the Church to safeguard the ...

Dispensation

( Latin dispensatio ) Dispensation is an act whereby in a particular case a lawful superior ...

Dispersion of the Apostles

( Latin Divisio Apostolorum ), a feast in commemoration of the missionary work of the Twelve ...

Dissen, Heinrich von

Born 18 Oct., 1415, at Osnabrück, in Westphalia ; died at Cologne, 26 Nov., 1484. After ...

Dissentis, Abbey of

A Benedictine monastery in the Canton Grisons in eastern Switzerland, dedicated to Our Lady of ...

Distraction

Distraction ( Latin distrahere , to draw away, hence to distract) is here considered in so far ...

Distributions

Distributions (from Lat. distribuere ), canonically termed disturbtiones quotidianae , are ...

Dithmar

(Thietmar). Bishop of Merseburg and medieval chronicler, b. 25 July, 975; d. 1 Dec., 1018.He ...

Dives

(Latin for rich ). The word is not used in the Bible as a proper noun; but in the Middle ...

Divination

The seeking after knowledge of future or hidden things by inadequate means. The means being ...

Divine Attributes

In order to form a more systematic idea of God, and as far as possible, to unfold the ...

Divine Charity, Daughters of

Founded at Vienna, 21 November, 1868, by Franziska Lechner (d. 1894) on the Rule of St. ...

Divine Charity, Sisters of

Founded at Besançon, in 1799, by a Vincentian Sister, and modelled on the Sisters of ...

Divine Charity, Society of

(SOCIETAS DIVINAE CHARITATIS). Founded at Maria-Martental near Kaisersesch, in 1903 by Josepth ...

Divine Compassion, Institute of the

Founded in the City of New York, USA, by the Rt. Rev. Thomas Stanislaus Preston. On 8 September ...

Divine Nature and Attributes, The

I. As Known Through Natural ReasonA. Infinity of GodB. Unity or Unicity of God C. Simplicity of ...

Divine Office

("Liturgy of the Hours" I. THE EXPRESSION "DIVINE OFFICE" This expression signifies ...

Divine Providence, Sisters of

I. SISTERS OF THE DIVINE PROVIDENCE OF ST. VINCENT DE PAUL Founded at Molsheim, in Diocese of ...

Divine Redeemer, Daughters of the

Motherhouse at Oedenburg, Hungary ; founded in 1863 from the Daughters of the Divine Saviour of ...

Divine Savior, Society of the

Founded at Rome, 8 Dec., 1881, by Johann Baptist Jordan (b. 1848 at Gartweil im Breisgau), ...

Divine Word, Society of the

(S OCIETAS V ERBI D IVINI ) The first German Catholic missionary society established. ...

Divisch, Procopius

Premonstratensian, b. at Senftenberg, Bohemia, 26 March, 1698; d. at Prenditz, Moravia, 21 ...

Divorce (in Civil Jurisprudence)

Divorce is defined in jurisprudence as "the dissolution or partial suspension by the law of ...

Divorce (in Moral Theology)

See also DIVORCE IN CIVIL JURISPRUDENCE . The term divorce ( divortium , from ...

Dixon, Joseph

Archbishop of Armagh, Ireland, born at Coalisland, Co. Tyrone, in 1806; died at Armagh, 29 ...

× Close

Dl 1

Dlugosz, Jan

( Latin LONGINUS). An eminent medieval Polish historian, b. at Brzeznica, 1415; d. 19 May, ...

× Close

Do 85

Dobmayer, Marian

A distinguished Benedictine theologian, born 24 October, 1753, at Schwandorf, Bavaria ; died 21 ...

Dobrizhoffer, Martin

Missionary, b. in Graz, Styria, 7 Sept., 1717; d. in Vienna, 17 July 1791. He became a Jesuit ...

Docetæ

(Greek Doketai .) A heretical sect dating back to Apostolic times. Their name is ...

Docimium

A titular see of Phrygia in Asia Minor. This city, as appears from its coins where the ...

Doctor

( Latin docere , to teach) The title of an authorized teacher. In this general sense the term ...

Doctors of the Church

( Latin Doctores Ecclesiae ) -- Certain ecclesiastical writers have received this title on ...

Doctors, Surnames of Famous

It was customary in the Middle Ages to designate the more celebrated among the doctors by ...

Doctrine of Addai

( Latin Doctrina Addoei ). A Syriac document which relates the legend of the conversion ...

Doctrine, Christian

Taken in the sense of "the act of teaching" and "the knowledge imparted by teaching", this term ...

Dogma

I. DEFINITION The word dogma (Gr. dogma from dokein ) signifies, in the writings of the ...

Dogmatic Fact

(1) Definition By a dogmatic fact , in wider sense, is meant any fact connected with a dogma ...

Dogmatic Theology

Dogmatic theology is that part of theology which treats of the theoretical truths of faith ...

Dogmatic Theology, History of

The imposing edifice of Catholic theology has been reared not by individual nations and men, ...

Dolbeau, Jean

Recollect friar, born in the Province of Anjou, France, 12 March, 1586; died at ...

Dolci, Carlo

Painter, born in Florence, Italy, 25 May, 1616; died 17 January, 1686. The grandson of a ...

Doliche

A titular see of Commagene (Augusto-Euphratesia). It was a small city on the road from ...

Dolman, Charles

Publisher and bookseller, b. at Monmouth, England, 20 Sept., 1807; d. in Paris, 31 December, ...

Dolores Mission

(Or Mission San Francisco De Asis De Los Dolores) In point of time the sixth in the chain of ...

Dolphin

( Latin delphinus ). The use of the dolphin as a Christian symbol is connected with the ...

Dome

( Latin domus , a house). An architectural term often used synonymously with cupola. ...

Domenech, Emmanuel-Henri-Dieudonne

Abbé, missionary and author, b. at Lyons, France, 4 November, 1826; d. in France, June, ...

Domenechino

Properly DOMENICO ZAMPIERI. An Italian painter, born in Bologna, 21 Oct., 1581; died in ...

Domesday Book

The name given to the record of the great survey of England made by order of William the ...

Domicile

( Latin jus domicilii , right of habitation, residence). The canon law has no independent ...

Dominic of Prussia

A Carthusian monk and ascetical writer, born in Poland, 1382; died at the monastery of St. ...

Dominic of the Mother of God

(Called in secular life D OMENICO B ARBERI ) A member of the Passionist Congregation and ...

Dominic, Saint

Founder of the Order of Preachers , commonly known as the Dominican Order ; born at Calaroga, ...

Dominical Letter

A device adopted from the Romans by the old chronologers to aid them in finding the day of the ...

Dominican Republic

(SAN DOMINGO, SANTO DOMINGO). The Dominican Republic is the eastern, and much larger ...

Dominicans

As the Order of the Friars Preachers is the principal part of the entire Order of St. Dominic, we ...

Dominici, Blessed Giovanni

(BANCHINI or BACCHINI was his family name). Cardinal, statesman and writer, born at ...

Dominis, Marco Antonio de

Dalmatian ecclesiastic, apostate, and man of science, b. on the island of Arbe, off the coast ...

Dominus Vobiscum

An ancient form of devout salutation, incorporated in the liturgy of the Church, where it is ...

Domitian

(T ITUS F LAVIUS D OMITIANUS ). Roman emperor and persecutor of the Church, son of ...

Domitilla and Pancratius, Nereus and Achilleus, Saints

The commemoration of these four Roman saints is made by the Church on 12 May, in common, and ...

Domitiopolis

A titular see of Isauria in Asia Minor. The former name of this city is unknown; it was called ...

Domnus Apostolicus

(DOMINUS APOSTOLICUS) A title applied to the pope, which was in most frequent use between the ...

Don Bosco

( Or St. John Bosco; Don Bosco.) Founder of the Salesian Society. Born of poor parents in ...

Donahoe, Patrick

Publisher, born at Munnery, County Cavan, Ireland, 17 March, 1811; died at Boston, U.S.A., 18 ...

Donatello Di Betto Bardi

(DONATO DI NICOLÒ DI BETTO BARDI) One of the great Tuscan sculptors of the ...

Donation (in Canon Law)

(IN CANON LAW) Donation , the gratuitous transfer to another of some right or thing. When it ...

Donation (in Civil Law)

(IN CIVIL JURISPRUDENCE) Donation, the gratuitous transfer, or gift ( Latin donatio ), of ...

Donation of Constantine

( Latin, Donatio Constantini ). By this name is understood, since the end of the Middle ...

Donatists

The Donatist schism in Africa began in 311 and flourished just one hundred years, until the ...

Donatus of Fiesole

Irish teacher and poet, Bishop of Fiesole, about 829-876. In an ancient collection of the ...

Donders, Peter

Missionary among the lepers, b. at Tilburg in Holland, 27 Oct., 1807; d. 14 Jan., 1887. He ...

Dongan, Thomas

Second Earl of Limerick, b. 1634, at Castletown Kildrought, now Celbridge, County Kildare, ...

Donlevy, Andrew

Educator, b. in 1694, probably in Sligo, Ireland ; date and place of death uncertain. Little ...

Donnan, Saint

There were apparently three or four saints of this name who flourished about the seventh century. ...

Donner, Georg Raphael

Austrian sculptor, b. at Essling, Austria, 25 May, 1692; d. at Vienna, 15 February, 1741. It is ...

Donnet, Ferdinand-François-Auguste

A French cardinal, b. at Bourg-Argental (Loire), 1795; d. at Bordeaux, 1882. He studied in the ...

Donoso Cortés, Juan Francesco Maria de la Saludad

Marquess of Valdegamas, author and diplomat, born 6 May, 1809, at Valle de la Serena in the ...

Donus, Pope

(Or D OMNUS ). Son of a Roman called Mauricius; he was consecrated Bishop of Rome 2 Nov., ...

Doorkeeper

(Also called DOORKEEPER. From ostiarius , Latin ostium , a door.) Porter denoted among ...

Doré, Pierre

(AURATUS) Controversialist, b. at Orléans about 1500; d. at Paris, 19 May, 1559. He ...

Dora

A titular see of Palestina Prima. The name ( Dôr ) in Semitic languages means ...

Dorchester, Abbey of

Founded in 1140 by Alexander, Bishop of Lincoln, for Canons of the Order of St. Augustine (or ...

Doria, Andrea

Genoese admiral and statesman, b. at Oneglia, Italy, 1468; d. at Genoa, 1560. His family ...

Dorman, Thomas

Theologian, b. at Berkhampstead, Hertfordshire, England, date uncertain; d. at Tournai, 1572 or ...

Dornin, Bernard

First publisher in the United States of distinctively Catholic books, b. in Ireland, 1761; d. ...

Dorothea, Saint

(1) Virgin and martyr, suffered during the persecution of Diocletian, 6 February, 311, at ...

Dorsey, Anne Hanson

Novelist, born at Georgetown, District of Columbia, U.S.A. 1815; died at Washington, 26 ...

Dorylaeum

A titular see of Phrygia Salutaris, in Asia Minor. This city already existed under the kings ...

Dositheans

Followers of Dositheus, a Samaritan who formed a Gnostic - Judaistic sect, previous to Simon ...

Dosquet, Pierre-Herman

Fourth Bishop of Quebec, b. at Liège, Flanders, 1691; d. at Paris, 1777. He studied at ...

Dossi, Giovanni

Actually named GIOVANNI DI NICOLO DI LUTERO, but also called Dosso Dossi. An Italian painter, ...

Dotti, Blessed Andrea

Born 1256, in Borgo San Sepolero, Tuscany, Italy ; d. there 31 August, 1315. He was of noble ...

Douai

(Town and University of Douai) (D OUAY, D OWAY ) The town of Douai, in the department of ...

Douay Bible

The original Douay Version, which is the foundation on which nearly all English Catholic ...

Double Altar

An altar having a double front constructed in such a manner that Mass may be celebrated on ...

Double Monasteries

Religious houses comprising communities of both men and women, dwelling in contiguous ...

Doubt

(Latin dubium, Greek aporí, French doute, German Zweifel ). A state in which the ...

Douglas, Gavin

Scottish prelate and poet, born about 1474; died 1522; he was the third son of Archibald, Fifth ...

Doutreleau, Stephen

Missionary, born in France, 11 October, 1693; date of death uncertain. He became a Jesuit ...

Dove

(Latin columba ). In Christian antiquity the dove appears as a symbol and as a Eucharistic ...

Dowdall, George

Archbishop of Armagh, b. at Drogheda, County Louth, Ireland, in 1487; d. at London, 15 August, ...

Dowdall, James

Martyr, date of birth unknown; executed for his faith at Exeter, England, 20 September, 1600. ...

Dower

( Latin doarium ; French douaire ) A provision for support during life accorded by law ...

Dower, Religious

( Latin dos religiosa ). Because of its analogy with the dower that a woman brings to ...

Down and Connor

Diocese of Down and Connor (Dunensis et Connorensis) A line drawn from Whitehouse on Belfast ...

Downside Abbey

Near Bath, Somersetshire, England, was founded at Douai, Flanders, under the patronage of ...

Doxology

In general this word means a short verse praising God and beginning, as a rule, with the Greek ...

Doyle, James Warren

Irish bishop ; b. near New Ross, County Wexford, Ireland, 1786; d. at Carlow, 1834. He belonged ...

Doyle, John

Born in Dublin, Ireland, 1797; died in London, 2 January, 1868; English portrait-painter and ...

Doyle, Richard

English artist and caricaturist, b. in London, September, 1824; d. there 11 December, 1883. The ...

× Close

Dr 26

Drach, David Paul

Convert from Judaism, b. at Strasburg, 6 March, 1791; d. end of January, 1868, at Rome. ...

Drachma

(Gr. drachmé ), a Greek silver coin. The Greeks derived the word from drássomai, ...

Dracontius, Blossius Æmilius

A Christian poet of the fifth century. Dracontius belonged to a distinguished family of ...

Drane, Augusta Theodosia

In religion MOTHER FRANCIS RAPHAEL, O.S.D.; b. at Bromley near London, in 1823; d. at Stone, ...

Dreams, Interpretation of

There is in sleep something mysterious which seems, from the earliest times, to have impressed ...

Drechsel, Jeremias

( Also Drexelius or Drexel.) Ascetic writer, b. at Augsburg, 15 August, 1581; entered the ...

Dresden

The capital of the Kingdom of Saxony and the residence of the royal family, is situated on both ...

Dreves, Lebrecht Blücher

Poet, b. at Hamburg, Germany, 12 September, 1816; d. at Feldkirch, 19 Dec., 1870. The famous ...

Drevet Family, The

The Drevets were the leading portrait engravers of France for over a hundred years. Their fame ...

Drexel, Francis Anthony

Banker, b. at Philadelphia, U.S.A. 20 June, 1824; d. there 15 Feb., 1885. He was the oldest son ...

Drexel, Jeremias

( Also Drexelius or Drexel.) Ascetic writer, b. at Augsburg, 15 August, 1581; entered the ...

Drey, Johann Sebastian von

A professor of theology at the University of Tübingen, born 16 Oct., 1777, at Killingen, in ...

Dromore

(DROMORENSIS, and in ancient documents DRUMORENSIS) Dromore is one of the eight suffragans of ...

Drostan, Saint

(DRUSTAN, DUSTAN, THROSTAN) A Scottish abbot who flourished about A.D. 600. All that is ...

Droste-Vischering, Clemens August von

Archbishop of Cologne, born 21 Jan., 1773, at Münster, Germany ; died 19 Oct., 1845, in ...

Druidism

The etymology of this word from the Greek drous , "oak", has been a favorite one since the ...

Druillettes, Gabriel

(Or DREUILLETS) Missionary, b. in France, 29 September, 1610; d. at Quebec, 8 April, 1681. ...

Drumgoole, John C.

Priest and philanthropist, b. at Granard, Co. Longford, Ireland, 15 August, 1816; d. in New ...

Drury, Robert

Martyr (1567-1607), was born of a good Buckinghamshire family and was received into the ...

Drusilla

Drusilla, daughter of Herod Agrippa I , was six years of age at the time of her father's death ...

Drusipara

A titular see in Thracia Prima. Nothing is known of the ancient history of this town, which, ...

Druys, Jean

( Latin DRUSIUS) Thirtieth Abbot of Parc near Louvain, Belgium, b. at Cumptich, near ...

Druzbicki, Gaspar

Ascetic writer, b. at Sierady in Poland, 1589; entered the Society of Jesus, 20 August 1609; d. ...

Druzes

Small Mohammedan sect in Syria, notorious for their opposition to the Marionites, a Catholic ...

Dryburgh Abbey

A monastery belonging to the canons of the Premonstratensian Order (Norbertine or White ...

Dryden, John

Poet, dramatist, critic, and translator; b. 9 August, 1631, at Oldwinkle All Saints, ...

× Close

Du 62

Du Cange, Charles Dufresne

Historian and philologist, b. at Amiens, France, 18 Dec., 1610; d. at Paris, 1688. His father, ...

Du Coudray, Philippe-Charles-Jean-Baptiste-Tronson

Soldier, b. at Reims, France, 8 September, 1738; d. at Philadelphia, U.S.A. 11 September, ...

Du Lhut Daniel Greysolon, Sieur

(DULUTH). Born at Saint-Germain-en-Laye about 1640; died at Montreal, 26 Feb., 1710. He first ...

Dualism

(From Latin duo , two). Like most other philosophical terms, has been employed in different ...

Dublin

(DUBLINIUM; DUBLINENSIS). Archdiocese ; occupies about sixty miles of the middle eastern coast ...

Dubois, Guillaume

A French cardinal and statesman, born at Brive, in Limousin, 1656; died at Versailles, 1723. ...

Dubois, Jean-Antoine

French missionary in India, b. in 1765 at St. Remèze (Ardèche); d. in Paris, 17 ...

Dubois, John

Third Bishop of New York, educator and missionary, b. in Paris, 24 August, 1764; d. in New ...

Dubourg, Louis-Guillaume-Valentin

Second Bishop of Louisiana and the Floridas, Bishop of Montauban, Archbishop of ...

Dubric, Saint

(DYFRIG, DUBRICIUS) Bishop and confessor, one of the greatest of Welsh saints ; d. 612. He ...

Dubuque

Archdiocese of Dubuque (Dubuquensis), established, 28 July, 1837, created an archbishopric, ...

Duc, Fronton du

(Called in Latin Ducæus.) A French theologian and Jesuit, b. at Bordeaux in 1558; ...

Duccio di Buoninsegna

Painter, and founder of the Sienese School, b. about 1255 or 1260, place not known; d. 3 August, ...

Duchesne, Philippine-Rose

Founder in America of the first houses of the society of the Sacred Heart, born at Grenoble, ...

Duckett, John, Venerable

A Martyr, probably a grandson of Venerable James Duckett , born at Underwinder, in the parish ...

Duckett, Ven. James

Martyr, b. at Gilfortrigs in the parish of Skelsmergh in Westmoreland, England, date uncertain, ...

Ducrue, Francis Bennon

Missionary in Mexico, b. at Munich, Bavaria. of French parents, 10 June 1721; d. there 30 March, ...

Dudik, Beda Franciscus

Moravian historian, b. at Kojetein near Kremsier, Moravia, 29 January, 1815; d. as abbot and ...

Duel

( Duellum , old form of bellum ). This word, as used both in the ecclesiastical and ...

Duffy, Sir Charles Gavan

Politician and author, b. at Monaghan, Ireland, 12 April, 1816; d. at Nice, France, 9 Feb., ...

Duhamel, Jean-Baptiste

A French scientist, philosopher, and theologian, b. at Vire, Normandy (now in the department of ...

Dulia

(Greek doulia ; Latin servitus ), a theological term signifying the honour paid to the ...

Duluth

DIOCESE OF DULUTH (DULUTHENSIS) Diocese, established 3 Oct., 1889, suffragan of the ...

Dumas, Jean-Baptiste

Distinguished French chemist and senator, b. at Alais, department of Gard, 14 July, 1800; d. at ...

Dumetz, Francisco

Date of birth unknown; died 14 Jan., 1811. He was a native of Mallorca (Majorca), Spain, where he ...

Dumont, Hubert-André

Belgian geologist, b. at Liège, 15 Feb., 1809; d. in the same city, 28 Feb., 1857. When ...

Dumoulin, Charles

(Or DUMOLIN; latinized MOLINAEUS). French jurist, b. at Paris in 1500; d. there 27 December, ...

Dunbar, William

Scottish poet, sometimes styled the " Chaucer of Scotland ", born c. 1460; died c. 1520(?). He ...

Dunchadh, Saint

(DUNICHAD, DUNCAD, DONATUS) Confessor, Abbot of Iona ; date of b. unknown, d. in 717. He ...

Dundrennan, Abbey of

In Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland ; a Cistercian house founded in 1142 by King David I and ...

Dunedin

(DUNEDINENSIS) Dunedin comprises the provincial district of Otago (including the Otago part, ...

Dunfermline, Abbey of

In the south-west of Fife, Scotland. Founded by King Malcolm Canmore and his queen, Margaret, ...

Dungal

Irish monk, teacher, astronomer, and poet who flourished about 820. He is mentioned in 811 as an ...

Dunin, Martin von

Archbishop of Gnesen and Posen, born 11 Nov., 1774, in the village of Wat near the city of Rawa, ...

Dunkeld

(DUNKELDENSIS) Located in Scotland, constituted, as far back as the middle of the ninth ...

Dunkers

( German tunken , to dip) A Protestant sect thus named from its distinctive baptismal rite. ...

Duns Scotus, Blessed John

Surnamed DOCTOR SUBTILIS, died 8 November, 1308; he was the founder and leader of the famous ...

Dunstan, Saint

Archbishop and confessor, and one of the greatest saints of the Anglo-Saxon Church ; b. near ...

Dupanloup, Félix-Antoine-Philibert

Bishop of Orléans, France, b. at Saint-Félix; Savoie, 2 June, 1802; d. at ...

Duperron, Jacques-Davy

A theologian and diplomat, born 25 Nov., 1556, at St-Lô (Normandy), France ; died 5 ...

Dupin, Louis Ellies

(also DU PIN) A theologian, born 17 June, 1657, of a noble family in Normandy ; died 6 ...

Dupin, Pierre-Charles-François

Known as BARON CHARLES DUPIN. A French mathematician and economist, b. at Varzy, ...

Duponceau, Peter Stephen

A jurist and linguist, b. at St-Martin de Ré, France 3 June, 1760; d. at Philadelphia, ...

Dupré, Giovanni

Sculptor, b. of remote French ancestry at Siena, 1 Mar., 1817; d. at Florence, 10 Jan., 1882. ...

Duprat, Antoine & Guillaume

(1) Antoine Duprat Chancellor of France and Cardinal, b. at Issoire in Auvergne, 17 January, ...

Dupuytren, Baron Guillaume

French anatomist and surgeon, born 6 October, 1777, at Pierre-Buffière, a small town in ...

Duquesnoy, François

(Called also FRANÇOIS FLAMAND, and in Italy IL FLAMINGO). Born at Brussels, Belgium, ...

Duran, Narcisco

Born 16 December, 1776, at Castellon de Ampurias, Catalonia, Spain ; died 1 June, 1846. He ...

Durand Ursin

A Benedictine of the Maurist Congregation, b. 20 May, 1682, at Tours ; d. 31 Aug., 1771, at ...

Durandus of Saint-Pourçain

Philosopher and theologian, b. at Saint-Pourçain, Auvergne France ; d. 13 September, ...

Durandus of Troarn

French Benedictine and ecclesiastical writer, b. about 1012, at Le Neubourg near Evreux ; d. ...

Durandus, William

(Also: Duranti or Durantis). Canonist and one of the most important medieval liturgical writers; ...

Durandus, William, the Younger

Died 1328, canonist, nephew of the famous ritualist and canonist of the same name (with whom he is ...

Durango

(DURANGUM) Archdiocese located in north-western Mexico. The see was created 28 Sept., 1620, ...

Durazzo

ARCHDIOCESE OF DURAZZO (DYRRACHIENSIS). The Archdiocese of Durazzo in Albania, situated on the ...

Durbin, Elisha John

The "Patriarch-priest of Kentucky ", born 1 February, 1800, in Madison County, in that State, of ...

Durham

Ancient Catholic Diocese of Durham (Dunelmensis). This diocese holds a unique position among ...

Durham Rite

The earliest document giving an account of liturgical services in the Diocese of Durham is the ...

Durrow, School of

( Irish Dairmagh , Plain of the Oaks) The Durrow is delightfully situated in the King's ...

Duty

The definition of the term duty given by lexicographers is: "something that is due", ...

Duvergier de Hauranne, Jean

(Or D U V ERGER ), J EAN ; also called S AINT -C YRAN from an abbey he held in ...

Duvernay, Ludger

A French-Canadian journalist and patriot, born at Verchères, Quebec, 22 January, 1799; ...

× Close

Dw 1

Dwight, Thomas

Anatomist, b. at Boston, 1843; d. at Nahant, 8 Sept., 1911. The son of Thomas Dwight and of Mary ...

× Close

Dy 4

Dyck, Antoon (Anthonis) Van

Usually known as S IR A NTHONY V AN D YCK . Flemish portrait-painter, b. at Antwerp, ...

Dymoke, Robert

Confessor of the Faith, date of birth uncertain; d. at Lincoln, England, 11 Sept., 1580. He ...

Dymphna, Saint

(Also known as Dympna and Dimpna). Virgin and martyr. The earliest historical account of ...

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2016 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2016 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.