I just today had a friend, a fervent Catholic, albeit a recent convert, three years old a Catholic, although a mature man, convey to me he is enduring a serious “dark night”.
While I applaud all new entrants to the faith, there is, imho, a benefit to a lifelong practice. Irish Catholic is somehow different than generic or modern Catholicism. Sixteen hundred years of tribal practice/environment must affect? Genetically, even?
In his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning”, Viktor Frankel noted of his fellow prisoners in Auschwitz, it was not those oldest, most sick, most wearied, most hungered, most overworked, most abused who died in the night. No. It was those who gave up hope.
I wrote the following letter to my friend.
“Great saints experience great doubt.
In “Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light,”…most of its pages reveal not the serene meditations of a Catholic sister confident in her belief, but the agonized words of a person confronting a terrifying period of darkness that lasted for decades.
“In my soul I feel just that terrible pain of loss,” she wrote in 1959, “of God not wanting me — of God not being God — of God not existing.” According to the book, this inner turmoil, known by only a handful of her closest colleagues, lasted until her death in 1997.
Faith is not a feeling. Love is more than a feeling.
St. John of the Cross, the Spanish mystic, labeled it the “dark night,” the time when a person feels completely abandoned by God, and which can lead even ardent believers to doubt God’s existence.
During her final illness, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the 19th-century French Carmelite nun who is now widely revered as “The Little Flower,” faced a similar trial, which seemed to center on doubts about whether anything awaited her after death. “If you only knew what darkness I am plunged into,” she said to the sisters in her convent.
In time, with the aid of the priest who acted as her spiritual director, Mother Teresa concluded that these painful experiences could help her identify not only with the abandonment that Jesus Christ felt during the crucifixion, but also with the abandonment that the poor faced daily. In this way she hoped to enter, in her words, the “dark holes” of the lives of the people with whom she worked. “If I ever become a saint,” she wrote, “I will surely be one of ‘darkness.’ ”
There is no sin in admitting doubt. Quite the contrary. To not have doubt is not to struggle, some kind of worthless ersatz humanity, ersatz cross. Not a real cross. Not a real God. Not a real Jesus, Who really suffered and really died and had real agony in the Garden, whose sweat really (medically possible) became blood. And,…Who really, REALLY lives! There is no Easter Sunday without Good Friday, or Happy Friday, as Mara likes to call it. 🙂
St Thomas the Apostle, pray for us!
Daily Offering (abbreviated): O my Jesus, through the immaculate heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day…
As an applied scientist, I have a passion for people of Faith & Science. There is NO contradiction; quite to the contrary, I feel. Those who believe there is are either intentionally confusing both, themselves, and others. Or, they really demonstrate their ignorance of both subjects.
While not a beatus, Robert Grosseteste was a scientist. He is considered the first mathematician and physicist of his age.
From about 1220 to 1235 he wrote a host of scientific treatises including: De sphera. An introductory text on astronomy. De luce. On the “metaphysics of light.” (which is the most original work of cosmogony in the Latin West) De accessu et recessu maris. On tides and tidal movements. (although some scholars dispute his authorship) De lineis, angulis et figuris. Mathematical reasoning in the natural sciences. De iride. On the rainbow.
He also wrote a number of commentaries on Aristotle, including one on Aristotle’s Physics, which has survived as a loose collection of notes or glosses on the text. It has been argued that Grosseteste played a key role in the development of scientific method.
Grosseteste did introduce to the Latin West the notion of controlled experiment and related it to demonstrative science, as one among many ways of arriving at such knowledge. Grosseteste was the first of the Scholastics to fully understand Aristotle’s vision of the dual path of scientific reasoning: generalizing from particular observations into a universal law, and then back again from universal laws to prediction of particulars.
-13th century manuscript
The Riverside Church
January 19, 1936
My dear Dr. Einstein,
We have brought up the question: Do scientists pray? in our Sunday school class. It began by asking whether we could believe in both science and religion. We are writing to scientists and other important men, to try and have our own question answered.
We will feel greatly honored if you will answer our question: Do scientists pray, and what do they pray for?
We are in the sixth grade, Miss Ellis’s class.
January 24, 1936
I will attempt to reply to your question as simply as I can. Here is my answer:
Scientists believe that every occurrence, including the affairs of human beings, is due to the laws of nature. Therefore a scientist cannot be inclined to believe that the course of events can be influenced by prayer, that is, by a supernaturally manifested wish.
However, we must concede that our actual knowledge of these forces is imperfect, so that in the end the belief in the existence of a final, ultimate spirit rests on a kind of faith. Such belief remains widespread even with the current achievements in science.
But also, everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that some spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe, one that is vastly superior to that of man. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is surely quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive.
“In life and the life of faith, often times, we think of doubt as something unhelpful or distracting, as an impediment to greater faith; whereas, in terms of faith, doubt may be the catalyst to deeper faith, yet still, asking more and more profound questions of our faithful and talented teachers. In the 2010 On Heaven and Earth, a book-length dialogue between then Cardinal Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) and Rabbi Skorka of Buenos Aires, our present Holy Father articulated a view of this matter:
“The great leaders of the people of God were men that left room for doubt. Going back to Moses, he is the most humble character that there was on Earth. Before God, no one else remained more humble, and he that wants to be a leader of the people of God has to give God His space; therefore to shrink, to recede into oneself with doubt, with the interior experiences of darkness, of not knowing what to do, all of that ultimately is very purifying.”
(Editor’s note: this is NOT to be overwhelmed by fear and doubt; so many scripture passages, so little time; but rather to be honest regarding doubt’s existence in our lives of faith. And, to admit, even, its helpful aspects towards holiness. It wouldn’t be faith w/out doubt. It would, rather, be certainty. We are not called to certainty. We are called to faith, a call involving greater humility than certainty. As Christians, we are told over and over again to not fear. We, therefore, do not fear doubt. Our faith in Him allows us to look doubt “straight-in-the-eye”, and deal; entering more deeply into the great mystery of Redemption. Recall, Catholicism has a very specific definition of the word “mystery”; when used in a Catholic sense, a mystery is not something which cannot be known, rather, it is a truth which can only be infinitely explored by human reason.)
In his recent biography of St. Francis of Assisi, for instance, Fr. Augustine Thompson, O.P., devotes ample attention to the doubts and crises that plagued St. Francis throughout his life. Far from detracting from Francis’s sanctity, Thompson suggests that an accurate understanding of the difficulties that Francis went through in deciding how to act are of tremendous importance for appreciating his life and witness:
“It is, I think, misleading to assimilate him to some stereotyped image of “holiness,” especially one that suggests that a “saint” never has crises of faith, is never angry or depressed, never passes judgments, and never becomes frustrated with himself or others. Francis’s very humanity makes him, I think, more impressive and challenging than a saint who embodied that (impossible) kind of holiness.”
Doubt can be a source not only of indecision but more profoundly of purification, for it forces us to consider more deeply the motivations and circumstances of the exercise of our freedom. Doubt is not something to be sought for its own sake, but when it comes we can make the most of the experience by entrusting ourselves to the Lord Who is able to make all things work together for the good for those who love Him.”
“Pope John Paul II chose to conclude his 1998 encyclical, Fides et Ratio, by comparing the discipline of philosophy to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He says that “between the vocation of the Blessed Virgin and the vocation of true philosophy there is a deep harmony.” At first glance this seems like a stretch. Why, in a document addressing the relationship between faith and reason, would he conclude with the Blessed Virgin Mary? Is this just a pious invocation?
In fact, John Paul’s comparison is not only well founded, but deeply fitting. He grounds it on two fundamental similarities, the first of which has to do with the notion of offering:
Just as the Virgin was called to offer herself entirely as human being and as woman that God’s Word might take flesh and come among us, so too philosophy is called to offer its rational and critical resources that theology, as the understanding of faith, may be fruitful and creative.
Mary offered herself up completely by embracing her divine maternity. In a similar way, philosophy is called to make a complete offering of all that it is. As the systematic investigation of truth by the use of human reason, it surrenders itself to theology, a discipline greater than itself. Using the language of the Annunciation, John Paul draws out the traditional analogy between Mary as the “handmaid of the Lord” and philosophy as the “handmaid of theology.” To reach its true goal, philosophy must make its own “fiat.”
Secondly, just as Mary is exalted as the result of her surrender, so too philosophy is elevated:
Just as in giving her assent to Gabriel’s word, Mary lost nothing of her true humanity and freedom, so too when philosophy heeds the summons of the Gospel’s truth its autonomy is in no way impaired. Indeed, it is then that philosophy sees all its enquiries rise to their highest expression.
Mary’s surrender to God did not diminish her in any way; rather, it allowed God to ennoble her. In an analogous way, the truth of the faith does not constrain or inhibit rational inquiry, but elevates it. This is an important point since there are many who think that faith threatens the project of philosophy, or of scientific inquiry in general. In reality, however, faith does not hinder the pursuit of philosophy any more than God hindered the life of Mary. Far from “tainting” human knowledge, “faith delivers reason from errors and protects it and furnishes it with knowledge of many kinds,” as the First Vatican Council affirmed.
To speak about the discipline of philosophy as such is to speak about individual persons engaged in a search for answers to the perennial questions of life. This search extends to all human beings insofar as they ask questions such as “Why do I exist?” and “What makes me happy?” As a model in our philosophical search, John Paul presents us with Mary, someone we may not have expected. To imitate her is to surrender our minds to God—and to do so with the confidence that they will be raised up.”
Kelly, Mara, and I have found our new parish home in St Albert the Great, O.P. of Sun Prairie, WI, stalberts.org; sister parish of Sacred Hearts of Jesus & Mary Parish also in Sun Prairie. We have hopes Mara may attend Sacred Hearts School. The fact I am a professional applied scientist and a former Dominican novice is not lost on me in this serendipitous coincidence. The Midwestern Province of the Order of Preachers is dedicated to St Albert the Great, O.P. We are happy and St Albert’s is a happy place of fellow pilgrims.
He was known as the “teacher of everything there is to know,” was a scientist long before the age of science, became the teacher and mentor of that other remarkable mind of his time, St. Thomas Aquinas. St. Albert the Great was born in Lauingen on the Danube, near Ulm, Germany; his father was a military lord in the army of Emperor Frederick II. As a young man Albert studied at the University of Padua and there fell under the spell of Blessed Jordan of Saxony, the Dominican who made the rounds of the universities of Europe drawing the best young men of the universities into the Dominicans.
After several teaching assignments in his order, he came in 1241 to the University of Paris, where he lectured in theology. While teaching in Paris, he was assigned by his order in 1248 to set up a house of studies for the order in Cologne. In Paris, he had gathered around him a small band of budding theologians, the chief of whom was Thomas Aquinas, who accompanied him to Cologne and became his greatest pupil.
In 1260, he was appointed bishop of Regensberg; when he resigned after three years, he was called to be an adviser to the pope and was sent on several diplomatic missions. In his latter years, he resided in Cologne, took part in the Council of Lyons in 1274, and in his old age traveled to Paris to defend the teaching of his student Thomas Aquinas.
It was in Cologne that his reputation as a scientist grew. He carried on experiments in chemistry and physics in his makeshift laboratory and built up a collection of plants, insects, and chemical compounds that gave substance to his reputation. When Cologne decided to build a new cathedral, he was consulted about the design. He was friend and adviser to popes, bishops, kings, and statesmen and made his own unique contribution to the learning of his age.
He died a very old man in Cologne on November 15,1280, and is buried in St. Andrea’s Church in that city. He was canonized and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1931 by Pope Pius XI. His writings are remarkable for their exact scientific knowledge, and for that reason he has been made the patron saint of scientists.
St. Albert the Great, O.P., was convinced that all creation spoke of God and that the tiniest piece of scientific knowledge told us something about Him. Besides the Bible, God has given us the book of creation revealing His wisdom and power. In creation, Albert saw directly and undeniably the hand of God and His love of mankind.
-Roman sarcophagus containing the relics of Albertus Magnus in the crypt of St. Andreas church in Cologne, Germany
“It is by the path of love, which is charity, that God draws near to man, and man to God. But where charity is not found, God cannot dwell. If, then, we possess charity, we possess God, for “God is Charity” (1 John 4:8)
-Saint Albert the Great
“Do this in remembrance of me.” Two things should be noted here. The first is the command that we should use this sacrament, which is indicated when Jesus says, “Do this.” The second is that this sacrament commemorates the Lord’s going to death for our sake.
This sacrament is profitable because it grants remission of sins; it is most useful because it bestows the fullness of grace on us in this life. “The Father of spirits instructs us in what is useful for our sanctification.” And his sanctification is in Christ’s sacrifice, that is, when He offers Himself in this sacrament to the Father for our redemption to us for our use.
Christ could not have commanded anything more beneficial, for this sacrament is the Fruit of the Tree of Life. Anyone who receives this sacrament with the devotion of sincere faith will never taste death. “It is a Tree of Life for those who grasp it, and blessed is he who holds it fast. The man who feeds on Me shall live on account of Me.”
Nor could He have commanded anything more lovable, for this sacrament produces love and union. It is characteristic of the greatest love to give itself as food. “Had not the men of my text exclaimed: Who will feed us with his flesh to satisfy our hunger? as if to say: I have loved them and they have loved Me so much that I desire to be within them, and they wish to receive Me so that they may become My members. There is no more intimate or more natural means for them to be united to Me, and I to them.Nor could He have commanded anything which is more like eternal life. Eternal life flows from this sacrament because God with all sweetness pours Himself out upon the blessed.” – from a commentary by Saint Albert the Great on the Gospel of Luke
Prayer to St Albert the Great, O.P.
Dear scientist and Doctor of the Church, natural science and sacred science were for you the same Truth. For you, and for all Catholic scientists, these are never in opposition, but always in harmony – one beckoning deeper understanding of the other, drawing humankind more deeply into the infinitely knowable mystery of the Creator and His Word.
Though you had an encyclopedic knowledge, it never made you proud, for you regarded it as a gift of God. Inspire scientists, theoretical and applied, to use their gifts well in studying the wonders of creation, thus bettering the lot of the human race and rendering greater glory to God. Amen.
As a professional applied scientist and a man of faith, I often hear, even from fellow Catholics, “How can that be?” I respond, “How can what be?” “Faith & Science together…in the same person?…in the same mind?…How can that be?” If they are a little educated, I will also get, “What about Galileo?”
There is no contradiction. In all my professional training, almost all in public schools except for one master’s degree, and even then you could hardly tell that school was Catholic, as is the schizophrenia of “Catholic identity” in our (Catholic) higher ed, I have never encountered any scientific topic which contradicted my Catholic faith. None. In conjunction, in all my amateur study of the Catholic faith, I have never encountered any article of faith or doctrine which contradicted my scientific training. None. Never. Ever. Amen.
In fact, modern physics takes even the scientist’s breath away with awe. Romans 11:33.
Dr. Stephen Hawking who recently appeared in the documentary Curiosity on the Discover Channel concluding, “God does not exist!” It is embarrassing for all scientists, irregardless of specialty, with even the slightest training in the scientific method, when such a famous one of us reach’s a very public conclusion not based on science, but on bias and prejudice. Not very scientific, doctor. No, not very scientific, indeed. I have since offered my services to the Discover Channel as an expert, especially if that is the level of science they care to offer.
Dr. Hawking’s conclusion was that God did not exist since nothing, including God, existed before the Big Bang, as first proposed by Msgr Georges LeMaitre. The basis of Dr. Hawking’s conclusion is that nothing existed. No matter or energy existed. That fallaciously assumes God is matter or energy. ? Dr. Hawking, even a budding high school science student would not presume to assume the Almighty was relegated to the domain of matter or energy. Convenient for a desired conclusion, but intellectually and scientifically bankrupt.
The Church has an expression for it: Fides et Ratio = Faith and Reason. There is no contradiction. If one carefully studies the Galileo affair, one will quickly find both sides were answering a different question, how so many misunderstandings commence, and no one will defend Messr. Galileo’s tact. Not even his daughter, Virginia, or by her religious name, Suor Maria Celeste, a cloistered nun of the San Mateo Convent, Arcetri, and some say his closest confidant and advisor, even scientifically. She had his brains, no? Messr. Galileo is especially untactful when he mocks in word and illustration as a simpleton and a fool the then pope, who up until the publishing of Galileo’s book had been his friend, benefactor, and supporter. Not very politic, Messr. Galileo. Not very politic.
“Pea hybrids form germinal and pollen cells that in their composition correspond in equal numbers to all the constant forms resulting from the combination of traits united through fertilization.”
Gregor Johann Mendel was born on July 22, 1822 to peasant parents in a small agrarian town in Czechoslovakia. During his childhood he worked as a gardener, and as a young man attended the Olmutz Philosophical Institute. From 1840 to 1843, he studied practical and theoretical philosophy as well as physics at the University of Olomouc Faculty of Philosophy. In 1843 he entered an Augustinian monastery in Brunn, Czechoslovakia. Soon afterward, his natural interest in science and specifically hereditary science led him to start experiments with the pea plant. Mendel’s attraction for scientific research was based on his love of nature in general. He was not only interested in plants, but also in meteorology and theories of evolution. However, it is his work with the pea plant that changed the world of science forever.
His beautifully designed experiments with pea plants were the first to focus on the numerical relationships among traits appearing in the progeny of hybrids. His interpretation for this phenomenon was that material and unchanging hereditary “elements” undergo segregation and independent assortment. These elements are then passed on unchanged (except in arrangement) to offspring thus yielding a very large, but finite number of possible variations.
Mendel often wondered how plants obtained atypical characteristics. On one of his frequent walks around the monastery, he found an atypical variety of an ornamental plant. He took it and planted it next to the typical variety. He grew their progeny side by side to see if there would be any approximation of the traits passed on to the next generation. This experiment was “designed to support or to illustrate Lamarck’s views concerning the influence of environment upon plants.” He found that the plants’ respective offspring retained the essential traits of the parents, and therefore were not influenced by the environment. This simple test gave birth to the idea of heredity.
Overshadowing the creative brilliance of Mendel’s work is the fact that it was virtually ignored for 34 years. Only after the dramatic rediscovery of Mendel’s work in 1900 (16 years after Mendel’s death) was he rightfully recognized as the founder of genetics.
Mendel was well aware that there were certain preconditions that had to be carefully established before commencing investigations into the inheritance of characteristics. The parental plants must be known to possess constant and differentiating characteristics. To establish this condition, Mendel took an entire year to test “true breeding” (non-hybrid) family lines, each having constant characteristics. The experimental plants also needed to produce flowers that would be easy to protect against foreign pollen. The special shape of the flower of the Leguminosae family, with their enclosed styles, drew his attention. On trying several from this family, he finally selected the garden pea plant (Pisum sativum) as being most ideal for his needs. Mendel also picked the common garden pea plant because it can be grown in large numbers and its reproduction can be manipulated. As with many other flowering plants, pea plants have both male and female reproductive organs. As a result, they can either self-pollinate themselves or cross-pollinate with other plants. In his experiments, Mendel was able to selectively cross-pollinate purebred plants with particular traits and observe the outcome over many generations. This was the basis for his conclusions about the nature of genetic inheritance.
Mendel observed seven pea plant traits that are easily recognized in one of two forms:
1. Flower color: purple or white
2. Flower position: axial or terminal
3. Stem length: long or short
4. Seed shape: round or wrinkled
5. Seen color: yellow or green
6. Pod shape: inflated or constricted
7. Pod color: yellow or green
Mendel’s Law of Segregation
Mendel’s hypothesis essentially has four parts. The first part or “law” states that, “Alternative versions of genes account for variations in inherited characters.” In a nutshell, this is the concept of alleles. Alleles are different versions of genes that impart the same characteristic. For example, each pea plant has two genes that control pea texture. There are also two possible textures (smooth and wrinkled) and thus two different genes for texture.
The second law states that, “For each character trait (ie: height, color, texture etc.) an organism inherits two genes, one from each parent.” This statement alludes to the fact that when somatic cells are produced from two gametes, one allele comes from the mother, one from the father. These alleles may be the same (true-breeding organisms), or different (hybrids).
The third law, in relation to the second, declares that, “If the two alleles differ, then one, the dominant allele, is fully expressed in the organism’s appearance; the other, the recessive allele, has no noticeable effect on the organism’s appearance.”
The fourth law states that, “The two genes for each character segregate during gamete production.” This is the last part of Mendel’s generalization. This references meiosis when the chromosome count is changed from the diploid number to the haploid number. The genes are sorted into separate gametes, ensuring variation. This sorting process depends on genetic “recombination.” During this time, genes mix and match in a random and yet very specific way. Genes for each trait only trade with genes of the same trait on the opposing strand of DNA so that all the traits are covered in the resulting offspring. For example, color genes do not trade off with genes for texture. Color genes only trade off with color genes from the opposing allelic sight as do texture genes and all other genes. The result is that each gamete that is produced by the parent is uniquely different as far as the traits that it codes for from every other gamete that is produced. For many creatures, this available statistical variation is so huge that in all probability, no two identical offspring will ever be produced even given trillions of years of time.
So, since a pea plant carries two genes, it can have both of its genes be the same. Both genes could be “smooth” genes or they could both be “wrinkled” genes. If both genes are the same, the resulting pea will of course be consistent. However, what if the genes are different or “hybrid”? One gene will then have “dominance” over the other “recessive” gene. The dominant trait will then be expressed. For example, if the smooth gene (A) is the dominant gene and the wrinkle gene (a) is the recessive gene, a plant with the “Aa” genotype will produce smooth peas. Only an “aa” plant will produce wrinkled peas. For instance, the pea flowers are either purple or white. Intermediate colors do not appear in the offspring of these cross-pollinated plants.
The observation that there are inheritable traits that do not show up in intermediate forms was critically important because the leading theory in biology at the time was that inherited traits blend from generation to generation (Charles Darwin and most other cutting-edge scientists in the 19th century accepted this “blending theory.”). Of course there are exceptions to this general rule. Some genes are now known to be “incompletely dominant.” In this situation, the “dominant gene has incomplete expression in the resulting phenotype causing a “mixed” phenotype. For example, some plants have “incomplete dominant” color genes such as white and red flower genes. A hybrid of this type of plant will produce pink flowers. Other genes are known to be “co-dominant” where both alleles are equally expressed in the phenotype. An example of co-dominant alleles is human blood typing. If a person has both “A” and “B” genes, they will have an “AB” blood type. Some traits are inherited through the combination of many genes acting together to produce a certain effect. This type of inheritance is called “polygenetic.” Examples of polygenetic inheritance are human height, skin color, and body form. In all of these cases however, the genes (alleles) themselves remain unchanged. They are transmitted from parent to offspring through a process of random genetic recombination that can be calculated statistically. For example, the odds of a dominant trait being expressed over a recessive trait in a two-gene allelic system where both parents are hybrids are 3:1. If only one parent is a hybrid and the other parent has both dominant alleles, then 100% of the offspring will express the dominant trait. If one parent has both recessive alleles and the other parent is a hybrid, then the offspring will have a phenotypic ratio of 1:1.
Mendel’s Law of Independent Assortment
The most important principle of Mendel’s Law of Independent Assortment is that the emergence of one trait will not affect the emergence of another. For example, a pea plant’s inheritance of the ability to produce purple flowers instead of white ones does not make it more likely that it would also inherit the ability to produce yellow peas in contrast to green ones. Mendel’s findings allowed other scientists to simplify the emergence of traits to mathematical probability (While mixing one trait always resulted in a 3:1 ratio between dominant and recessive phenotypes, his experiments with two traits showed 9:3:3:1 ratios).
Mendel was so successful largely thanks to his careful and nonpassionate use of the scientific method. Also, his choice of peas as a subject for his experiments was quite fortunate. Peas have a relatively simple genetic structure and Mendel could always be in control of the plants’ breeding. When Mendel wanted to cross-pollinate a pea plant he needed only to remove the immature stamens of the plant. In this way he was always sure of each plants’ parents. Mendel made certain to start his experiments only with true breeding plants. He also only measured absolute characteristics such as color, shape, and texture of the offspring. His data was expressed numerically and subjected to statistical analysis. This method of data reporting and the large sampling size he used gave credibility to his data. He also had the foresight to look through several successive generations of his pea plants and record their variations. Without his careful attention to procedure and detail, Mendel’s work could not have had the same impact that it has made on the world of genetics.
Hello, my name is Amy Goggin and I am a parishioner at St. John Fisher in Chicago. I’m writing this letter to you to ask for your support and guidance in a cause that has been on my heart recently. I have an on-line store. I make rosaries and religious jewelry. I have wanted to make a chaplet/bracelet for people afflicted with Down’s syndrome. While researching the patron Saint for these individuals, I realized that there is no patron Saint for them. I am wondering how to go about declaring one? How does the Church declare a patron saint?
I understand that there are patron saints for people with mental illnesses and people that are handicapped in one form or another but, there needs to be a specific advocate in heaven for the growing number of people afflicted with Down’s syndrome. Prenatal screening and diagnostic testing is most often used to identify unborn babies with Down’s syndrome and then that information is used to encourage an abortion. This testing does not provide information that could be used to treat the baby before birth. One out of every 800 pregnancies is diagnosed with having a Down’s baby.
That is about 400,000 in the US alone. Out of those, 84% to 91% are aborted in the US. If a mother decides to have her Down’s syndrome child there are many medical complications that are awaiting the child throughout his/her life. There seems to be a cultural war against these innocent human beings right from the start. Due to the large number of people with this condition and the life-threatening situation they find themselves, we as Catholics need an advocate in Heaven to offer up our prayers of both petition and thanksgiving.
While researching a saint that would be appropriate for this cause, I found Servant of God (whose cause for canonization was opened in 2007): Dr. Jerome Lejeune. He was a French Doctor that spent his life trying to find a cure for Down’s syndrome and fighting for an awareness of the sanctity of their lives. He discovered the cause of Down’s syndrome in 1958.
Dr. Lejeune worked closely with Pope John Paul II and was appointed the first president of the Pontifical Academy for Life. He treated around 5,000 patients. He would explain to new mothers that their child’s name was (child’s name) and he/she is not a disease, but a person that happens to have a disease. His mission was to have others understand the dignity that these individuals possessed, by looking beyond their condition to see a human being. His own daughter, Clara Lejeune Gaymard wrote a memoir titled Life is a Blessing about her father .
I believe that due to the nature of Dr. Lejeune’s life’s work, he is the perfect patron saint for people afflicted with this genetic condition. I’m wondering if you can help us with three things by your guidance and blessing. My friends and I are willing to do whatever we have to do, we just need some direction and support. We want to know how to officially request that the Church declare Lejeune the patron saint for people afflicted with Down’s syndrome.
We want to know how to create a chaplet of prayers for his intercession. Finally, there is a strong local support to have a national shrine on the South Side of Chicago for Catholics to come and pray for Lejeune’s intercession for their loved ones with Down’s syndrome. We believe that because of the large population of individuals with this condition on the South Side of Chicago, this would be the most appropriate place for such a shrine. We are willing to take on any logistical legwork necessary to further this cause. I would appreciate any help you can offer my friends and I with this endeavor and look forward to hearing back from you soon.”
Jerome Lejeune was born in Montrouge, France, in 1926. A reading of The Country Doctor by the French novelist Balzac convinced him of his vocation when he was 13 years old. He too wanted to be a simple country doctor dedicating his life to helping the poor.
After attending medical school, he was persuaded by Professor Raymond Turpin to collaborate with him on a study of Down syndrome. He accepted this challenge and his dreams of being a simple country doctor were laid to rest.
He and his wife Birthe had five children and his family life and his faith were always his priority. When his beloved father was dying of lung cancer, he recognised more deeply the mystery of human suffering and the presence of Christ in all those who suffer.
In 1954, he was appointed a committee member of the French Genetics society and in 1957 was named an expert on the effects of atomic radiation on human genetics by the United Nations.
In 1959 he discovered the cause of Down syndrome and was also to diagnose the first case of Cri du Chat Syndrome. In 1962, he was awarded the prestigious Kennedy prize and, in 1965, he was appointed to the first Chair in Fundamental Genetics at the University of Paris. During this time, he helped thousands of parents to accept and love their children with Down syndrome.
-quote of Dr. Jerome Lejeune, MD, in a letter to his wife after his acceptance speech in 1969 when he was given the William Allen Memorial Award, the highest distinction that could be granted to a Geneticist, in which he strenuously condemned abortion.
In 1991, he wrote a summary of his reflections on medical ethics for his fellow Catholics in seven brief points:
1. Christians, be not afraid. It is you who possess the truth. Not that you invented it but because you are the vehicle for it. To all doctors, you must repeat: “you must conquer the illness, not attack the patient.”
2. We are made in the image of God. For this reason alone all human beings must be respected.
3. Abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes.
4. Objective morality exists. It is clear and it is universal – because it is Catholic.
5. The child is not disposable and marriage is indissoluble.
6. “You shall honour your father and mother.” Therefore, uniparental reproduction by any means is always wrong.
7. In so-called pluralistic societies, they shout it down our throats: “You Christians do not have the right to impose your morality on others.” Well, I tell you, not only do you have the right to try to incorporate your morality in the law but it is your democratic duty.
There is a famous story of an American physician who told Lejeune the following:
“My father was a Jewish physician in Braunau, Austria. One day only two babies were born at the local hospital. The parents of the healthy boy were proud and happy. The other was a girl (with Down syndrome) and her parents were sad.”
The physician ended the story by saying that the girl grew up to look after her mother despite her own disability. Her name is not known. The boy’s name was Adolph Hitler. Quite likely the story is apocryphal. However, it does express the truth that was central to Lejeune’s vocation: people with disabilities are certainly no less human than those without.
In 1993, Pope Saint John Paul II, his close friend, appointed Lejeune to be the first president of the Pontifical Academy for Life. That same year he was diagnosed with lung cancer and, by Good Friday of 1994, he was critically ill. “I have never betrayed my faith” he said. While reflecting on his patients, he was moved to tears and said: “I was supposed to have cured them…What will happen to them?”
A little later he was filled with joy. He said: “My children, if I can leave you with one message, this is the most important of all: We are in the hands of God. I have experienced this numbers of times.” He died the next day. Pope Saint John Paul II wrote of him: “We find ourselves today faced with the death of a great Christian of the twentieth century, a man for whom the defense of life had become an apostolate.” His cause for canonization has been postulated. Our bishops have recently agreed on three priorities for the Church, one of which is to proclaim the coming of the Kingdom by supporting integrity in public life, cohesion and mutual respect in society and serving the marginalized and the vulnerable. May this great servant of God, an apostle of the vulnerable, be an example to us all.
Prayer to Obtain Graces by God’s Servant’s Intercession
God, who created man in your image and intended him to share your glory, we thank you for having granted to your Church the gift of professor & doctor, Jerome Lejeune, MD, a distinguished Servant of Life. He knew how to place his immense intelligence and deep faith at the service of the defense of human life, especially unborn life, always seeking to treat and to cure.
A passionate witness to truth and charity, he knew how to reconcile faith and reason in the sight of today’s world. By his intercession, and according to Your will, we ask You to grant us the graces we implore, hoping that he will soon become one of your saints.
Servant of God, Servant of Life!!!! Dr. Jerome Lejeune, MD, pray for us!!!!
Not a saint, yet, but a personal and professional hero of mine.
Monsignor Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître (July 17, 1894 – June 20, 1966) was a Belgian Roman Catholic priest, honorary prelate, professor of physics and astronomer at the Catholic University of Leuven.
Lemaître proposed what became known as the Big Bang theory of the origin of the Universe, which he called his ‘hypothesis of the primeval atom’.
Lemaitre was a pioneer in applying Einstein’s theory of general relativity to cosmology. He introduced the theoretical Hubble’s law in 1927 as a generic phenomena in relativistic cosmology. In 1931, he published his primeval atom theory in Nature. At the time, Einstein had expressed skepticism about Lemaître’s 1927 paper.
But it is Lemaître’s theory that changed the course of science. Lemaître worked with astronomers and designed his theory to explain the observed redshift of galaxies, have testable implications, the linear relation beween distances and velocities, and to be in accord with observations of the time.
Lemaître proposed his theory at an opportune time, since Edwin Hubble would soon publish his velocity-distance relation that strongly supported an expanding universe and, consequently, the Big Bang theory. In fact, Lemaître’s 1927 paper derived what became known as Hubble’s Law, two years before Hubble did so, and provided an estimate of the numerical value of the constant. However, the data used by Lemaitre do not allow him to prove that there was an actual linear relation, a result achieved by Hubble.
Because Lemaître spent his entire career in Europe, his contributions are not as well known in the United States (USA) as those of Hubble or Einstein, men well known in the USA by virtue of residing there.
Lemaître recognized expanding solutions within relativistic cosmologies. Lemaître is the first one to propose that the expansion is the explanation for the redshift of galaxies. He further concluded that an initial “creation-like” event must have occurred.
Einstein at first dismissed, privately, Lemaître out of hand, saying that not all mathematics leads to correct theories. After Hubble’s discovery was published, Einstein quickly and publicly endorsed Lemaître’s theory, helping both the theory and its proposer get fast recognition.
In 1933, Lemaître found an important inhomogeneous solution of Einstein’s field equations describing a spherical dust cloud, the Lemaitre-Tolman metric.
At the end of his life, he was devoted more and more to numerical calculation. He was in fact a remarkable algebraicist and arithmetical calculator. Since 1930, he used the most powerful calculating machines of the time like the Mercedes. In 1958, he introduced at the University a Burroughs E 101, the University’s first electronic computer. Lemaître kept a strong interest in the development of computers and, even more, in the problems of language and programming. This interest grew with age until it absorbed him almost completely.
In 1951 Pope Pius XII took the position that the scientific theory of the Big Bang confirmed the biblical creation story. This apparently caused great embarrassment, even to horror, for Lemaitre, who met with the Pope very soon after to caution the Holy Father on drawing parallels between a scientific theory and the book of Genesis. The Pope appointed LeMaitre to the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences. John XXIII made him its president.
Georges LeMaitre, after having received numerous scientific awards in the latter part of his career for his work, died on June 20, 1966, shortly after having learned of the discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation, which provided further evidence for his intuitions about the birth of the Universe.
“We can compare space-time to an open, conic cup…The bottom of the cup is the origin of atomic disintegration; it is the first instant at the bottom of space-time, the now which has no yesterday because, yesterday, there was no space.” -Msgr Georges LeMaitre, The Primeval Atom
A José de Acosta (1539–1600) – Jesuit missionary and naturalist who wrote one of the first detailed and realistic descriptions of the new world François d’Aguilon (1567–1617) – Belgian Jesuit mathematician, architect, and physicist, who worked on optics Lorenzo Albacete (1941–2014) – priest, physicist, and theologian Albert of Castile (c. 1460-1522) – Dominican priest and historian. Albert of Saxony (philosopher) (c. 1320–1390) – German bishop known for his contributions to logic and physics; with Buridan he helped develop the theory that was a precursor to the modern theory of inertia Albertus Magnus (c. 1206–1280) – Dominican friar and Bishop of Regensburg who has been described as “one of the most famous precursors of modern science in the High Middle Ages.”Patron saint of natural sciences; Works in physics, logic, metaphysics, biology, and psychology. Giulio Alenio (1582–1649) – Jesuit theologian, astronomer and mathematician; was sent to the Far East as a missionary and adopted a Chinese name and customs; wrote 25 books, including a cosmography and a Life of Jesus in Chinese. José María Algué (1856–1930) – priest and meteorologist who invented the barocyclonometer José Antonio de Alzate y Ramírez (1737–1799) – priest, scientist, historian, cartographer, and meteorologist who wrote more than thirty treatises on a variety of scientific subjects Francesco Castracane degli Antelminelli (1817–1899) – priest and botanist who was one of the first to introduce microphotography into the study of biology Giovanni Antonelli (1818–1872) – priest and astronomer who served as director of the Ximenian Observatory of Florence Luís Archer (1926-2011) – Portuguese molecular biologist and editor of the journal Brotéria from 1962 to 2002 Nicolò Arrighetti (1709–1767) – Jesuit who wrote treatises on light, heat, and electricity Mariano Artigas (1938–2006) – Spanish physicist, philosopher and theologian Giuseppe Asclepi (1706–1776) – Jesuit astronomer and physician who served as director of the Collegio Romano observatory; the lunar crater Asclepi is named after him B Roger Bacon (c. 1214–1294) – Franciscan friar who made significant contributions to mathematics and optics and has been described as a forerunner of modern scientific method Bernardino Baldi (1533–1617) – abbot, mathematician, and writer Eugenio Barsanti (1821–1864) – Piarist, possible inventor of the internal combustion engine Bartholomeus Amicus (1562–1649) – Jesuit, wrote on philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, and the concept of vacuum and its relationship with God Daniello Bartoli (1608–1685) – Bartoli and fellow Jesuit astronomer Niccolò Zucchi are credited as probably having been the first to see the equatorial belts on the planet Jupiter Joseph Bayma (1816–1892) – Jesuit known for work in stereochemistry and mathematics Giacopo Belgrado (1704–1789) – Jesuit professor of mathematics and physics and court mathematician who did experimental work in electricity Michel Benoist (1715–1774) – missionary to China and scientist Mario Bettinus (1582–1657) – Jesuit philosopher, mathematician and astronomer; lunar crater Bettinus named after him Giuseppe Biancani (1566–1624) – Jesuit astronomer, mathematician, and selenographer, after whom the crater Blancanus on the Moon is named Jacques de Billy (1602–1679) – Jesuit who has produced a number of results in number theory which have been named after him; published several astronomical tables; the crater Billy on the Moon is named after him Paolo Boccone (1633–1704) – Cistercian botanist who contributed to the fields of medicine and toxicology Bernard Bolzano (1781–1848) – priest, mathematician, and logician whose other interests included metaphysics, ideas, sensation, and truth Anselmus de Boodt (1550–1632) – Canon who was one of the founders of mineralogy Theodoric Borgognoni (1205–1298) – Dominican friar, Bishop of Cervia, and medieval Surgeon who made important contributions to antiseptic practice and anaesthetics Christopher Borrus (1583–1632) – Jesuit mathematician and astronomy who made observations on the magnetic variation of the compass Roger Joseph Boscovich (1711–1787) – Jesuit polymath known for his contributions to modern atomic theory and astronomy and for devising perhaps the first geometric procedure for determining the equator of a rotating planet from three observations of a surface feature and for computing the orbit of a planet from three observations of its position Joachim Bouvet (1656–1730) – Jesuit sinologist and cartographer who did his work in China Michał Boym (c. 1612–1659) – Jesuit who was one of the first westerners to travel within the Chinese mainland, and the author of numerous works on Asian fauna, flora and geography Thomas Bradwardine (c. 1290–1349) – Archbishop of Canterbury and mathematician who helped develop the mean speed theorem; one of the Oxford Calculators Martin Stanislaus Brennan (1845–1927) – priest and astronomer who wrote several books about science Henri Breuil (1877–1961) – priest, archaeologist, anthropologist, ethnologist and geologist Jan Brożek (1585–1652) – Polish canon, polymath, mathematician, astronomer, and physician; the most prominent Polish mathematician of the 17th century Louis-Ovide Brunet (1826–1876) – priest, one of the founding fathers of Canadian botany Ismaël Bullialdus (1605–1694) – priest, astronomer, and member of the Royal Society; the Bullialdus crater is named in his honor Jean Buridan (c. 1300 – after 1358) – priest who formulated early ideas of momentum and inertial motion and sowed the seeds of the Copernican revolution in Europe Roberto Busa (1913–2011) – Jesuit, wrote a lemmatization of the complete works of St. Thomas Aquinas (Index Thomisticus) which was later digitalized by IBM
Niccolò Cabeo (1586–1650) – Jesuit mathematician; the crater Cabeus is named in his honor
Nicholas Callan (1799–1846) – priest and Irish scientist best known for his work on the induction coil
John Cantius (1390–1473) – priest and Buridanist mathematical physicist who further developed the theory of impetus
Jean Baptiste Carnoy (1836–1899) – priest, has been called the founder of the science of cytology
Giovanni di Casali (died c. 1375) – Franciscan friar who provided a graphical analysis of the motion of accelerated bodies
Paolo Casati (1617–1707) – Jesuit mathematician who wrote on astronomy, meteorology, and vacuums; the crater Casatus on the Moon is named after him; published Terra machinis mota (1658), a dialogue between Galileo, Paul Guldin and father Marin Mersenne on cosmology, geography, astronomy and geodesy, giving a positive image of Galileo 25 years after his conviction.
Laurent Cassegrain (1629–1693) – priest who was the probable namesake of the Cassegrain telescope; the crater Cassegrain on the Moon is named after him
Louis Bertrand Castel (1688-1757) – French Jesuit physicist who worked on gravity and optics in a Cartesian context
Benedetto Castelli (1578–1643) – Benedictine mathematician; long-time friend and supporter of Galileo Galilei, who was his teacher; wrote an important work on fluids in motion
Bonaventura Cavalieri (1598–1647) – Jesuate (not to be confused with Jesuit) known for his work on the problems of optics and motion, work on the precursors of infinitesimal calculus, and the introduction of logarithms to Italy; his principle in geometry partially anticipated integral calculus; the lunar crater Cavalerius is named in his honor
Antonio José Cavanilles (1745–1804) – priest and leading Spanish taxonomic botanist of the 18th century
Francesco Cetti (1726–1778) – Jesuit zoologist and mathematician
Tommaso Ceva (1648–1737) – Jesuit mathematician, poet, and professor who wrote treatises on geometry, gravity, and arithmetic
Christopher Clavius (1538–1612) – German mathematician and astronomer, most noted in connection with the Gregorian calendar, his arithmetic books were used by many mathematicians including Leibniz and Descartes
Guy Consolmagno (1952–) – Jesuit astronomer and planetary scientist, serving as Director of the Vatican Observatory
Nicolaus Copernicus (1473–1543) – Renaissance astronomer and canon famous for his heliocentric cosmology that set in motion the Copernican Revolution
Vincenzo Coronelli (1650–1718) – Franciscan cosmographer, cartographer, encyclopedist, and globe-maker
Bonaventura Corti (1729-1813) – Italian biologist and physicist who made microscopic observations on Tremels, Rotifers and seaweeds
George Coyne (1933–) – Jesuit astronomer and former director of the Vatican Observatory whose research interests have been in polarimetric studies of various subjects, including Seyfert galaxies
James Cullen (mathematician) (1867–1933) – Jesuit mathematician who published what is now known as Cullen numbers in number theory
James Curley (astronomer) (1796–1889) – Jesuit, first director of Georgetown Observatory and determined the latitude and longitude of Washington, D.C.
Albert Curtz (1600–1671) – Jesuit astronomer who expanded on the works of Tycho Brahe and contributed to early understanding of the moon; the crater Curtius on the Moon is named after him
Johann Baptist Cysat (1587–1657) – Jesuit mathematician and astronomer, after whom the lunar crater Cysatus is named; published the first printed European book concerning Japan; one of the first to make use of the newly developed telescope; did important research on comets and the Orion nebula
Jean-Baptiste Chappe d’Auteroche (1722–1769) – priest and astronomer best known for his observations of the transits of Venus
Ignazio Danti (1536–1586) – Dominican mathematician, astronomer, cosmographer, and cartographer
Armand David (1826–1900) – Lazarist priest, zoologist, and botanist who did important work in these fields in China
Francesco Denza (1834–1894) – Barnabite meteorologist, astronomer, and director of Vatican Observatory
Václav Prokop Diviš (1698–1765) – Czech priest who studied electrical phenomenons and constructed, among other inventions, the first electrified musical instrument in history
Alberto Dou Mas de Xaxàs (1915–2009) – Spanish Jesuit priest who was president of the Royal Society of Mathematics, member of the Royal Academy of Natural, Physical, and Exact Sciences, and one of the foremost mathematicians of his country
Johann Dzierzon (1811–1906) – priest and pioneering apiarist who discovered the phenomenon of parthenogenesis among bees, and designed the first successful movable-frame beehive; has been described as the “father of modern apiculture”
Francesco Faà di Bruno (c. 1825–1888) – priest and mathematician beatified by Pope John Paul II
Honoré Fabri (1607–1688) – Jesuit mathematician and physicist
Jean-Charles de la Faille (1597–1652) – Jesuit mathematician who determined the center of gravity of the sector of a circle for the first time
Gabriele Falloppio (1523–1562) – Canon and one of the most important anatomists and physicians of the sixteenth century; the Fallopian tubes, which extend from the uterus to the ovaries, are named for him
Gyula Fényi (1845–1927) – Jesuit astronomer and director of the Haynald Observatory; noted for his observations of the sun; the crater Fényi on the Moon is named after him
Louis Feuillée (1660–1732) – Minim explorer, astronomer, geographer, and botanist
Kevin T. FitzGerald (1955-) – American molecular biologist and holds the Dr. David Lauler chair in Catholic Health Care Ethics at Georgetown University
Placidus Fixlmillner (1721–1791) – Benedictine priest and one of the first astronomers to compute the orbit of Uranus
Paolo Frisi (1728–1784) – priest, mathematician, and astronomer who did significant work in hydraulics
José Gabriel Funes (1963– ) – Jesuit astronomer and former director of the Vatican Observatory
Lorenzo Fazzini (1787–1837) – priest and physicist born in Vieste and worked in Naples, Italy
Joseph Galien (1699 – c. 1762) – Dominican professor who wrote on aeronautics, hailstorms, and airships
Jean Gallois (1632–1707) – French scholar, abbot, and member of Académie des Sciences
Pierre Gassendi (1592–1655) – French priest, astronomer, and mathematician who published the first data on the transit of Mercury; best known intellectual project attempted to reconcile Epicurean atomism with Christianity
Antoine Gaubil (1689-1759) – French astronomer who was the director general of the College of Interpreters at the court of China between 1741 and 1759 and centralized information provided by the Jesuit observatories throughout the world
Agostino Gemelli (1878–1959) – Franciscan physician and psychologist; founded Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan
Johannes von Gmunden (c. 1380–1442) – Canon, mathematician, and astronomer who compiled astronomical tables; Asteroid 15955 Johannesgmunden named in his honor
Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora (1645–1700) – priest, polymath, mathematician, astronomer, and cartographer; drew the first map of all of New Spain
Andrew Gordon (1712–1751) – Benedictine monk, physicist, and inventor who made the first electric motor
Christoph Grienberger (1561–1636) – Jesuit astronomer after whom the crater Gruemberger on the Moon is named; verified Galileo’s discovery of Jupiter’s moons.
Francesco Maria Grimaldi (1618–1663) – Jesuit who discovered the diffraction of light (indeed coined the term “diffraction”), investigated the free fall of objects, and built and used instruments to measure geological features on the moon
Robert Grosseteste (c. 1175 – 1253) – bishop who was one of the most knowledgeable men of the Middle Ages; has been called “the first man ever to write down a complete set of steps for performing a scientific experiment”
Paul Guldin (1577–1643) – Jesuit mathematician and astronomer who discovered the Guldinus theorem to determine the surface and the volume of a solid of revolution
Bartolomeu de Gusmão (1685–1724) – Jesuit known for his early work on lighter-than-air airship design
Johann Georg Hagen (1847–1930) – Jesuit director of the Georgetown and Vatican Observatories; the crater Hagen on the Moon is named after him
Frank Haig (1928-) – American physics professor
Nicholas Halma (1755–1828) – French abbot, mathematician, and translator
Jean-Baptiste du Hamel (1624–1706) – French priest, natural philosopher, and secretary of the Academie Royale des Sciences
René Just Haüy (1743–1822) – priest known as the father of crystallography
Maximilian Hell (1720–1792) – Jesuit astronomer and director of the Vienna Observatory who wrote astronomy tables and observed the Transit of Venus; the crater Hell on the Moon is named after him
Michał Heller (1936– ) – Polish priest, Templeton Prize winner, and prolific writer on numerous scientific topics
Lorenz Hengler (1806–1858) – priest often credited as the inventor of the horizontal pendulum
Hermann of Reichenau (1013–1054) – Benedictine historian, music theorist, astronomer, and mathematician
Pierre Marie Heude (1836–1902) – Jesuit missionary and zoologist who studied the natural history of Eastern Asia
Franz von Paula Hladnik (1773–1844) – priest and botanist who discovered several new kinds of plants, and certain genera have been named after him
Giovanni Battista Hodierna (1597–1660) – priest and astronomer who catalogued nebulous objects and developed an early microscope
Johann Baptiste Horvath (1732-1799) – Hungarian physicist who taught physics and philosophy at the University of Tyrnau, later of Buda, and wrote many Newtonian textbooks
Victor-Alphonse Huard (1853–1929) – priest, naturalist, educator, writer, and promoter of the natural sciences
Maximus von Imhof (1758–1817) – German Augustinian physicist and director of the Munich Academy of Sciences
Giovanni Inghirami (1779–1851) – Italian Piarist astronomer who has a valley on the moon named after him as well as a crater
François Jacquier (1711–1788) – Franciscan mathematician and physicist; at his death he was connected with nearly all the great scientific and literary societies of Europe
Stanley Jaki (1924–2009) – Benedictine priest and prolific writer who wrote on the relationship between science and theology
Ányos Jedlik (1800–1895) – Benedictine engineer, physicist, and inventor; considered by Hungarians and Slovaks to be the unsung father of the dynamo and electric motor
Georg Joseph Kamel (1661–1706) – Jesuit missionary and botanist who established the first pharmacy in the Philippines; the genus Camellia is named for him
Karl Kehrle (1898–1996) – Benedictine Monk of Buckfast Abbey, England; beekeeper; world authority on bee breeding, developer of the Buckfast bee
Eusebio Kino (1645–1711) – Jesuit missionary, mathematician, astronomer and cartographer; drew maps based on his explorations first showing that California was not an island, as then believed; published an astronomical treatise in Mexico City of his observations of the Kirsch comet
Otto Kippes (1905–1994) – priest acknowledged for his work in asteroid orbit calculations; the main belt asteroid 1780 Kippes was named in his honour
Athanasius Kircher (1602–1680) – Jesuit who has been called the father of Egyptology and “Master of a hundred arts”; wrote an encyclopedia of China; one of the first people to observe microbes through a microscope; in his Scrutinium Pestis of 1658 he noted the presence of “little worms” or “animalcules” in the blood, and concluded that the disease was caused by micro-organisms; this is antecedent to germ theory
Wenceslas Pantaleon Kirwitzer (1588–1626) – Jesuit astronomer and missionary to China who published observations of comets
Jan Krzysztof Kluk (1739–1796) – priest, naturalist agronomist, and entomologist who wrote a multi-volume work on Polish animal life
Marian Wolfgang Koller (1792–1866) – Benedictine professor who wrote on astronomy, physics, and meteorology
Franz Xaver Kugler (1862–1929) – Jesuit chemist, mathematician, and Assyriologist who is most noted for his studies of cuneiform tablets and Babylonian astronomy
Ramon Llull (ca. 1232 – ca. 1315) – Majorcan writer and philosopher, logician and a Franciscan tertiary considered a pioneer of computation theory
Nicolas Louis de Lacaille (1713–1762) – French deacon and astronomer noted for cataloguing stars, nebulous objects, and constellations
Eugene Lafont (1837–1908) – Jesuit physicist, astronomer, and founder of the first Scientific Society in India
Antoine de Laloubère (1600–1664) – Jesuit and first mathematician to study the properties of the helix
Bernard Lamy (1640–1715) – Oratorian philosopher and mathematician who wrote on the parallelogram of forces
Roberto Landell de Moura (1861–1928) – priest and inventor who was the first to accomplish the transmission of the human voice by a wireless machine
Pierre André Latreille (1762–1833) – priest and entomologist whose works describing insects assigned many of the insect taxa still in use today
Georges Lemaître (1894–1966) – Belgian priest and father of the Big Bang theory
Émile Licent (1876–1952) – French Jesuit trained as a natural historian; spent more than 25 years researching in Tianjin, China
Joseph Xaver Liesganig (1719-1799) – Austrian astronomer and geodesist who managed the Jesuit observatory in Vienna between 1756 and 1773
Thomas Linacre (c. 1460–1524) – English priest, humanist, translator, and physician
Francis Line (1595–1675) – Jesuit magnetic clock and sundial maker who disagreed with some of the findings of Newton and Boyle
Juan Caramuel y Lobkowitz (1606–1682) – Cistercian who wrote on a variety of scientific subjects, including probability theory
João de Loureiro (1717–1791) – Portuguese mathematician and botanist active in Cochinchina
Jean Mabillon (1632–1707) – Benedictine monk and scholar, considered the founder of palaeography and diplomatics
James B. Macelwane (1883–1956) – Jesuit seismologist who contributed a volume to the first textbook on seismology in America
John MacEnery (1797–1841) – archaeologist who investigated the Palaeolithic remains at Kents Cavern
Manuel Magri (1851–1907) – Jesuit ethnographer, archaeologist and writer; one of Malta’s pioneers in archaeology
Emmanuel Maignan (1601–1676) – Minim physicist and professor of medicine who published works on gnomonics and perspective
Pal Mako (1724-1793) – Hungarian mathematician and physicist who taught mathematics, experimental physics and mechanics at the Vienna Theresianum and had a part in the preparation of the Ratio educationis (1777), which reformed the imperial teaching system in the spirit of Enlightenment
Charles Malapert (1581–1630) – Jesuit writer, astronomer, and proponent of Aristotelian cosmology; also known for observations of sunpots, the lunar surface, and the southern sky; the crater Malapert on the Moon is named after him
Nicolas Malebranche (1638–1715) – Oratorian philosopher who studied physics, optics, and the laws of motion and disseminated the ideas of Descartes and Leibniz
Marcin of Urzędów (c. 1500–1573) – priest, physician, pharmacist, and botanist
Joseph Maréchal (1878–1944) – Jesuit philosopher and psychologist
Marie-Victorin (1885–1944) – Christian Brother and botanist best known as the father of the Jardin botanique de Montréal
Edme Mariotte (c. 1620–1684) – priest and physicist who recognized Boyle’s Law and wrote about the nature of color
Francesco Maurolico (1494–1575) – Benedictine who made contributions to the fields of geometry, optics, conics, mechanics, music, and astronomy, and gave the first known proof by mathematical induction
Christian Mayer (astronomer) (1719–1783) – Jesuit astronomer most noted for pioneering the study of binary stars
James Robert McConnell (1915–1999) – Irish theoretical physicist, pontifical academician, Monsignor
Michael C. McFarland (1948-) – American computer scientist and president of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts
Paul McNally (1890–1955) – Jesuit astronomer and director of Georgetown Observatory; the crater McNally on the Moon is named after him
Gregor Mendel (1822–1884) – Augustinian monk and father of genetics
Pietro Mengoli (1626–1686) – priest and mathematician who first posed the famous Basel Problem
Giuseppe Mercalli (1850–1914) – priest, volcanologist, and director of the Vesuvius Observatory who is best remembered today for his Mercalli scale for measuring earthquakes which is still in use
Marin Mersenne (1588–1648) – Minim philosopher, mathematician, and music theorist, so-called “father of acoustics”
Paul of Middelburg (1446–1534) – Bishop who wrote on the reform of the calendar
Maciej Miechowita (1457–1523) – Canon who wrote the first accurate geographical and ethnographical description of Eastern Europe, as well as two medical treatises
François-Napoléon-Marie Moigno (1804–1884) – Jesuit physicist and mathematician; was an expositor of science and translator rather than an original investigator
Juan Ignacio Molina (1740–1829) – Jesuit naturalist, historian, botanist, ornithologist and geographer
Louis Moréri (1643–1680) – 17th-century priest and encyclopaedist
Theodorus Moretus (1602–1667) – Jesuit mathematician and author of the first mathematical dissertations ever defended in Prague; the lunar crater Moretus is named after him
Gabriel Mouton (1618–1694) – abbot, mathematician, astronomer, and early proponent of the metric system
Jozef Murgaš (1864–1929) – priest who contributed to wireless telegraphy and helped develop mobile communications and wireless transmission of information and human voice
José Celestino Mutis (1732–1808) – Canon, botanist, and mathematician who led the Royal Botanical Expedition of the New World
Bienvenido Nebres (1940-) – Filipino mathematician, president of Ateneo de Manila University, and an honoree of the National Scientist of the Philippines award
Jean François Niceron (1613–1646) – Minim mathematician who studied geometrical optics
Nicholas of Cusa (1401–1464) – Cardinal, philosopher, jurist, mathematician, astronomer, and one of the great geniuses and polymaths of the 15th century
Julius Nieuwland (1878–1936) – Holy Cross priest, known for his contributions to acetylene research and its use as the basis for one type of synthetic rubber, which eventually led to the invention of neoprene by DuPont
Jean-Antoine Nollet (1700–1770) – abbot and physicist who discovered the phenomenon of osmosis in natural membranes
Hugo Obermaier (1877–1946) – priest, prehistorian, and anthropologist who is known for his work on the diffusion of mankind in Europe during the Ice Age, as well as his work with north Spanish cave art
William of Ockham (c. 1288 – c. 1348) – Franciscan Scholastic who wrote significant works on logic, physics, and theology; known for Occam’s razor-principle
Nicole Oresme (c. 1323–1382) – one of the most famous and influential philosophers of the later Middle Ages; economist, mathematician, physicist, astronomer, philosopher, theologian and Bishop of Lisieux, and competent translator; one of the most original thinkers of the 14th century
Barnaba Oriani (1752–1832) – Barnabite geodesist, astronomer and scientist whose greatest achievement was his detailed research of the planet Uranus; also known for Oriani’s theorem
Tadeusz Pacholczyk (1965–) – priest, neuroscientist and writer
Luca Pacioli (c. 1446–1517) – Franciscan friar who published several works on mathematics; often regarded as the “father of accounting”
Ignace-Gaston Pardies (1636–1673) – Jesuit physicist known for his correspondence with Newton and Descartes
Franciscus Patricius (1529–1597) – priest, cosmic theorist, philosopher, and Renaissance scholar
John Peckham (1230–1292) – Archbishop of Canterbury and early practitioner of experimental science
Nicolas Claude Fabri de Peiresc (1580–1637) – abbot and astromer who discovered the Orion Nebula; lunar crater Peirescius named in his honor
Stephen Joseph Perry (1833–1889) – Jesuit astronomer and Fellow of the Royal Society; made frequent observations of Jupiter’s satellites, of stellar occultations, of comets, of meteorites, of sun spots, and faculae
Giambattista Pianciani (1784–1862) – Jesuit mathematician and physicist who established the electric nature of aurora borealis
Giuseppe Piazzi (1746–1826) – Theatine mathematician and astronomer who discovered Ceres, today known as the largest member of the asteroid belt; also did important work cataloguing stars
Jean Picard (1620–1682) – priest and first person to measure the size of the Earth to a reasonable degree of accuracy; also developed what became the standard method for measuring the right ascension of a celestial object; the PICARD mission, an orbiting solar observatory, is named in his honor
Edward Pigot (1858–1929) – Jesuit seismologist and astronomer
Alexandre Guy Pingré (1711–1796) – French priest astronomer and naval geographer; the crater Pingré on the Moon is named after him, as is the asteroid 12719 Pingré
Andrew Pinsent (1966–) – priest whose current research includes the application of insights from autism and social cognition to ‘second-person’ accounts of moral perception and character formation; his previous scientific research contributed to the DELPHI experiment at CERN
Jean Baptiste François Pitra (1812–1889) – Benedictine cardinal, archaeologist and theologian who noteworthy for his great archaeological discoveries
Charles Plumier (1646–1704) – Minim friar who is considered one of the most important botanical explorers of his time
Marcin Odlanicki Poczobutt (1728–1810) – Jesuit astronomer and mathematician; granted the title of the King’s Astronomer; the crater Poczobutt on the Moon is named after him; taught astronomy at Vilna University (1764-1808), managed its observatory and was the rector of Vilna University between 1777 and 1808
Léon Abel Provancher (1820–1892) – priest and naturalist devoted to the study and description of the fauna and flora of Canada; his pioneer work won for him the appellation of the “father of natural history in Canada”
Claude Rabuel (1669–1729) – Jesuit mathematician who analyzed Descartes’s Géométrie
Louis Receveur (1757–1788) – Franciscan naturalist and astronomer; described as being as close as one could get to being an ecologist in the 18th century
Franz Reinzer (1661–1708) – Jesuit who wrote an in-depth meteorological, astrological, and political compendium covering topics such as comets, meteors, lightning, winds, fossils, metals, bodies of water, and subterranean treasures and secrets of the earth
Louis Rendu (1789–1859) – bishop who wrote an important book on the mechanisms of glacial motion; the Rendu Glacier, Alaska, US and Mount Rendu, Antarctica are named for him
Vincenzo Riccati (1707–1775) – Italian Jesuit mathematician and physicist
Matteo Ricci (1552–1610) – one of the founding fathers of the Jesuit China Mission and co-author of the first European-Chinese dictionary
Giovanni Battista Riccioli (1598–1671) – Jesuit astronomer who authored Almagestum novum, an influential encyclopedia of astronomy; the first person to measure the rate of acceleration of a freely falling body; created a selenograph with Father Grimaldi that now adorns the entrance at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.; first to note that Mizar was a “double star”
Richard of Wallingford (1292–1336) – abbot, renowned clockmaker, and one of the initiators of western trigonometry
Lluis Rodés (1881-1939) – Spanish astronomer and director of Observatorio del Ebro, wrote El Frmamento
Johannes Ruysch (c. 1460–1533) – priest, explorer, cartographer, and astronomer who created the second oldest known printed representation of the New World
Giovanni Girolamo Saccheri (1667–1733) – Jesuit mathematician and geometer who was perhaps the first European to write about Non-Euclidean geometry
Johannes de Sacrobosco (c. 1195 – c. 1256) – Irish monk and astronomer who wrote the authoritative medieval astronomy text Tractatus de Sphaera; his Algorismus was the first text to introduce Hindu-Arabic numerals and procedures into the European university curriculum; the lunar crater Sacrobosco is named after him
Gregoire de Saint-Vincent (1584–1667) – Jesuit mathematician who made important contributions to the study of the hyperbola
Alphonse Antonio de Sarasa (1618–1667) – Jesuit mathematician who contributed to the understanding of logarithms
Christoph Scheiner (c. 1573–1650) – Jesuit physicist, astronomer, and inventor of the pantograph; wrote on a wide range of scientific subjects, including sunspots, leading to a dispute with Galileo Galilei
Wilhelm Schmidt (linguist) (1868–1954) – Austrian priest, linguist, anthropologist, and ethnologist
George Schoener (1864–1941) – priest who became known in the United States as the “Padre of the Roses” for his experiments in rose breeding
Gaspar Schott (1608–1666) – Jesuit physicist, astronomer, and natural philosopher who is most widely known for his works on hydraulic and mechanical instruments
Franz Paula von Schrank (1747–1835) – priest, botanist, entomologist, and prolific writer
Berthold Schwarz (c. 14th century) – Franciscan friar and reputed inventor of gunpowder and firearms
Anton Maria Schyrleus of Rheita (1604–1660) – Capuchin astronomer and optician who built Kepler’s telescope
George Mary Searle (1839–1918) – Paulist astronomer and professor who discovered six galaxies
Angelo Secchi (1818–1878) – Jesuit pioneer in astronomical spectroscopy and one of the first scientists to state authoritatively that the sun is a star; discovered the existence of solar spicules and drew an early map of Mars
Alessandro Serpieri (1823–1885) – priest, astronomer, and seismologist who studied shooting stars, and was the first to introduce the concept of the seismic radiant
Gerolamo Sersale (1584–1654) – Jesuit astronomer and selenographer; his map of the moon can be seen in the Naval Observatory of San Fernando; the lunar crater Sirsalis is named after him
Benedict Sestini (1816–1890) – Jesuit astronomer, mathematician and architect; studied sunspots and eclipses; wrote textbooks on a variety of mathematical subjects
René François Walter de Sluse (1622–1685) – Canon and mathematician with a family of curves named after him
Domingo de Soto (1494–1560) – Spanish Dominican priest and professor at the University of Salamanca; in his commentaries to Aristotle he proposed that free falling bodies undergo constant acceleration
Lazzaro Spallanzani (1729–1799) – priest, biologist, and physiologist who made important contributions to the experimental study of bodily functions, animal reproduction, and essentially discovered echolocation; his research of biogenesis paved the way for the investigations of Louis Pasteur
Valentin Stansel (1621–1705) – Jesuit astronomer in Brazil, who discovered a comet, which, after accurate positions were made via F. de Gottignies in Goa, became known as the Estancel-Gottignies comet
Johan Stein (1871–1951) – Jesuit astronomer and director of the Vatican Observatory, which he modernized and relocated to Castel Gandolfo; the crater Stein on the far side of the Moon is named after him
Nicolas Steno (1638–1686) – Bishop beatified by Pope John Paul II who is often called the father of geology and stratigraphy, and is known for Steno’s principles
Joseph Stepling (1716-1778) – Bohemian astronomer, physicist and mathematician who managed the Jesuit observatory in Prague between 1751 and 1778
Pope Sylvester II (c. 946–1003) – Prolific scholar who endorsed and promoted Arabic knowledge of arithmetic, mathematics, and astronomy in Europe, reintroducing the abacus and armillary sphere which had been lost to Europe since the end of the Greco-Roman era
Alexius Sylvius Polonus (1593 – c. 1653) – Jesuit astronomer who studied sunspots and published a work on calendariography
Ignacije Szentmartony (1718–1793) – Jesuit cartographer and royal mathematician and astronomer, who became a member of the expedition that worked on the rearrangement of the frontiers among colonies in South America, especially Brazil
André Tacquet (1612–1660) – Jesuit mathematician whose work laid the groundwork for the eventual discovery of calculus
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881–1955) – Jesuit paleontologist and geologist who took part in the discovery of Peking Man
Francesco Lana de Terzi (c. 1631–1687) – Jesuit referred to as the Father of Aviation for his pioneering efforts; he also developed a blind writing alphabet prior to Braille.
Theodoric of Freiberg (c. 1250 – c. 1310) – Dominican theologian and physicist who gave the first correct geometrical analysis of the rainbow
Joseph Tiefenthaler (1710–1785) – Jesuit who was one of the earliest European geographers to write about India
Giuseppe Toaldo (1719–1797) – priest and physicist who studied atmospheric electricity and did important work with lightning rods; the asteroid 23685 Toaldo is named for him
José Torrubia (c. 1700–1768) – Franciscan linguist, scientist, collector of fossils and books, and writer on historical, political and religious subjects
Franz de Paula Triesnecker (1745–1817) – Jesuit astronomer and director of the Vienna Observatory; published a number of treatises on astronomy and geography; the crater Triesnecker on the Moon is named after him
Luca Valerio (1552–1618) – Jesuit mathematician who developed ways to find volumes and centers of gravity of solid bodies
Pierre Varignon (1654–1722) – priest and mathematician whose principle contributions were to statics and mechanics; created a mechanical explanation of gravitation
Jacques de Vaucanson (1709–1782) – French Minim friar inventor and artist who was responsible for the creation of impressive and innovative automata and machines such as the first completely automated loom
Giovanni Battista Venturi (1746–1822) – priest who discovered the Venturi effect
Fausto Veranzio (c. 1551–1617) – Bishop, polymath, inventor, and lexicographer
Ferdinand Verbiest (1623–1688) – Jesuit astronomer and mathematician; designed what some claim to be the first ever self-propelled vehicle, which many claim this as the world’s first automobile
Francesco de Vico (1805–1848) – Jesuit astronomer who discovered or co-discovered a number of comets; also made observations of Saturn and the gaps in its rings; the lunar crater De Vico and the asteroid 20103 de Vico are named after him
Vincent of Beauvais (c.1190–c.1264) – Dominican who wrote the most influential encyclopedia of the Middle Ages
Benito Vines (1837–1893) – Jesuit meteorologist known as “Father Hurricane” who made the first weather model to predict the trajectory of a hurricane[dead link]
János Vitéz (archbishop) (c.1405–1472) – Cardinal Archbishop of Esztergom, astronomer, and mathematician
Giovanni Serafino Volta (1764-1842) – Priest and paleontologist who wrote the first treatise on fossil ichthyology in Italy
Martin Waldseemüller (c. 1470–1520) – German priest and cartographer who, along with Matthias Ringmann, is credited with the first recorded usage of the word America
Erich Wasmann (1859–1931) – Austrian entomologist known for Wasmannian mimicry
Godefroy Wendelin (1580–1667) – priest and astronomer who recognized that Kepler’s third law applied to the satellites of Jupiter; the lunar crater Vendelinus is named in his honor
Johannes Werner (1468–1522) – priest, mathematician, astronomer, and geographer
Witelo (c. 1230 – after 1280, before 1314) – Friar, physicist, natural philosopher, and mathematician; lunar crater Vitello named in his honor; his Perspectiva powerfully influenced later scientists, in particular Johannes Kepler
Julian Tenison Woods (1832–1889) – Passionist geologist and mineralogist
Theodor Wulf (1868–1946) – Jesuit physicist who was one of the first experimenters to detect excess atmospheric radiation
Franz Xaver von Wulfen (1728–1805) – Jesuit botanist, mineralogist, and alpinist
Leonardo Ximenes (1711-1786) – Italian physicist and astronomer, specialist of hydraulics, creator and director of the Observatory San Giovanino in Florence
John Zahm (1851–1921) – Holy Cross priest and South American explorer
Giuseppe Zamboni (1776–1846) – priest and physicist who invented the Zamboni pile, an early electric battery similar to the Voltaic pile
Francesco Zantedeschi (1797–1873) – priest who was among the first to recognize the marked absorption by the atmosphere of red, yellow, and green light; published papers on the production of electric currents in closed circuits by the approach and withdrawal of a magnet, thereby anticipating Michael Faraday’s classical experiments of 1831
Niccolò Zucchi (1586–1670) – claimed to have tried to build a reflecting telescope in 1616 but abandoned the idea (maybe due to the poor quality of the mirror); may have been the first to see the belts on the planet Jupiter (1630)
Giovanni Battista Zupi (c. 1590–1650) – Jesuit astronomer, mathematician, and first person to discover that the planet Mercury had orbital phases; the crater Zupus on the Moon is named after him
Summa Catechetica, "Neque enim quaero intelligere ut credam, sed credo ut intelligam." – St Anselm, "Let your religion be less of a theory, and more of a love affair." -G.K. Chesterton, "I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men and women who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, and who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it."- Bl John Henry Newman, Cong. Orat., "Encounter, not confrontation; attraction, not promotion; dialogue, not debate." -cf Pope Francis, “You will not see anyone who is really striving after his advancement who is not given to spiritual reading. And as to him who neglects it, the fact will soon be observed by his progress.” -St Athanasius, "To convert someone, go and take them by the hand and guide them." -St Thomas Aquinas, OP. 1 saint ruins ALL the cynicism in Hell & on Earth. “When we pray we talk to God; when we read God talks to us…All spiritual growth comes from reading and reflection.” -St Isidore of Seville, “Also in some meditations today I earnestly asked our Lord to watch over my compositions that they might do me no harm through the enmity or imprudence of any man or my own; that He would have them as His own and employ or not employ them as He should see fit. And this I believe is heard.” -GM Hopkins, SJ, "Only God knows the good that can come about by reading one good Catholic book." — St. John Bosco, "Why don't you try explaining it to them?" – cf St Peter Canisius, SJ, Doctor of the Church, Doctor of the Catechism, "Already I was coming to appreciate that often apologetics consists of offering theological eye glasses of varying prescriptions to an inquirer. Only one prescription will give him clear sight; all the others will give him at best indistinct sight. What you want him to see—some particular truth of the Faith—will remain fuzzy to him until you come across theological eye glasses that precisely compensate for his particular defect of vision." -Karl Keating, "The more perfectly we know God, the more perfectly we love Him." -St Thomas Aquinas, OP, ST, I-II,67,6 ad 3, “But always when I was without a book, my soul would at once become disturbed, and my thoughts wandered." —St. Teresa of Avila