Venerable Servant of God, Father Michael J. McGivney

Venerable Father Michael Joseph McGivney is the founder of the Knights of Columbus. Born to Irish-American immigrant parents, he was the eldest of 13 children, six of whom died in infancy or childhood.  Michael attended a local district school but left at 13 to work and help provide for his family. 

McGivney knew well the tenuous realities of life in the immigrant community. He worked in a spoon factory as a youth before entering the seminary.  While studying for the priesthood, his father died suddenly, and Michael was only able to continue his seminary studies thanks to the financial support of the bishop of Hartford. 

At a time when Catholics, and in particular, Catholic immigrants, lived on the margins of society, Father McGivney saw the opportunity to bring the men of his parish together to strengthen their faith, to reach out in charity to those in need, and to protect the future of their families.  The tragedies he witnessed in his own life and his experiences as a priest had a deep effect on him and led him to establish the Knights of Columbus on March 29, 1882.  Tragically, McGivney died from pneumonia on the eve of the Assumption in 1890, when he was 38.

The cause for his canonization started in the Archdiocese of Hartford in 1996.  In March 2008, Pope Benedict XVI declared McGivney "Venerable" in recognition of his "heroic virtue".

Father McGivney and the Knights
A Parish Priest ahead of his time who defended those on the margins.
A Man of the People
The needs of immigrants and families suffering from the untimely death of the breadwinner led Father Michael J. McGivney to respond by founding the Knights of Columbus, a fraternal benefit society that has grown into a worldwide financial and charitable organization.
To learn more about the history of the Knights of Columbus and the life of Father McGivney, click here .