I tend to mark September 11 by adding some important item to the site. Today, it’s American Catholic History: an orientation page to what I expect will be a growing site on the Catholic contribution to our American history, and in particular to the development of the frontier, which is my main theme these days. Right now, the linchpin of the site is not John Gilmary Shea’s History or one of the (few) public-domain works by Ellis or some similar general item, but a rather odd one, a 600‑page book by Camillus Maes: the Life of Charles Nerinckx, a Belgian pioneer priest of Kentucky. Some journal articles round out the site: some of them related to Fr. Nerinckx, but among the others, Flemish Franciscan Missionaries in North America; Father Sebastian Rale, S. J. (1657‑1724) who evangelized the Abnaki Indians in Maine; The Significance of the Frontier to the Historian of the Catholic Church in the United States, a vigorous rebuttal to an exaggerated application of Frederick Jackson Turner’s theory of the frontier; and The Mission as a Frontier Institution in the Spanish-American Colonies by Herbert Bolton, solid as that author always is.
American Catholic history