Father Michael J. McGivney (August 12, 1852 - August 14, 1890)
At the age of sixteen Michael McGivney entered Séminaire de Saint-Hyacinthe in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada, in 1868. He continued his studies at Our Lady of Angels Seminary in Niagara Falls, NY (1871-1872) and at the Jesuit's St. Mary's College in Montreal, but had to leave the seminary and return home to help finish raising his siblings, due to the death of his father in June of 1873. He later resumed his studies at St.Mary's Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland and was ordained a priest on December 22, 1877, by
Archbishop James Gibbons at the Baltimore Cathedral of the Assumption.
From his own experience as a member of the immigrant community, he saw first hand the devastating effect on families of the untimely death of the father and wage earner. On March 29, 1882, while an assistant pastor at Saint Mary's Church in New Haven, Connecticut, McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus with a small group of parishioners, to help strengthen the faith of the men of his parish and to provide financial assistance in the event of their death to the widows and orphans they left behind. He was also known for his tireless work among his parishioners.
Father McGivney died from pneumonia on the eve of the Assumption in 1890, when he was only thirty-eight years old. The order now has over 1.8 million member families and fifteen thousand councils. During the 2008-2009 fraternal year, $150 million and 70 million man-hours were donated to charity by the order.
In March of 2008, Pope Benedict XVI declared Father McGivney "Venerable".
The Father Michael J. McGivney Guild serves as a source for information about the life, works and spirituality of Father McGivney. The Guild distributes informational materials about him, receives reports of favors granted through his intercession and oversees the distribution of relics. Guild members receive regular updates on the progress of Father McGivney's cause for canonization and are invited to participate in promoting devotion to this Servant of God.