Catholic Vitamin Z: Zealousness


Our Irish ‘correspondent’ Fergal O’Neill pointed out in the reflection for today’s podcast that there can be a couple different interpretations or takes on the word barnburner. For example, a radical, zealot, or extremist as was St. Paul before he became a Christian. Historically, a zealot was a member of the radical faction of the Democratic party in New York State (1840-50) so eager for political reform that he would through excess of zeal destroy what he wished to preserve. The term, which dates from 1841, comes from the older phrase, burn a barn to kill the rats, in use since 1807.

But then, there’s a good turn on the word Zealousness. Our guest is author, writer and commentator TOM CRAUGHWELL. 

Because we concentrate on things-Catholic, we’ll be talking with Tom about his Catholic books. But he is a fascinating writer who tromps in many graveyards (I think that’s an old and applicable form of expression. At least among us zealous for creative ways of expressing things. 🙂

Thomas J. Craughwell, author of Stealing Lincoln’s Body (Harvard University Press, 2007), has written more than a dozen books on history, religion, and popular culture. His articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, U.S. News and World Report, The American Spectator, Emmy magazine, and Inside the Vatican. And he has been a guest on CNN, the BBC, The Discovery Channel, and the international Catholic cable network, EWTN. He writes out of his home in Bethel, Connecticut.

In our time together, Tom introduced us to his writings on the saints. One title that sounds like a wonderful read is SAINTS BEHAVING BADLY. Tom has also penned books on patron saints. For eample:

There’s a patron saint for anesthesiologists. There are two reasons why St. René Goupil is the patron of anesthesiologists: first, because he had been a student of medicine in France, and second, in tribute to the terrible sufferings he endured.

And did you know there’s a patron saint for altar servers? He’s St. John Berchmans, and his memorial day in the Church is August 13th.

“Whoever wonders wants to see, / Let him invoke St. Anthony.” Yes, that’s a wretched bit of doggerel, but it is accurate. For nearly 800 years St. Anthony of Padua has enjoyed the reputation as the ‘go-to’ saint for lost items.

There’s a patron saint for dog lovers, druggists – In fact there are so many more. And you’ll enjoy all their stories as you read Tom Craughwell’s books.

You can find Tom’s website at   and if you’d like to email him and get him to come to do a talk at your parish or chancery, you can use this address:


You may have heard that Catholic Vitamins is one of the newest podcasts to join SQPN as an affiliate broadcast team member. We encourage your support for the 2012 annual giving campaign for the worldwide support of SQPN, the Star Quest Production Network.

We featured singing and a reflection on Advent Silence from Marianna Bartholomew, a Chicago area writer, blogger and poet. You can find her work at

Donna Cori Gibson is a lovely and talented musician and singer. She gave us her Christmas album A TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS, along with permission to play her music. You can find her growing body of work at

We were delighted to have another phone call from Cheryl Dickow of Bezalel Books. They have many wonderful books that would make dandy Christmas gifts. Go to   Thank you Cheryl 🙂

We also thank our regulars Justin Stroh, Fergal O’Neill and Theresa Doyle Nelson (who will rejoin us next week). Blessings team!





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