Father Michael J. McGivney was born on August 12, 1852 in Waterbury, Connecticut to two Irish immigrants. In 1868, he entered Seminaire de Saint-Hyacinthe in Quebec, Canada. He went on to attend Niagara University in 1871 and St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore in 1873. McGivney left St. Mary’s prematurely when his father died so he could care for his younger siblings. McGivney was ordained as a priest on December 22, 1877 by Archbishop James Gibbons at the Baltimore Cathedral. McGivney went on to become a pastor at St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Connecticut.
While at St. Mary’s, McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus with a group of parishioners. On August 14, 1890, just two days after his 38th birthday, McGivney died of pneumonia, unable to live long enough to see the organization that he founded truly flourish.
In 1996, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford began the process of canonizing Fr. McGivney to officially make him a saint. On March 15, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI approved a decree recognizing his heroic virtue and giving him the official Catholic title of “Venerable Servant of God”. The Pope’s actions have greatly advanced the process of Fr. McGivney becoming a saint.