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Hall of Fame: The Great Catholics Mural

St. Benedict's Hall foyer, Benedictine College.

St. Benedict’s Hall foyer, Benedictine College

Welcome to the Catholic Hall of Fame. To celebrate Catholic identity in public life, we will present you with Catholic innovators who were the highest achievers in their fields, according to the top Catholic thinkers of our time.

First Entry: U.S. Intellectuals

Second Entry: U.S. Bishops

The inspiration for the hall of fame is the mural at St. Benedict’s Hall foyer. When students walk into our major academic building, they pass through a “Catholic Hall of Fame” with the greatest Catholics of all time in various disciplines painted on the walls.

For the record, this mural, pictured above, was painted in 1939 by Brother Bernard Wagner, a monk of the Abbey on campus. It features the following:

  • Abbot Alcuin (735-840), is an English Benedictine called “The most learned man anywhere to be found.”
  • St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) is the great philosopher and doctor of the Church. He was taught as a child by Benedictines.
  • Ludwig von Beethoven (1770-1827), the great German composer, was a student of Joseph Haydn. Both will be included as composers in the Catholic Hall of Fame.
  • Dante Alighieri (1265–1321) is called simply “the Poet” in Italy.
  • Gregory the Great (540-604), Pope St. Gregory I, is a Doctor of the Church and one of the Latin Fathers. This website launched on his feast day.
  • Pope Leo XIII (1810-1903) was Pope from 1878-1903. His Rerum Novarum is the original Catholic social encyclical. He assisted John Henry Newman and Therese of Lisieux.
  • Brother Jean Mabillon (1632-1707) was a French Benedictine monk and scholar ands the “greatest historical scholar of his century.” A Paris Métro station is named for him.
  • Brother Gregor Mendel (1822-1884) was an Augustinian friar whose genetic experiments had an impact on science and agriculture that are felt to our day.
  • Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simon (1475-1564) the great scuptor and painter.
  • St. Raymond of Penyafort, O.P. (1175-1275) created the first canon law, was a great apologist against the claims of Islam, and got Aquinas to write the Summa Contra Gentiles.
  • Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) “Full of respect for the form of religion which had been that of his forefathers, he came simply to it and naturally for spiritual help in these last weeks of his life.”

Tom Hoopes

Tom Hoopes

Tom Hoopes, author of The Rosary of Saint John Paul II and The Fatima Family Handbook, is writer in residence at Benedictine College in Kansas and hosts The Extraordinary Story podcast about the life of Christ. His book What Pope Francis Really Said is now available on Audible. A former reporter in the Washington, D.C., area, Hoopes served as press secretary of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee Chairman and spent 10 years as executive editor of the National Catholic Register newspaper and Faith & Family magazine. His work frequently appears in Catholic publications such as Aleteia.org and the Register. He and his wife, April, have nine children and live in Atchison, Kansas.