Church History Timeline Project

Saints and Doctors of the Church

Birth of St. Brigid

Approx. 450

St. Brigid of Kildare was born in approximately 450 AD, and is now one of the most popular Saints in the catholic Church. Born in Ireland, Brigid is believedto have been born to a cheiftan and one of his slaves, therefore making her a slave. Throughout her life Brigid gave food to the poor and through miracles it was often replenished.

Death of St. Brigid


St. Brigid of Kildare, one of the saints of Ireland, died in 525 of natural causes. Because she lived before the canonization process was made, Brigid was not officially beautified and canonized, but due to the miracles associated with her and the monastaries she instituted, she was named a saint.

Birth of St. Hildegard von Bingen


St. Hildegard von Bingen is one of the 36 doctors of the church and was born in 1098 in Bockelheim, Germany. She grew up with the woman Jutta and received visions from a young age.

Death of St. Hildegard von Bingen

September 17, 1179

When she was 18, St. Hildegard von Bingen became a Benedictine nun and began to write down the visions she had received throughout her life. She wrote these experiences in multiple works, of which the best known is Scivias. Due to these writings and what they contributed to the Church, Pope Benedict XVI canonized her and named her a doctor of the church in 2012. Her writings are still popular today and she is considered one of the first great german mystics.

Birth of St. Thomas Aquinas


St. Thomas Aquinas is one of the 36 doctors of the church, and perhaps one of the most important and famous of those 36. Born in Italy, in 1225, Thomas was the youngest son of a well-off family. While being educated at Monte Cassino, Thomas met John of St. Julian, a Dominican preacher, and Thomas decided to join the Dominican order. However, his family didn't want him to join and locked him up for a year. Following his escape from his family, Thomas went to Cologne and entered the university.

Death of St. Thomas Aquinas

March 7, 1274

Once Thomas completed his education, he held various teaching posts and in this time he wrote the books that made him famous and a doctor of the church. Two of his most famous works are Summa Theologiae and Summa contra Gentiles. St. Thomas Aquinas died on March 7, 1274.

Birth of St. John Neumann

March 28, 1811

St. John Neumann was born in Bohemia on March 28, 1811, and wanted to become a priest. He was looking forward to being ordained in 1835, but the bishop decided that there were too many priests and no more priests would be ordained. Neumann was not discouraged and, with english learned in a factory from other workers, sent letters to other areas asking to be ordained. finally, the bishop in New York agreed to ordain him.

Birth of St. Katharine Drexel

November 26, 1858

Katharine Drexel was born on November 26, 1858 in Philidelphia to a wealthy banker named Francis Anthony Drexel and his wife, Hannah Langstroth. Katharine's parents set a good example of the catholic faith for their children and when Katharine grew up, she kept these values.

Death of St. John Neumann

January 5, 1860

The newly ordained John Neumann had a church in Western New York without steeple or wood floor, but that didn't matter much because Neumann was often traveling from village to village to visit the sick and injured. He was well known for being caring and kind and learned 7 languages to better understand others. He died on January 5, 1860

Birth of St. Therese of Lisieux

January 2, 1873

St. Therese of Lisieux was born on January 2, 1873, in France and was the pampered daughter of religious parents. When she was young, she grew very ill and people thought she would die. One day, however, she prayed to a statue of Mary, Mary smiled at her, and Therese was cured. This prayerful attitude was very different from Therese's typical behavior, which was to cry whenever someone was the least bit mean, or criticized her. Over time, though, with prayer, this attitude left Therese. When Therese was 14, she wanted to enter the Carmelite convent that two of her sisters had before her, but she was told she was too young. Therese was still determined, so she went to the bishop. Denied by the bishop, she went to the Pope in Rome, and the Vicar General, impressed by her courage, let her enter the convent.

Death of St. Therese of Lisieux

September 30, 1897

Soon after entering the convent, Therese's father suffered multiple strokes and he was affected mentally and physically. Due to hallucinations, he was taken to an insane asylum, but due to Therese's station as a member of the Carmelite Convent, she could not even visit him. However, Therese lived her life at the convent with humility and love. She took every chance possible to sacrifice. Soon after their father's death, Therese's last sister, Celine, entered the convent, so all four sisters were together again. In 1896, Therese coughed up blood but hid it until it was apparent to everyone. Through her illness though, Therese tried to and succeeded in staying cheerful until her death on September 30, 1897, at the age of 24. Therese was canonized in 1925. Although she was known only to a few at the time of her death, Therese and her "little way" grew in notoriety so that now, she is one of the most well known and popular saints.

Birth of St. Gianna Beretta Molla

October 4, 1922

St Gianna Beretta Molla was born on October 4, 1922, in Magenta, in the Kingdom of Italy. She was the tenth child of 13 born to her parents Albert and Maria Beretta. She accepted her faith from an early age and was diligent both in her faith and in her studies at the University of Milan and the University of Pavia when she was earning her degrees in medicine. She opened a medical office in the town of Mesero in 1950, and she felt that medicine was her mission, so she treated it as such. She channeled her love for God every day in her work to help others. Because she couldn't be a missionary with her brother to Brazil due to health issues, Gianna wanted to form "a true Christian family". This family began when she met Pietro Molla in late 1954.

Death of St. Katharine Drexel

March 3, 1955

After watching her stepmother die after 3 years of cancer and seeing the problems that native and black Americans, Katharine wanted to help and her life took a turn even more towards God. After her father's death, his wealth was divided among multiple charities, Katharine, and her two sisters. They wanted to help the native Americans and after a meeting with Pope Leo XIII asking for missionaries, Katharine herself became a missionary. Katharine made her first vows as a religious on February 12, 1891, and created a religious congregation called the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored. Katharine worked with this group until her death on March 3, 1955.

Death of St. Gianna Beretta Molla

April 28, 1962

Pietro Molla was an engineer in Mesero and in April of 1955, mere months after meeting, Gianna and Pietro were engaged. They were married in September of 1955 and welcomed their first child, Pierluigi, in November 1956. Maria Zita was born in December 1957 and Laura in 1959. Gianna treasured this love and handled motherhood with grace. Soon after the beginning of her fourth pregnancy, Gianna began to experience pain. It was found that she had a fibroma in her uterus and something had to be done. Despite there being multiple options that would definitely save her, Gianna chose the surgery that would save the life of her baby, despite the fact that they would put Gianna in danger. She did this because the other options killed the baby. Gianna Emanuela Molla was born on April 21, 1962, and her mother died 9 days later.

St. Gianna Beretta Molla Beatification

April 24 1994

St. Gianna Beretta Molla was beatified on April 24, 1994, by Pope John Paul II. She was beatified and later canonized because of her love for God and others. She gave her life up rather than risk the life of her child or kill that child to save herself. Gianna and her lifestyle is a good model for people in the present. She promoted the importance of family whereas, in modern times, family is losing importance. She lived with God in her life every day and cared everyone around her. She cared about the lives of the unborn, elderly and disabled, whereas those people's lives are becoming increasingly ignored and disregarded

St. Gianna Beretta Molla Canonization

May 16 2004

St Gianna Beretta Molla was canonized on May 16, 2004, and her husband and children were present at her canonization. She is the patroness of the unborn, mothers, and physicians. Her feast day is April 28.


Council of Nicea


The Council of Nicea was the first ecumenical council, and it took place in Nicea in 325. It was called by Emperor Constantine I to discuss the issue proposed by Arius of Alexandria. Arius said that Christ was a created being, not divine. Despite it being a council to discuss a major church issue, Pope Sylvester I was not present but was represented by others. The result of the council was that Arius was condemned and exiled, and a part was added to the Nicene creed that stated that God the father and God the Son were equal. It also addressed other issues such as the proper way to consecrate bishops.

Council of Constantinople


The Council of Constantinople was called in 381 by Emperor Theodosius I to confirm what had been discussed and decided at the Council of Nicea. The Nicene Creed was further developed during this council and the relationship of the Trinity was clarified. Arianism was further discussed at this council, and the "death blow" to it was delivered. Technically this was not an ecumenical council because it only the eastern bishops were present, but it has steadily become considered by many to be ecumenical due to the things that were discussed and decided there.

Council of Ephesus


The Council of Ephesus was called in 431 by Pope Celestine to condemn the heresy proposed by Nestorius. Nestorius said that Jesus was born, suffered and died, but that God did not. He said that man and god were two separate persons in Christ and not joined. He also said that because Jesus was not actually God, it would be incorrect to say that God was born of the virgin Mary and therefore it would also be ridiculous to say that Mary was a virgin. Originally Cyril was the person who combated Nestorius's heresy before the Council was called, but his writings to and about Nestorius were unable to stop the heresy and eventually it had to drawn to the attention of the pope.

Council of Chalcedon


The Council of Chalcedon was the fourth ecumenical council and was the largest and best documented of the early councils. It was convoked by Emperor Marcian and its purpose was to strengthen ideas and writings from earlier Councils, such as the Nicene Creed and the Tome of Pope Leo I. Overall, it strengthened the Church.

Council of Trent

1545 - 1563

The Council of Trent was the 19th ecumenical council of the Catholic Church was a group of three periods/meetings that were prompted by the Protestant Reformation. It was convoked by Pope Paul III and Period I began in late 1545 and ended in 1547. It began after the excommunication of Protestant Reformation leader, Martin Luther. Period I did things such as fix the number of sacraments at 7, accept tradition as a source of faith, and define and explain original sin and its consequences. Period II began in 1551 and ended in 1552. Things such as the sacrament of penance and the sacrament of the anointing of the sick were discussed and explained. Throughout this Period, the German Protestants wanted them to reconsider what had been decided and discussed during Period I. Period III began in 1562 and ended in 1563. It discussed the question of why bishops were obligated to stay in their sees. It also said that Christ was present in the consecrated bread and wine.

First Vatican Council

1869 - 1870

The First Vatican Council lasted from 1869 to 1870 and was convoked by Pope Pius IX. It was called to deal with new problems, namely the rising influence of rationalism, liberalism, and materialism. Participants of the council discussed the authority of the Pope as well as faith and reason and how they are related. The two documents that resulted from this council are Dei Filius and Pastor Aeternus.

Second Vatican Council

1962 - 1965

The Second Vatican Council was the 21st ecumenical council and was convoked in 1962 by Pope John XXI. It discussed things such as the role of Scripture and Tradition as well as the changes humanity is experiencing and what the Church does and needs in this new and changing culture.


Jesus' Death and Resurrection

Approx. 33 AD

Jesus' Death and Resurrection were the most important events of Earth's history. With his death and resurrection, Jesus saved everyone from sin and brought new life to humanity. These two events happened in the space of a few days, but they confirm Jesus's identity by fulfilling what had been prophesized in the Old Testament.


Approx. 33 AD

Pentecost is the "birthday" of the Catholic Church, when Jesus sent the apostles out into the world without him to spread belief in and love of God. It was also the first Confirmation for the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles the way it does during Confirmation. Pentecost occurred in approximately 33 AD.

Edict of Milan


The Edict of Milan was the proclamation in the Roman Empire that allowed Romans to worship whichever deity they wished to. It was issued after the meeting between Constantine, who ruled the West, and Licinius, who ruled the East. It promised religious tolerance and all rights to Christians, who had been previously persecuted by Romans. Unlike previous edicts that had attempted to attain religious tolerance, the Edict of Milan was not short lived, but actually gained religious tolerance.

Great Schism


The Great Schism is also called the East-West Schism and it was the separation of the eastern church and the western Church. At the time, the eastern church was led by Michael Cerularius, who was the patriarch of Constantinople, and the western church was led by Pope Leo IX. Differences between the two churches caused growing tensions between the two, and the Schism occured in 1054, when Patriarch Michael I and Pope Leo IX excommunicated each other.

Protestant Reformation

1517 - 1648

The Protestant Reformation was when the Catholic Church which, up until that point, was the only church, split. The Reformation began with Martin Luther's posting of his 95 Theses, which talked about what was wrong with the church. The main ideas of the Reformation were to purify the church and the belief that Scripture should be the only source of Spiritual authority. Although Luther was excommunicated, his ideas caught on, and by the end of the Reformation, Lutheranism and Protestantism were born.

Papacy of Saint Pope John Paul II

October 16,1978 - April 2,2005

Saint Pope John Paul II was born Karol Józef Wojtyła in the Second Polish Republic on May 18, 1920. He was elected Pope on October 16, 1978, and died on April 2, 2005. He was the first non-Italian pope in over 400 years. He was an advocate for human rights and was declared a saint on April 27, 2014.

Papacy of Pope Francis

March 13, 2013 - Present

Pope Francis is the current Pope of the Catholic Church and began his papacy on March 13, 2013. Born on December 17, 1936, Pope Francis was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina with the name Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Pope Francis is the first pope from the Americas.