Illuminating the complexity of the human condition as well as the phenomenon in which we are all limited by (and products of) our times, is St. Bernard of Clairvaux. Bernard is well known as a Saint of the Catholic Church, a primary founder of the reforming Cistercian Order, and now even a Doctor of the Church, Bernard is a more complicated person.
On this day, March 31, 2015, Bernard of Clairvaux gave what is now known as his famous sermon in a field at Vézelay, urging the necessity of a Second Crusade. As a result of the sermon, Louis VII of France endorsed the Second Crusade and thus other monarchs supported the crusade as well. In addition to encouraging religious warfare, the crusades led to the sacking of Lisbon by English knights as well as countless battles in the Holy Land.
In his Book of Consideration, Bernard explains how the sins of the crusaders were the cause of their misfortune and failures.
On this day, March 25, 1916, the man known as Ishi died.
He was the last member of the Yahi, a group of the Yana of the U.S. state of California. Known as the "last wild Indian," Ishi lived most of his life completely outside modern culture.
At 50 years of age, in 1911, he emerged out of the undeveloped area of Butte County, California. He spent the last five years of his life as a research subject at the University of California, San Francisco.
On this day, March 21, 1937, 21 Puerto Ricans were killed and more than 235 were wounded in what became known as the Ponce Massacre.
The protesters were shot by Puerto Rican police. An investigation led by the United States Commission on Civil Rights put the blame for the massacre squarely on the U.S.-appointed Governor of Puerto Rico, Blanton Winship.
On this day, March 15, 2011, the Syrian Civil War began.
On this day, March 14, 1943, the final liquidation of the Krakow Ghetto was was carried out under the command of SS-Untersturmführer Amon Göth.
On this day, March 13, 2000, Blessed Pope John Paul II defied warnings from some theologians that the unprecedented apology would undermine the church's authority and asked God to forgive the persecution of the Jews: "We are deeply saddened by the behavior of those who in the course of history have caused these children of yours to suffer, and asking your forgiveness we wish to commit ourselves to genuine brotherhood."
On this day, March 12, 1895, Otakar Batlička was born in what is now the Czech Republic. During WWII, he member of the Czech-based Nazi resistance group Obrana Národa and was subsequently arrested. He was executed at the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp on February 13, 1942.
Thomas E. Keefe
Assistant Professor of Humanities,