The Legacy of St. Luke

In 1912, His Eminence William Henry O'Connell, Archbishop of Boston, evoked the spirit of St. Luke and founded the first Catholic Physicians Guild. Within a year the idea spread as many physicians desired to combine their spiritual and professional lives. Local guilds met for Mass, spiritual retreats, and bioethical seminars. The highlight, however, was the celebration of the White Mass on October 18th, the Feast of St. Luke, Patron Saint of Physicians. So named for the white coat typical of the physician, White Masses were held throughout the United States, uniting a nation of Catholic healthcare professionals.

In 1932, the National Federation of Catholic Physicians Guilds (NFCPG) formed to unify the efforts of the local guilds. With this alliance came the birth of the Lincare Quarterly, a journal of philosophy and ethics still in circulation today. The NFCPG was prestigious— Bishops and even the White House relied on it for expertise surrounding medical-ethical issues. In 1967, the NFCPG peaked with 10,000 members and greater than 100 local guilds.

Unfortunately, after the 1968 promulgation of Humanae Vitae, the NFCPG was torn apart, with successive presidents elected from opposite sides of the contraception debate. The membership declined to 300 physicians and only Chicago and Philadelphia retained their local guilds. However, the vital mission survived and the NFCPG continued with its annual meeting and with its support of the Catholic Church and her magisterial teaching.

In 1997, the NFCPG changed its name to the Catholic Medical Association (CMA) to reflect a membership almost entirely of individual members. However, it was clear the CMA would best serve physicians by being present at a local level and thus it continued to promote the creation of local guilds. Now, the revitalization of the Church and of Catholic healthcare workers has begun. Catholic healthcare professionals are once again seeking to learn the high ideal of God's calling, and today the CMA boasts 51 local guilds, including ours in Central Texas.

If you would like to join the national Catholic Medical Association, visit the CMA website at

What's in a name?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."  —Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

As Juliet laments her disastrous fate, she asks if a rose called by any other name would cease to be a rose. Certainly a rose would be just as beautiful if a new word was chosen to designate it from other flowers. Thus, we have to ask, how important is a name?

The History of Contraception & the Catholic Church

Many would claim that the Church's teachings against contraception are new constructs imposed on the masses by a prudish male-dominated institution. Others would say the teachings are out-dated and based on a first century view of human sexuality.

The Unique Subject Matter of Bioethics

The legacy of St. Ignatius also extends to education as evident by the numerous Jesuit teaching institutions throughout the world.

Infertility and the Catholic Church

As physicians, we are taught that to alleviate one's suffering is our most noble gift and certainly, infertility is one of the greatest hardships one can face.

A Meditation on the Passion, a Medical Point of View

Many scholars throughout history have sought to discover the cause of death of Our Lord. Some would say asphyxia, others pulmonary embolism or even "ruptured heart."

The Making of a Miracle: Medical Miracles and Canonization

On August 9, 1845, Saint André Bessette was born near Montreal, the 8th of 12 children. From the beginning, he was sickly and weak. He was orphaned at the age of 12 and became a farmhand.

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