Today in Christian History

November 19

November 19, 1861: At the suggestion of her minister, abolitionist Julia Ward Howe wrote "some good words to that tune" of the popular song "John Brown's Body." In February, "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" was published in the Atlantic Monthly and became very popular, especially after the Civil War (see issue 33: Christianity and the Civil War).

November 19, 1862: Baseball player-turned-revivalist William (Billy) Sunday is born in Iowa. An estimated 100 million people attended his 300 revivals, and he claimed that at least one million of them "hit the sawdust trail" to come forward and profess their conversion to Christ as a result of his preaching.

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February 24, 1208: Francis of Assisi experiences a vision in the church of Portunicula, Italy. Though not his first vision, it convinced him to begin a mission of preaching repentance, singing, caring for lepers, and aiding the peasants. Most notably, he and his followers renounced wealth and followed absolute poverty (see issue 42: Francis of Assisi).

February 24, 1582: Gregory XIII issues a bull requiring all Catholic countries to follow October 4 with October 15 and replace the Julian calendar ...

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