April 24, 387: On this day, Augustine of Hippo writes in his autobiographical Confessions, "We were baptized and all anxiety for our past life vanished away." The 33-year-old had been a teacher of rhetoric and pagan philosophies at some of the Roman Empire's finest schools, but after great influence by his mother, Monica, and the famous bishop Ambrose, he turned to Christianity. His baptism by Ambrose, on Easter Sunday, marked his entrance into the church (see issue 15: Augustine and issue 67: Augustine).
April 24, 1581: Vincent de Paul, founder of the Lazarist Fathers and the Sisters of Charity, is born in Pouy, France. The Roman Catholic Churchnamed him patron saint of all works of charity because of his charity work during the Wars of Religion.
April 24, 1944: In "United States v. Ballard," the Supreme Court ruled that no governmental agency can determine "the truth or falsity of the beliefs or doctrines" of anyone—even if the beliefs "may seem incredible, if not preposterous to most people." But the court also reiterated its position that while freedom of belief is absolute, the freedom to act on those beliefs is not.
June 25, 1115: St. Bernard founds a monastery at Clairvaux, France, that would soon become the center of the Cistercian religious order. The order had been established 17 years earlier to restore Benedictine monasticism to a more primitive and austere state, but it is Bernard who is most closely associated with it. He founded 70 Cistercian monasteries, which in turn founded another 100 in his lifetime (see issue 24: Bernard of Clairvaux).
June 25, 1530: Lutherans present their summary of faith, known ...