August 22, 565: Celtic missionary and abbot Columba reportedly confronts the Loch Ness Monster and becomes the first recorded observer of the creature. "At the voice of the saint, the monster was terrified," wrote his biographer, "and fled more quickly than if it had been pulled back with ropes" (see issue 60: How the Irish Were Saved).
August 22, 1670: English missionary John Eliot founds a church for Native Americans at Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts (see issue 41: American Puritans).
August 22, 1741: George Frideric Handel shuts himself up in his home to begin writing "Messiah." He finished the composition 24 days later. "Whether I was in the body or out of the body when I wrote it, I know not," he later said.
August 22, 1800: Edward B. Pusey, author of Tracts for the Times and a leader of the Oxford Movement to renew the Anglican Church, is born. He wrote several works promoting a union between Anglicans and Roman Catholics, but the Vatican I Ecumenical Council (1869-70) dashed his hopes when it declared the doctrine of papal infallibility.
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 ...