July 31, 1556: Ignatius of Loyola, Spanish Roman Catholic reformer and founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), dies in Rome. During his life he saw 1,000 men join his order and 100 colleges and seminaries established. Apart from his order, Ignatius's greatest legacy he left in his Spiritual Exercises, a devotional guide that has been in constant use for over 460 years.
July 31, 1566: Bartolome de las Casas, the first Spaniard ordained in the New World and "Father to the Indians," dies in Spain. He wrote several books detailing the horrors committed upon Native Americans by the Spanish settlers, and argued for the humanity of the Indians against many of his countrymen who had described them as children or subhuman (see issue 35: Christopher Columbus).
July 31, 1966: After John Lennon proclaims the Beatles to be "more popular than Jesus," residents of Alabama burn the band's records and other products.
August 8, 1471: Thomas a Kempis, Dutch mystic and devotional author of The Imitation of Christ, dies at age 91. In his classic, Thomas wrote, "We must imitate Christ's life and his ways if we are to be truly enlightened and set free from the darkness of our own hearts. Let it be the most important thing we do, then, to reflect on the life of Jesus Christ.
August 8, 1492: Albrecht Durer's art is published for the first time when one of his woodcuts serves as the title page for St. Jerome's letters. ...