Knights of Columbus Origins

The foundations for the Knights of Columbus were laid on October 2nd, 1881, at St. Mary's Church in New Haven, Connecticut. Assistant pastor Fr. Michael McGivney sought to develop a mutual benefit society for Catholic men. This society—officially founded in 1882—would provide a local support system for Catholic families at a time when anti-Catholic prejudice restricted opportunities for Catholic residents and dangerous working conditions took the lives of many young fathers. The order provided life insurance for families, in addition to engaging in service work for the local church and community. The first Knights chose Christopher Columbus as their patron to highlight the contribution of the Catholic Church to American society and to demonstrate loyalty to both God and country.

From humble beginnings, the Knights of Columbus has grown to over 2 millions members worldwide today. The order includes over 16,000 councils spread across countries in North America, the Carribbean, Europe, Asia, and elsewhere. The first Knights Council in Canada was founded in 1897 in Montreal (Council 284), and there are now approximately 230,000 Knights serving in Canada. Guelph Council 1507 received its charter on October 10, 1910. Click here to learn more about the history of Council 1507.

For more information on the history of the Knights of Columbus, visit the order's official website.