About Daniel J. Heisey

Daniel J. Heisey, O. S. B, is a Benedictine monk of Saint Vincent Archabbey, Latrobe, Pennsylvania, where he is known as Brother Bruno. He teaches Church History at Saint Vincent Seminary.

A Hobby for Old Men


Whenever debates flare up over what should be taught in American schools about America’s past, a dusty old book comes to mind, Mary G. Kelty’s Other Lands and Other Times.  Published in 1942, its subtitle, Their Gifts to American Life, indicated that it would put America in the context of continuity with a great past.  It [...]

A Hobby for Old Men2021-08-04T02:43:19-05:00

Juror Number 45


It was the first full day of summer, a balmy Monday morning as more than a hundred people waited outside the county courthouse in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.  Their ages ranged from early twenties to well past retirement.  Silently they stood there until the doors opened at 8:30 and deputy sheriffs guided them through security screening. Then it [...]

Juror Number 452021-06-26T19:45:46-05:00

On the Trail with Francis Parkman


In the mid-1950s, John Hancock insurance ran full-page magazine advertisements featuring famous people from history.  In 1955 one of those ads focused on Francis Parkman.  “He brightened the dim record of our past,” the ad began but conceded that “a lot of people today don’t know about” him, although they ought to, since “there is so [...]

On the Trail with Francis Parkman2021-05-18T05:43:45-05:00

George Will at Eighty


As George F. Will turns eighty, it bears noting that just as Whig writers in the eighteenth century learned their craft by studying the essays of Joseph Addison, so, too, have American conservative writers honed their writing skills by reading the columns of George Will.  While Will’s authorial elegance and insight have been influences on many [...]

George Will at Eighty2021-04-27T05:53:30-05:00

Arnold Toynbee and a Clue to Human Destiny


Beginning in the 1980s, apparently starting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and then extending to dozens of cities, appeared unusual graffiti, Toynbee Tiles.  A kind of mosaic, these so-called tiles tend to be bits of linoleum embedded in the asphalt of a city street.  While the creator of the tiles remains unknown, the text of each tile always [...]

Arnold Toynbee and a Clue to Human Destiny2021-04-12T20:11:42-05:00

Bleecker Street Passion


Seventy years ago, an annual Christmas tradition began, a one-act opera in English, Gian Carlo Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors.  Less well-known is Menotti’s opera from three Decembers later, a three-act parable suitable also for Easter, The Saint of Bleecker Street.  Its plot is simple:  Annina, a young woman in New York City’s neighborhood of [...]

Bleecker Street Passion2021-03-24T02:24:37-05:00

John Cassian’s Vices and Ours


Three of the four Gospels tell us that right after John baptized Jesus in the Jordan, the Holy Spirit drove Jesus into the desert for forty days of testing by Satan.  It seems a far cry from what one might expect from a hand-clapping, alleluia-shouting inspirer like the Holy Spirit:  upon the heels of a joyous [...]

John Cassian’s Vices and Ours2021-02-05T19:46:01-06:00

Reading History with Casper Gutman


A leaden sky shielded London from the winter sun as I kept my appointment with Casper Gutman Antiques.  Still in business after more than a century, it sits tucked away on one of those dead-end side streets not far from the Diogenes Club.  With their customary courtesy they were letting me consult their founder’s private collection [...]

Reading History with Casper Gutman2021-01-11T06:58:53-06:00

A Three Muffin Problem


In several of Alfred Hitchcock’s films, trains figure prominently.  They can play menacing roles, such as in The Thirty-nine Steps (1935) or Shadow of a Doubt (1943), but in two in particular, Strangers on a Train (1951) and North by Northwest (1959), significant scenes occur in a train’s dining car.  David Lehman, writing in the April/May, [...]

A Three Muffin Problem2020-12-16T08:14:43-06:00

Saint Benedict and the Doomsday Cult


Psychologists might be best placed to discern why some people seem to derive a pornographic delight in imagining their own generation is the worst of times and is witnessing the End of Civilization.  With that self-absorption goes a grandiose fantasy that among the ruins, they will be with the few who emerge to rescue what little [...]

Saint Benedict and the Doomsday Cult2020-11-28T03:48:23-06:00
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