The Order was founded by four priests of the St. Joseph's Society of the Sacred Heart, Fathers Conrad F. Rebesher, John H. Dorsey, Samuel J. Kelly, and Joseph P. Van Baast, S.S.J.'s and three lay men of the Diocese of Mobile - Messrs Gilbert Faustina, Frank Collins and Frank Trenier, they have all now passed to their eternal rewards. Click Here to read their biographies
Key Events in the Order’s History:
- The order was founded November 7, 1909 and incorporated July 12, 1911 in Mobile, Alabama
- The Meritorious Fourth Degree Knights were authorized in 1917
- The Junior Knights were authorized January 14, 1917 and recognized as a Division of the National Council Occtber 1, 1935
- The Ladies Auxiliary was authorized August, 1922 and recognized as a Division of the National Council at Galveston, Texas, August, 1926
- The Junior Daughters were established in 1930
- The first official organ of the Order was The Shield published for the first time at Mobile, Alabama, November 1910, with Frank Trenier, Charter Member and National Secretary, as Editor.
- The successor to The Shield is The Claverite, authorized in 1922 and its first Editor was Joseph H. Rieras who served until 1928.
Click here to read an excerpt from the Josephite's Colored Harvest Article on the Establishment of the Knights of Peter Claver
The Order has received the Apostolic Benediction of the Most Holy Father in Rome on many occasions. The Order also has the Approbation of Their Eminences and of Their Excellencies, The Cardinals and The Most Reverend Archbishops and Bishops, throughout the Archdioceses and Dioceses in which the Order has Councils and Courts. In the United States of America the Order operates in over 58 Archdioceses and Dioceses.
The Order has participated in the charitable appeals of many Catholic institutions, and made many noteworthy contributions to various local, state and national organizations including, but not limited to, The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Urban League, Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation, Xavier University Development and Expansion Fund, The Sister Thea Bowman Black Catholic Educational Foundation, International Alliance of Catholic Knights, National Black Catholic Congress, National Black Clergy, National Black Sisters Conferences and the National Council of Negro Women.
To date, the Order has had 17 Supreme Knights, namely:
National Headquarters of the Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary
In the Meritorious Fourth Degree Division there have been 18 Supreme Navigators:
In the Ladies Auxiliary, there have been 10 Supreme Ladies:
In the Meritorious Fourth Degree, Ladies of Grace Division there have been five Supreme Navigators: