Catholic work for the blind


Although there was no education for the blind until the 18th century, mainly due to the error as to their mental capacities, the Church provided for their corporeal needs from the earliest ages. Special care was given to them, and hospices for the blind were founded by Saint Basil at Caesarea (4th century), Saint Bertrand in France (7th century), William the Conqueror, and Saint Louis, King of France, who established at Paris, c.1260, the “Hospice des Quinze-Vingts,” surviving to this day. In the 16th century special processes for their education, attempted by Cardano and the Jesuit, Francesco Lana-Terzi, met with little success. The modern movement for education of the blind was originated by Valentin Haüy (17451822), who provided a system of tactual printing which resulted in a permanent literature, and founded the first school for the blind, 1784. Various inventors made improvements on Haüy’s device, and in 1829 Louis Braille perfected his dot system which was soon adopted in most countries and is the basis of other simpler methods. To supply Catholic literature gratuitously for the blind in the United States, Joseph Stadelman founded, in 1900, a society called “The Xavier Free Publication Society for the Blind of the City of New York,” which prints and circulates thousands of volumes.

MLA Citation

  • “Catholic work for the blind”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 20 June 2013. Web. 20 September 2021. <>