Fraternity is the third principle of Order. In 19th century America, life insurance was beyond the financial reach of many
poor Catholics, and social services did not exist. Through the Knights of Columbus men were able to band together as
brothers to help one another in times of distress, sickness and death.



"Emblem of the Order"
The Third Degree Emblem

The Emblem of the order dates from the Second Supreme meeting, May 12, 1883, when it was designed by James T. Mullen, who was then the first Supreme Knight. A quick glance at the emblem indicates a shield mounted upon the cross of Malta.

The Shield is that associated with a medieval Knight. The cross of Malta is the representation of a traditionally artistic design of the Cross of Christ through which all graces of redemption were procured for mankind. This then, represents the Catholic spirit of the Order. Mounted on the shield are three objects, a mace standing vertically, and, crossed behind it, an anchor and a dagger or short sword. The mace from Roman days is symbolic of authority, which must exist in any tightly bonded and efficiently operating organization. The anchor is the mariner's symbol for Columbus, patron of the Order, while the short sword or dagger was the weapon of the Knight when engaged upon an errand of mercy. Thus, the shield expresses Catholic Knighthood in organized merciful action and with the letters K of C, it proclaims this specific form of activity. The red, white and blue in the background are the colors of the flag of the country in which the order originated.


Red is the symbol of Faith, of belief in Christ, in the Redemption and in the mission of every man to spread the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ. White is the color of the Eucharistic Host, symbolizing God's presence among men and of the infinite love God has for man. White is then the symbol of Christ-like Charity. Blue is the color of Our Lady's mantle in which she draped her beloved Son, through Whom salvation came to a sinful world. Blue is then the symbol of Hope.

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