Regina Chesterton Academy is named for the Englishman G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936), who was considered one of the world’s most outstanding men of letters in the early 20th century and its most original thinker.
He was an accomplished essayist, novelist, and poet, who wrote a hundred books on all different subjects. In 1922, he shocked the literary establishment by converting to Catholicism. He was later eulogized by Pope Pius XI as “a gifted defender of the faith,” and there is presently a popular movement to have him canonized.
All the issues we struggle with in the 21st century, Chesterton foresaw, and wrote about, in the early 20th century. Social injustice, the culture of death, statism, assaults on religion, and attacks on the family and on the dignity of the human person: Chesterton saw where these trends, already active in his time, would lead us. He was a witty, intelligent, and insightful defender of the poor, the downtrodden, the weak, and especially of the family... He wrote in just about every genre: history, biography, novels, poetry, short stories, apologetics and theology, economic works, and more.1
As a literary critic, Chesterton was without parallel. His biography of Charles Dickens is credited with sparking the Dickens revival in London in the early 20th century. His biography of St. Thomas Aquinas was called the best book on St. Thomas ever written, by no less than Etienne Gilson, the 20th century’s greatest Thomistic scholar. His books Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man are considered the 20th century’s finest works of Christian and Catholic apologetics. The Everlasting Man led a young atheist named C.S. Lewis to become a Christian. And audiences still delight in the adventures of Chesterton’s priest sleuth, Father Brown, as well as such timeless novels as The Man Who Was Thursday, The Napoleon of Notting Hill, and others. The Napoleon of Notting Hill inspired Michael Collins to lead a movement for Irish Independence and an essay Chesterton wrote for the Illustrated London News inspired Mohandas Gandhi to lead a movement to end British colonial rule in India.1
Chesterton debated many of the celebrated intellectuals of his time: George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, Bertrand Russell, Clarence Darrow. According to contemporary accounts, Chesterton usually emerged as the winner of these contests, however, the world has immortalized his opponents and forgotten Chesterton, and now we hear only one side of the argument, and we are enduring the legacies of socialism, relativism, materialism, and skepticism. Ironically, all of his opponents regarded Chesterton with the greatest affection. And George Bernard Shaw said: “The world is not thankful enough for Chesterton.”2
His writing has been praised by Ernest Hemingway, Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh, Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Karel Capek, Marshall McLuhan, Paul Claudel, Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie, Sigrid Undset, Ronald Knox, Kingsley Amis, W.H. Auden, Anthony Burgess, E.F. Schumacher, Neil Gaiman, and Orson Welles. To name a few.2
Regina Chesterton Academy has chosen "G.K." for its patron because he not only represents the fullness of faith and reason, but also Catholic joy and common sense.