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Meet Your Neighbor: Joseph O’Callaghan

Brightview Resident and Historian Joseph

Brightview on New Canaan has a new resident historian! Joseph O’Callaghan, Professor Emeritus of Medieval History from Fordham University, moved to the community at the beginning of the year and is already sharing his historical knowledge with his neighbors. He currently has plans to teach three lectures on Medieval Spain for the Brightview on New Canaan residents in March.

As a Philadelphia native, Dr. O’Callaghan attended La Salle College for his undergraduate degree before attending Marquette University for his Master’s program and Fordham University for his Ph.D. in Medieval History.

Dr. O’Callaghan first fell in love with history after learning about knights in grammar school. “It never occurred to me that if I lived during that time, I would be a serf and not a knight,” he said. Later in college, Dr. O’Callaghan took a history class about the Middle Ages, where his interest in Medieval history, the Roman Empire, and the Renaissance took root and grew.

As a professor, Dr. O’Callaghan was passionate about helping students relate to the people and events from hundreds of years ago. “This is history people need to understand – they weren’t that different from us,” he said. “There were no TV or cell phones, but they had the same characteristics of family, love, war, behaving well or misbehaving.”

Thanks to his research interests, Dr. O’Callaghan has traveled extensively for his work and pleasure. His favorite locations in Spain are Seville, Granada, Córdoba, and Toledo. He also was granted many fellowships and academic honors and served in many learned societies.

Throughout his long tenure, Dr. O’Callaghan authored, translated, edited, or contributed to over 25 books, not to mention countless articles. Some of his book titles include A History of Medieval Spain, Electing our Bishops: How the Catholic Church Should Choose Its Leaders, and Reconquest and Crusade in Medieval Spain. In addition to his research on Medieval Spain, Professor O’Callaghan turned his historical gaze to his Irish roots. He contributed several articles to the Journal of the Cork Historical and Archeological Society and wrote The O Callaghan Family of County Cork: A History and Clan Callaghan: The O Callaghan Family of County Cork.

No matter the time period, Dr. O’Callaghan strongly believes studying history and the humanities are vital to helping us connect as a society. It’s important to understand how we – as a people or as a country – arrived at the place we are today. “We are all human beings, but we have our own characteristics,” he said. “We don’t have to abandon our traditions and cultures.”

“Everyone has an individual place in history.”

Discuss your favorite historical subjects with Dr. O’Callaghan – schedule your personal visit to Brightview on New Canaan today!


Brightview Senior Living builds, owns, and operates award-winning vibrant senior living communities in eight states along the East Coast: Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia. We offer senior Independent LivingAssisted LivingEnhanced Care, and Wellspring Village, a specialized neighborhood for people living with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Schedule a personal visit to experience our communities firsthand.

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