What is the link between Henry VIII, John Kennedy, Joe Biden and… the town of Douai? The Douai Bible!
In 1534, King Henry VIII of England founded the Anglican Church. Many English Catholics who remained loyal to the Pope fled the country, and the persecutions they had suffered, and settled on a charming and prosperous town in the Spanish Netherlands to found an English Catholic community. Douai!
William Allen, educated at Oxford, was one of these expatriate religious exiles. He was one of the founders of the English College of Douai and led the translation of the Bible into English from 1582 (until then it was only in Latin).
This translation was exported to the United States by Irish immigrants and is now the authority among American Catholics. It is therefore only natural that American Catholic presidents, since John Kennedy in 1961, take the oath of office on one of its editions, kept in the Library of Congress in Washington. The latest? A certain Joe Biden!
Another batch of three copies of the Douai Bible is also preciously preserved in the Marceline Desbordes-Valmore Library, in Douai of course!