35 years ago today, Catholic John Paul II made a “historic religious breakthrough” when he became the first pope to speak at a Lutheran church and called for healing the 462-year-old dispute between the two Christian denominations. The visit came during the observance of the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s birth—the Roman Catholic monk who led the Protestant reformation after nailing his grievances to a door and being excommunicated for questioning his faith’s doctrine… (1983)

“The gift of this meeting moved me profoundly,” said the pontiff, who is recognized as helping to end Communist rule in his native Poland. The conservative leader significantly improved the Catholic Church’s relations with Judaism, Islam, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion, and hoped to “bring together Jews, Muslims and Christians in a great religious armada.”

MORE Good News on this Date:

  • Max Born, a German physicist and mathematician who was instrumental in the development of quantum mechanics and won the 1954 Nobel Prize in Physics for his “statistical interpretation of the wave function,” was born (1882)
  • Poet Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts (1830)
  • UNICEF was established by the UN as an Emergency Fund to  providing food, clothing, and health care to the children affected by famine and disease in Europe after World War II—and won the Noble Peace Prize in 1965 for being an organization that provides safety for the world’s most vulnerable citizens (1946)
  • The seminal film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner starring Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, and Katharine Hepburn, was released, sparking conversation about latent racism within even liberal households in America (1967)
  • More than 150 countries united under the Kyoto Protocal agreeing to take steps to control greenhouse gas emissions (1997)
  • Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams became the first Irish Republican Army ally to meet a British leader in 76 years, talking with Prime Minister Tony Blair (1997)
  • China joined the World Trade Organization (2001)
  • Tango Day is celebrated in Buenos Aires, Argentina

And, on this day in 1725, American Founding Father George Mason was born.

George_Mason_portrait-cropped

The Virginia planter, politician, and neighbor to George Washington, refused to sign the U.S. Constitution as a delegate to the Convention. His objections influenced lawmakers, like fellow Virginian James Madison, to write and include a Bill of Rights later. Mason wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights that served as a model for the federal version, which is why he is known as the Father of the US Bill of Rights. It was ratified in 1791, a year before Mason died. Many clauses in the US Constitution also bear George Mason’s stamp, but he is mostly obscure to most Americans.

And, on this day in 1964, Canadian swimmer Carolyn Waldo was born.

Carolyn Waldo-LinkedIn

She nearly drowned as a 3-year-old and it took her 7 years to overcome her fear of water. At age 18, she began training in Synchronized Swimming and in 1988 became the first Canadian woman to win 2 gold medals at one Olympiad.