The emblem of the Order dates from the second Supreme Council meeting May 12, 1883, when it was designed by James T. Mullen, who was then Supreme Knight.
A quick glance at the emblem indicates a shield mounted upon the Formée Cross. The shield is that associated with a medieval Knight. The Formée Cross 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 fasces standing vertically, and, crossed behind it, an anchor and a dagger or short sword. The fasces 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 of the shield and the foreground of the Cross of Malta are the colors of our country. As such, red is the symbol of stout-hearted courage, of pulsing activity and a full measure of devotion. Blue is the symbol of hope, of calm tranquility under God and of confidence in the protection of our country. White is the symbol of nobility of purpose, of purity of aim and of crucible — tried ideals to be carried out.
But there is another symbolism of color in red, white and blue. This is the ecclesiastical symbolism in which red becomes the reflection of the drips of Christ’s redemptive blood shed upon Calvary, and of the martyr’s blood shed in defense of the faith. Red then is the symbol of Faith, of belief in Christ, in the Redemption and in the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ. White is the color of the Eucharistic Host, pledge of God’s Eucharistic presence among men, of the infinite love God has for man and the overwhelming affection which the God-man has for each individual. White then is the symbol of Christ-like Charity. Blue is the color of Our Lady’s mantle, in which she wrapped her beloved Son, through Whom came salvation to a sinful world. Blue is then the symbol of Hope.