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Bernardin, Joseph (02 April 1928–14 November 1996), Roman Catholic archbishop, was born Joseph Louis Bernadin in Columbia, South Carolina, the son of Joseph Bernardin, a stonecutter, and Maria Simion Bernardin, a seamstress. He attended both parochial and public schools in his hometown and, after graduating at sixteen, went on to the nearby University of South Carolina where he was a pre-med major. After working in a Catholic hospital, Bernardin decided to become a priest and transferred to St. Mary's College in Kentucky in time for the 1945–1946 academic year. He then transferred again, this time to St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland, where he earned a B.A. in philosophy in 1948. After receiving a master's degree in education from Catholic University in Washington, D.C., in 1952, he was ordained to the priesthood in the diocese of Charleston....

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Cody, John Patrick (24 December 1907–25 April 1982), Roman Catholic archbishop and cardinal, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Thomas Joseph Cody and Mary Begley, Irish immigrants. His father was a fireman who rose to the rank of district fire chief. Cody was a seminarian at the North American College in Rome. He then studied philosophy and theology at the Pontifical Urbanian College of the Congregation de Propaganda Fide, receiving a Ph.D. in 1928 and an S.T.D. in 1932. He was ordained a priest on 8 December 1931. Returning to the North American College as an assistant rector (1932–1938), he earned a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Institute Utriusque Iuris of the Lateranum and worked for the secretariat of state under Giovanni Battista Montini (the future Pope Paul VI)....

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Glennon, John Joseph (14 June 1862–09 March 1946), Roman Catholic archbishop and cardinal, was born in Kinnegad, County Meath, Ireland, the son of Matthew Glennon and Catherine Rafferty. He first attended the diocesan seminary, St. Mary’s College at Mullingar, then Dublin’s missionary College of All Hallows, whose graduates are recruited for dioceses around the world. Bishop John Hogan enlisted Glennon for work in his diocese of Kansas City, Missouri. In 1883 he arrived in Kansas City, where he was ordained a priest in December 1884. He was first assigned to St. Patrick’s Church in Kansas City. After a year’s leave to learn German at Bonn, Germany, in order to conduct a more effective ministry among Missouri’s German Catholics, Glennon returned to Kansas City to become successively secretary to Bishop Hogan, cathedral rector, diocesan vicar general, and, in 1896, coadjutor bishop. In 1903 he was appointed coadjutor to Archbishop John Kain of St. Louis. When Kain died in October 1903, Glennon became the third archbishop of St. Louis....

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Hayes, Patrick Joseph (20 November 1867–04 September 1938), cardinal archbishop, was born in New York City, the son of Irish immigrants Daniel Hayes, a longshoreman, and Mary Gleason, both natives of Killarney. His mother died when he was five, and about a year later his father married Mary Dunning. Young Patrick lived with his father and stepmother until he was about fifteen, when he went to live with his mother’s sister and brother-in-law, Ellen and James Egan, who were childless....

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Archbishop John Krol Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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Krol, John (26 October 1910–03 March 1996), Roman Catholic archbishop, was born John Joseph Krol in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of John Krol, a machinist, and Anna Pietruszka Krol. He grew up in a large, working-class family and attended local parochial schools. After graduating from high school, he started working as a meat cutter in a local supermarket. Following a series of thought-provoking religious discussions with a co-worker that turned his thoughts toward the priesthood, Krol began preparing for his ultimate career at St. Mary’s College in Orchard Park, Michigan. He completed his studies at St. Mary’s Seminary in Cleveland and was ordained in the Archdiocese of Cleveland on 20 February 1937....

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John McCloskey. Daguerreotype from the studio of Mathew B. Brady. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-110007).

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McCloskey, John (10 March 1810–10 October 1885), Roman Catholic bishop and first American cardinal, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Patrick McCloskey, a clerk, and Elizabeth Harron, recently arrived Irish immigrants. In 1817 the family moved to New York City, and John entered Thomas Brady’s Classical School. A member of St. Peter’s Church in St. Patrick’s parish, he came under the influence of his pastor, John Power, and Power’s assistant, Jesuit Peter Malou. After his father died in 1820, McCloskey became the ward of Cornelius Heeney, a wealthy philanthropist who arranged for McCloskey to be admitted to Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Maryland, in September 1821. After completing the college course he continued at Mount St. Mary’s as a seminarian and was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop ...

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McIntyre, James Francis (25 June 1886–16 July 1979), Roman Catholic cardinal, was born in New York City, the son of James Francis McIntyre, a policeman, and Mary Pelley. His mother died when McIntyre was ten. He and his father, who had become an invalid several years earlier, went to live with a married cousin, Mary Conley. Despite feeling called to the priesthood, he quit school three years later to support his father as an errand boy for David Pfeifer, a stockbroker and member of the New York Curb Exchange, which conducted its transactions on the sidewalk at the corner of Broad Street and Exchange Place. In 1902 McIntyre became a runner for H. L. Horton and Company, a Wall Street brokerage firm, and over the next twelve years he worked his way up to office manager. Meanwhile he completed his secondary education at night school and took some courses at City College and Columbia University in the hope of someday becoming a priest. For this reason, in 1914 he turned down a junior partnership with Fahnestock and Company after it had acquired Horton. When his father died the next year, McIntyre left the company and began studying for the priesthood at New York’s Cathedral College. He graduated in 1916, spent the next five years studying at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, and was ordained in 1921....

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Meyer, Albert Gregory (09 March 1903–09 April 1965), Roman Catholic prelate, was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of Peter Meyer, a grocer and factory worker, and Mathilda Thelen. After attending parochial schools, he entered St. Francis Seminary in 1917 and began his preparation for the priesthood. In 1921 he went to Rome to study at the North American College and subsequently at the Urbanian College of the Sacred Congregation de Propaganda Fide, where he completed a doctorate in theology (S.T.D.) and was ordained to the priesthood in 1926. He remained in Rome to study at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, where he completed his licentiate (S.S.L.) in 1930....

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Ritter, Joseph Elmer (20 July 1892–10 June 1967), Roman Catholic cardinal, was born in New Albany, Indiana, the son of Nicholas A. Ritter, a baker, and Bertha Luette. While a seventh grader in parochial school, he decided to become a priest. Two years later he enrolled in St. Meinrad’s Abbey, a Benedictine seminary near Evansville, Indiana, where he completed his high school and college education while studying for the priesthood. In 1917 he was ordained and appointed assistant pastor of St. Patrick’s Parish in Indianapolis, and six months later he was made assistant pastor of the diocesan cathedral in Indianapolis. He became rector of the cathedral in 1920 and pastor of the cathedral parish in 1925....

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Shehan, Lawrence Joseph (18 March 1898–26 August 1984), Roman Catholic cardinal and archbishop of Baltimore, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Thomas Patrick Shehan, a traveling salesman, and Anastasia Dames Schofield. A product of the parochial schools, he attended St. Mary’s Seminary, Baltimore, and the North American College in Rome before his ordination to the priesthood on 23 December 1922 in Rome. In June 1923 he received a doctorate in sacred theology from the Urban College of the Propaganda Fide. Assistant and then pastor at St. Patrick’s Parish, Washington, D.C., he also served as director of Catholic Charities for the District of Columbia. On 17 November 1945 he was appointed auxiliary bishop for the archdiocese of Baltimore-Washington and on 12 December was raised to the episcopacy by the apostolic delegate, Archbishop Amleto Cicognani, at St. Patrick’s. On 25 August 1953 Shehan was named first bishop of the diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, which in eight years he endowed with an impressive array of churches, schools, and other institutions. On 12 July 1961 he was named coadjutor to the ailing archbishop Francis P. Keough of Baltimore, whom he succeeded on 8 December 1961....

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Francis Joseph Spellman. Gouache, watercolor, pencil on illustration board, by Boris Chaliapin. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

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Spellman, Francis Joseph (04 May 1889–02 December 1967), Roman Catholic prelate, was born in Whitman, Massachusetts, the son of William Spellman, a grocer, and Ellen Conway, both the children of Irish immigrants. After attending public schools in Whitman, Spellman graduated from Fordham College in New York in 1911. He then entered the seminary for the Archdiocese of Boston and was sent to the North American College in Rome, where he studied at the Urban College of Propaganda. He received a doctorate in theology and was ordained a priest on 14 May 1916. At that time, the American hierarchy was becoming increasingly Romanized, and for an ambitious American student, study at the Urban College could be a stepping stone for ecclesiastical preferment because the professors there were predominantly Italian diocesan priests destined for service in the curia. Spellman wisely cultivated his professors, most notably Francesco Borgongini-Duca....

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Stritch, Samuel Alphonsus (17 August 1887–27 May 1958), Roman Catholic cardinal, was born in Nashville, Tennessee, the son of Garrett Stritch, a schoolmaster and later an employee of a railroad construction firm, and Catherine Malley. An extremely precocious youth, he finished grade school by the age of ten. Through the influence of Father John B. Morris, he became a seminarian for the diocese of Nashville and studied at St. Gregory’s Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio. When he finished high school at the age of sixteen, his bishop, Thomas S. Byrne, sent him to Rome, Italy, to complete his theological studies at the Urban College of the Propaganda. On 21 May 1910 he was ordained to the priesthood at St. John Lateran Basilica in Rome. He returned to Nashville for a brief time before becoming a pastor in Memphis, Tennessee, and later served as the bishop’s secretary, rector of the cathedral, chancellor, and superintendent of schools in Nashville. Stritch was a bookish man, unfailingly courtly and easygoing, who never lost his light southern drawl despite his many years in the North....

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Wright, John Joseph (18 July 1909–10 August 1979), Roman Catholic cardinal and theologian, was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, the son of John Joseph Wright, a clerk, and Harriet Cokely. He received his early education in Boston public schools and was awarded a prestigious scholarship to Boston Latin School. As a boy, Wright worked as a page at the Boston Public Library, where he began his great love for books. Over time he acquired a large personal library, collecting over 5,000 volumes and manuscripts relating to Saint Joan of Arc alone. He donated this huge corpus to the library, where it was housed in a room dedicated to Wright’s memory....