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Alemany, Joseph Sadoc (13 July 1814–14 April 1888), first Roman Catholic archbishop of San Francisco, was born in Vich, Spain, one of twelve children of Antonio Alemany y Font, a blacksmith, and Micaela de los Santos Cunill y Saborit. Alemany entered the diocesan seminary in 1824, and six years later he entered the Dominican order. In 1835, when the secularization laws closed the religious houses in Spain as a result of the anticlerical party in power, he went to Italy to complete his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained in 1837 in Viterbo, Italy....

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Alter, Karl J. (18 August 1885–23 August 1977), archbishop, was born Karl Joseph Alter in Toledo, Ohio, the son of John P. Alter, a cigar manufacturer and liquor dealer, and Elizabeth Kuttner. He attended St. John’s College in Toledo and St. Mary’s Seminary in Cleveland prior to his ordination to the priesthood on 4 June 1910 in the newly established diocese of Toledo. After two brief parish assignments in Ohio, he served the diocese for fifteen years as the first director of Catholic Charities, gradually linking the various charitable agencies into a unified system while also providing them with approved contemporary methods and standards of social welfare work. Alter was also a lecturer in sociology at Mary Manse College in Toledo, and in 1929 he was named director of the National School of Social Service in Washington, D.C., which was sponsored by the National Catholic Welfare Conference. On 22 April 1931 he was named the third bishop of Toledo, succeeding ...

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Frederic Baraga. Daguerreotype from the studio of Mathew B. Brady. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-109833).

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Baraga, Frederic (29 June 1797–19 January 1868), first Roman Catholic bishop of Marquette and Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, was born Irenaeus Frederic Baraga at the castle of Mala vas, on the hereditary estate of his mother, near the village of Dobrnic in Slovenia in the Austrian province of Carniola, the son of John Nepomuc Baraga and Maria Katharine Josefa de Jencic, farmers. Educated in the provincial capital of Ljubljana, Baraga went to Vienna to study law in 1816 and there came under the influence of the Redemptorist priest Clement Maria Hofbauer. Having decided to become a priest, Baraga renounced his claim to the family lands in favor of his brother-in-law and was ordained for the diocese of Ljubljana in 1823. A popular preacher and confessor, he compiled a prayer book in Slovenian that was in use throughout the nineteenth century....

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Bayley, James Roosevelt (23 August 1814–03 October 1877), Roman Catholic bishop, was born in New York City, the son of Guy Carleton Bayley, a physician, and Grace Roosevelt, a member of a prominent merchant family. He was the nephew of Elizabeth Bayley Seton...

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Blanchet, Francis Norbert (03 September 1795–18 June 1883), Roman Catholic missionary and archbishop, was born in St. Pierre Rivere du Sud, Quebec, Canada, the son of Pierre Blanchet and Rosalie (maiden name unknown), landowners whose ancestors were distinguished leaders in church and state in Canada. He received his initial education in St. Pierre and in 1810 entered, along with his younger brother Augustine, the minor seminary in Quebec....

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Bruté De Rémur, Simon William Gabriel (20 March 1779–26 June 1839), first Catholic bishop of Vincennes, Indiana, was born in Rennes, France, the son of Simon Gabriel, the superintendent of royal domains in Brittany, France, and Jeanne Renée le Saulnier, an owner and manager of a printing business. Simon William Gabriel Bruté was born into a prerevolutionary bourgeois family that had influential associations in both the church and the state. When Bruté was seven his father died and his mother—who had inherited a printing business from her first husband, François Vatar, printer to the king and the Parliament at Rennes—became the primary source of support for the two Bruté sons, Simon and Alexander. When Bruté was ten years old the Bastille was stormed, and in 1791 his college at Rennes was forced to close because the clergy there refused to take the constitutional oath. During the Reign of Terror, the Brutés harbored various clergy....

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Byrne, Andrew (30 November 1802–10 June 1862), Roman Catholic bishop, was born in the town of Navan, about forty miles northwest of Dublin, Ireland, the son of Robert Byrne and Margery Moore. There is no record of his actual date of birth, yet according to parish records in Ireland, he was baptized on 3 December 1802. Since his given name was Andrew, he may have been born on 30 November, the feastday of St. Andrew the apostle. Little is known of his early life or education except that, while a seminarian in Navan, Byrne heard Bishop ...

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Carroll, John (08 January 1736–03 December 1815), first bishop and archbishop of Baltimore, was born in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, the son of Daniel Carroll, a wealthy merchant, and Eleanor Darnall, a member of one of Maryland’s oldest and most distinguished families. At age eleven John was enrolled in the short-lived Jesuit school at Bohemia Manor in Cecil County, Maryland, but in 1748 he was sent to the Jesuit college of St. Omer in French Flanders. On 7 September 1753 he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus at nearby Watten and made his first vows two years later. At the house of studies for Jesuits, the English College at Liège, he followed the ordinary three years of philosophy and four of theology. On 14 February 1761, during the usual third year of theology, he was ordained priest by the auxiliary bishop of Liège in the chapel of the episcopal palace....

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Chapelle, Placide-Louis (28 August 1842–09 August 1905), Roman Catholic archbishop of New Orleans, was born at Runes, Lozère, France, the son of Jean Baptiste Chapelle and Marie Antoinette de Viala (occupations unknown). After receiving a classical education at Mende, France, he was sent by his uncle, the future bishop of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to complete his studies at the college of Enghien in Belgium. This same uncle later encouraged him to move to the United States. Chapelle arrived in Baltimore in 1859 and entered St. Mary’s Seminary, from which he received a doctorate in 1869. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1865 by Archbishop ...

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Cheverus, John Louis Anne Magdalen Lefebvre de (28 January 1768–19 July 1836), Catholic prelate, was born in Mayenne, France, the son of Jean-Vincent-Marie Lefebvre de Cheverus, a civil judge in Mayenne, and Anne-Charlotte Lemarchand des Noyers. Cheverus received his early education at a local college in Mayenne. Then, in 1781, he was sent to the Collège Louis-le-Grand, the so-called seminary of the Revolution, in Paris. After graduating from Louis-le-Grand, Cheverus entered the Saint Magloire Seminary in Paris, and on 18 December 1790, after finishing his seminary education, he was ordained to the Catholic priesthood. The very next day the French government ordered all priests to take an oath to uphold the civil constitution of the clergy, which Cheverus refused to do. As a nonjuring priest, he served parishes in Mayenne in the early part of 1791. By June of that year, however, political opposition to nonjuring clergy had begun in Mayenne, and when Cheverus refused to read a pastoral letter of his newly elected juring bishop on 17 July, subsequently putting that refusal into writing, he sealed his fate in France. In June of 1792 he was imprisoned for a few days in Mayenne and then released to his uncle’s care....

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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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Conwell, Henry (1747–22 April 1842), Roman Catholic bishop, was born in Moneymore, County Derry, Ireland. Little is known of his parentage and life prior to his seminary education. In 1776 Conwell was ordained to the priesthood in Paris, having studied there at the Irish College. Though reputed to be learned in theology and languages, he was not a gifted orator; this deficiency would haunt his later years....

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Cooke, Terence (01 March 1921–06 October 1983), seventh archbishop of New York, was born on the upper west side of Manhattan, New York, the son of Michael Cooke, a chauffeur, and Margaret Gannon. Cooke’s parents were both natives of County Galway, Ireland. Like many lower-middle-class immigrant families in the 1920s, his family joined the exodus from the tenements of Manhattan to the open spaces of the Bronx, where they settled in the still semirural Throgs Neck area. After graduating from the local parochial elementary school in 1934, Cooke entered Cathedral College, a six-year preparatory day seminary, to train for the priesthood. Upon completion of his studies in 1940, he continued his training at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, and was ordained a priest in St. Patrick’s Cathedral by Archbishop ...

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Michael A. Corrigan. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-106499).

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Corrigan, Michael Augustine (13 August 1839–05 May 1902), third Catholic archbishop of New York, was born in Newark, New Jersey, the son of Mary English and Thomas Corrigan, a prosperous wholesale grocer and real estate dealer who emigrated from Ireland in 1829. By the 1850s he had become one of the wealthiest Catholics in Newark, enabling his son Michael to attend private schools in Newark and Wilmington, Delaware. In 1855 Michael matriculated at Mount St. Mary’s College at Emmitsburg, Maryland, and graduated in 1859. From 1857 to 1858, in the middle of his college career, the Corrigans sent him on a grand tour of Europe to broaden his experience and cultural education. After he decided to study for the priesthood, Newark’s bishop ...

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Cretin, Joseph (10 December 1799–22 February 1857), first Roman Catholic bishop of St. Paul, Minnesota, was born in Montluel in the department of Ain, France, the son of Joseph Crétin, a prosperous baker and innkeeper, and Jeanne-Marie Mery. During the revolution his mother was imprisoned briefly for protesting the government’s persecution of Catholics. Joseph was enrolled in the presbyteral school in Montluel in 1812. He made his classical studies at the minor seminary of Meximieux, where his future friend ...

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Curley, Michael Joseph (12 October 1879–16 May 1947), archbishop of Baltimore, was born in Athlone, county Westmeath, Ireland, the son of Michael Curley, a prosperous farmer, and Maria Ward. In 1885 he entered Mungret College, Ireland, to study for the priesthood and in 1900 transferred to the Urban College of the Propaganda in Rome to become a missionary. On 19 March 1904 he was ordained a priest in Rome and was sent to Florida, then an underdeveloped part of the Catholic world, where he was given charge of a parish that comprised 7,200 square miles in the diocese of St. Augustine. He lived in a rented room above a store and ate in a diner where a $5 ticket bought him twenty-one meals. For a brief time he was chancellor and secretary to Bishop William J. Kenny....

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Charles Warren Currier. Courtesy of Francis F. Burch.

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Currier, Charles Warren (22 March 1857–23 September 1918), bishop and author, was born on St. Thomas, West Indies, and raised on St. Eustatius and St. Kitts, the son of Warren Green Currier of New York City and Deborah Heyliger of the Netherlands. At fourteen he sailed to the Netherlands to attend Assumption College in Roermond. Professed a Redemptorist in 1875, he taught from 1876 to 1877 and pursued advanced studies to a Ph.D. in religious philosophy at the Redemptorist seminary at Wittem. He was ordained a Catholic priest by Bishop Henry Schaap (vicar apostolic of Dutch Guiana) in Amsterdam on 22 November 1880. Currier knew Greek and Hebrew and was fluent in Latin, English, Dutch, Spanish, French, German, and Italian....