Holy People of the Archdiocese of Baltimore

This exhibit has been created to introduce visitors to some of the holy people who are members of the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s community of faith. The power of their witness still speaks to us. May the example of their lives continue to inspire those who are evangelizers in today’s world and serve as a guide to those who are seeking the “door of faith” (Acts, 14:27).

 

Rev. W. Howard Bishop, G.H.M.

(1885-1953)

Founder, Glenmary Home Missioners

Missionary. Priest. Born in Washington, D.C., to Francis and Eleanor Knowles Bishop. One of six children, his was a lively household that was memorable for its visitors, which included members of Congress and Supreme Court justices, a reflection of his father’s position in society as a respected physician, and family dinners were often filled with talk of politics. These years were not without challenges, however. A severe case of pneumonia nearly claimed his life as a young boy and a curvature of the spine he developed in his teen years remained a source of pain and discomfort for the rest of his life. Despite these health issues, he attended public schools with his siblings, where he honed his writing skills as editor of the high school newspaper. Upon graduation, he enrolled in Harvard University with an interest in pursuing a career in journalism. His life changed course when he discerned his vocation to the priesthood during a break from his studies. He entered St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore to begin his priestly training and was ordained for the Archdiocese of Baltimore in 1915. After completing graduate studies at The Catholic University of America, he was assigned to the now Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Mount Washington, Baltimore, where he remained for two years. He was next transferred to St. Louis Church in Clarksville, at that time a farming community. Here he developed a passion that would define the rest of this life when he became convinced that ministering to families in rural America should become a priority for the U.S. Church. He soon dedicated his life to the evangelization of these areas, first in the Archdiocese of Baltimore and then nationally. Beginning with the League of St. Louis (1922), organized to raise funds for the needs of his parish, this program grew into the League of the Little Flower (1934), that funded catechetical programs and parochial education in the Archdiocese’s rural parishes. To promote awareness of the needs in these areas, he published and edited several newsletters. He became active on the national stage as a founding member and later president of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference (1923). His efforts to designate this work as a specific ministry of the Church, what he termed the “home mission,” culminated in 1939 when he founded the Glenmary Home Missioners, a society of priests and brothers dedicated to serving the spiritual and material needs of people in regions of the country where the Church was underrepresented or not represented at all. Together with the Glenmary Sisters and lay coworkers, they continue to serve throughout Appalachia and the South to evangelize the unchurched, nurture Catholics, foster ecumenism, and work for justice.

 

Bishop Simon Bruté de Remur

(1779-1839)

Servant of God

Missionary. Priest. Educator. Bishop. Born at Rennes, France, in 1779, his childhood was marked by loss and turmoil with the death of his father in 1785 followed by his country’s descent into chaos with the start of the French Revolution in 1789. Despite the persecution carried out against the Catholic Church during this period, Simon’s family remained faithful. The example set by his mother later influenced his decision to become a priest. Upon completing his medical training, he entered the Sulpician Seminary in Paris and was ordained in 1808. He was accepted into the Society of St. Sulpice at this time and assigned to teach theology at the Sulpician Seminary in Rennes. Responding to a plea for missionaries, he left for the United States in 1810, where he labored for the rest of his life. At St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, he taught philosophy and was assigned to serve Catholics on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. He was transferred to the Sulpician seminary in Emmitsburg, Mt. St. Mary’s, in 1812, where he taught on the faculty and ministered to the Catholics of Frederick County. It was during this period that he also became the spiritual director of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821), foundress of the Daughters of Charity in the United States. He returned to Baltimore in 1815 when he was appointed president of St. Mary’s College (1799-1852). He served in this position until 1818 when he was sent back to Emmitsburg. In 1824, when Mt. St. Mary’s became an independent institution, he left the Society of St. Sulpice, but remained close to his former confreres. In 1834 he was appointed the newly created Diocese of Vincennes (now Indianapolis), where he labored until his death in 1839.

His cause for canonization was introduced by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis in 2005. He is known as a “Servant of God.”

 

 

Rev. James Dolan

(1814-1870)

Apostle of the Point

Priest. Born to Richard and Brigid O’Donnell Dolan of Cashel, County Tipperary, Ireland. His father’s success as a merchant provided the family with a comfortable life and allowed  the young James to pursue his education to the college level. The death of his father in 1825, followed by his mother several years later devastated the family and likely influenced his decision in 1834 to immigrate with a group bound for Texas, at that time still a province of Mexico. The experience was a harrowing one for Dolan that would alter the course of his life. Over half of the party died enroute from disease and hardship, including several relations. Difficult conditions once they reached Texas persuaded the remaining members of the party to abandon the settlement they had hoped to found. Dolan made his way to Philadelphia, where a cousin helped restore him to health. Soon after he made the decision to enter St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore. Upon ordination in 1840, he was assigned to St. Patrick’s Church in the Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore, where he remained for the rest of his life. Pastoral activities took him into the neighborhoods surrounding the church to visit families, many of whom were recent immigrants employed by the maritime industries supported by the nearby Port of Baltimore. He enlarged the church, paid off its debt, and opened a school for boys and a home for orphans. He also became an active member and chaplain of the Hibernian Society of Baltimore, an organization dedicated to serving the needs of Irish immigrants. In the early 1840s, the Irish community in Maryland was small with members represented in nearly all sectors of society. This would change dramatically with the arrival of the first famine ships in the spring of 1847. The Irish who arrived were refugees from the Great Famine, an event that would claim the lives of over one million people and force another two million to emigrate. The majority of those who arrived in Baltimore were destitute, ill, and malnourished. Pastor of the Catholic church closest to the Port of Baltimore, Rev. Dolan was among the first to visit these ships and recognize the gravity of the situation. The Hibernian Society of Baltimore took the lead in providing emergency shelter, medical care, and food. Rev. Dolan was singled out for his heroic efforts  in meeting the spiritual and material needs of the refugees. He would dedicated the rest of his life to assisting Irish immigrants by raising funds, finding employment, and founding schools, orphanages, and benevolent societies. In time he became known as the Apostle of the Point.

 

Artist: Rev. Peter Wm. Gray, PSS

Mother M. Theresa Maxis Duchemin, I.H.M.

(1810-1892)

Foundress, Sisters, Servants of the

Immaculate Heart of Mary

Religious. Educator. Foundress. Born in Baltimore to Anne Marie Maxis, a free woman of color and Haitian refugee, Almaide was raised by her mother’s guardians, the Duchemin family. She was immersed in the French language and culture of the Haitian refugee community and worshipped at St. Mary’s Seminary Chapel. She received an education uncommon to most women of the time, which included attending the school operated by Elizabeth Lange and Marie Magdaleine Balas in the Fells Point neighborhood of the city for free children of color. There she became a favorite pupil who shared her teachers’ vocation to religious life. At age 19, she became a founding member of the Oblate Sisters of Providence, the first congregation of women religious of color in this country, taking the religious name of Marie Theresa. The Oblate Sisters opened St. Frances Academy (1828), the first Catholic school for children of color in the United States. Their duties soon expanded to caring for orphans and nursing the sick. Over the next sixteen years, she was involved in all of the community’s ministries, including one term as superior general, 1841-1844. In 1845 she left the Oblates and set out for Monroe, Michigan, with the Redemptorist priest Louis Florent Gillet to serve the area’s French-speaking Catholics. They established the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a teaching community dedicated to the education of girls and young women. In 1858 she accepted Bishop John Neumann’s invitation to serve in the Diocese of Philadelphia. The first school was opened in Susquehanna. A request for a second school led to the division of the community into two foundations: Monroe and Philadelphia. A third foundation was later established at Scranton. Mother Duchemin was living at the Philadelphia community’s motherhouse in West Chester at the time of her death in 1892.

Over their history, the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary have opened private academies and colleges and staffed parochial elementary and highs schools around the country. In recent years, the community’s ministries have become more diverse, to include pastoral care in health care facilities, parish and prison ministries, and social outreach programs to serve the poor and marginalized.

 

Image courtesy of the School Sisters of Notre Dame North American Archives, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Mother Caroline Friess, SSND

(1824-1892)

Religious. Missionary. Educator.  The second of five surviving children born to John George and Catherine Chapoulard Friess in Choisy-le-Roi, France, on August 21, 1824, she was christened Mary Josephine. The family returned to Lauingen, Germany  in 1828, where the success of the family business provided the Friess’s with a comfortable life. Josephine was placed in the care of her uncle, Rev. Michael Friess, and paternal grandmother, so that she could attend the finest schools. She was qualified to teach upon completing her education at the age of 15, but Josephine had already discerned her religious vocation. She applied to the newly-established School Sisters of Notre Dame (1833), whose chief work was to teach in parochial schools, and entered their convent at Neunburg vorm Wald in 1840. She was given the religious name Mary Caroline when she was accepted into the novitiate and made her religious vows in 1845. She was teaching at their boarding school in Munich when the congregation made a decision that changed the course of her life: a commitment to establish a foundation in the United States. Immigrant families had been making pleas for German congregations of religious women to send members to open schools for their children. Sr. Caroline volunteered to join the congregation’s founder, Blessed Theresa Gerhardinger, and four others to form the first band of sisters to undertake the mission. The sisters departed in the summer of 1847 and were destined for St. Mary’s, Elk County, Pennsylvania. The Redemptorists had been visiting this small rural farming community made up of Bavarian immigrants and had invited the School Sisters to staff a school. Although the sisters were not to remain long at St. Mary’s, the experience marked the beginning of a close collaborative relationship between the two congregations. The sisters made their way to Baltimore, where the Redemptorist provincial superior, St. John Neumann, had identified a property to establish a mother house. Within the year, the sisters were in charge of the schools at the city’s three German national parishes: St. James the Less, St. Michael the Archangel, and St. Alphonsus Ligouri. St. John Neumann then invited Blessed Theresa Gerhardinger and Sister Caroline to accompany him on a tour of Redemptorist parishes around the country to help identify other places where the sisters might serve. Sister Caroline could not have known at the time that this experience would prepare her well for what lay ahead. Upon return from their journey, Blessed Theresa Gerhardinger made plans to return to Germany and placed Sr. Caroline in charge of the congregation in the United States, a role she would hold until her death in 1892. Over the next forty-four years, the original band of six sisters grew to over two thousand who staffed nearly three hundred parochial schools and had established sixteen orphanages and eleven private academies in sixteen states and twenty-nine dioceses. The original mission to German immigrants had been abandoned. The sisters went where they were needed. Mother Caroline had travelled tens of thousands of miles to coordinate the activities of her congregation and provide leadership to her sisters. In the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the School Sisters have staffed parish schools across the state of Maryland, operated six private academies, and founded the first Catholic women’s college in the country, Notre Dame University of Maryland (1895).

 

 

Rev. Demetrius Gallitzin

(1770-1840)

Servant of God

Missionary. Priest. The Apostle of the Alleghenies was born of a Russian Prince-diplomate and a German countess in The Hague, Netherlands, on December 22, 1770. The family was well-known in the royal courts of Europe and moved in the highest social circles. Although baptized in the Greek Orthodox Church, his religious education was neglected until his mother Amalie von Schmettau Gallitzin, returned to the Catholic faith in 1786. Demetrius followed soon after, choosing Augustine for his confirmation name. As was custom at the time for families of his rank, he was sent abroad on a grand tour to visit foreign lands when he came of age. He arrived in the United States in 1792, traveling under the assumed name of Augustine Schmet or Smith to avoid the expense of traveling as a Russian prince. He would  use this alias until 1809, when he returned to his family name. Moved by the needs of the Catholic community he encountered here, he made the decision to become a priest. He entered St. Mary’s Seminary founded at Baltimore just the year before by the Sulpician Fathers, who were themselves refugees from the French Revolution. Three years later, he applied and was accepted as a member of this community and was ordained by Bishop John Carroll on March 18, 1795, becoming the first priest to receive all minor and major orders in the United States. He was assigned to a territory that extended from Conewago, Pennsylvania, where he was stationed, to Martinsburg, now West Virginia. A sick call that took him to the mountains of west central Pennsylvania inspired the idea of founding a Catholic colony in the Allegheny mountains.  In 1799, using his own personal funds, he purchased land in Cambria County and christened his colony Loretto, after the place of Marian devotion in Italy. Loretto became a flourishing center of Catholicism in northern Pennsylvania, which is now part of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. Rev. Gallitzin remained at Loretto for the rest of his life, eschewing Episcopal appointments to remain with his community. He ministered to the Catholics of the region until shortly before his death in 1840 and is buried there.

Rev. Gallitzin was also a noted apologist and pamphleteer, publishing a number of works including his Defense of Catholic Principles, A Letter on the Holy Scriptures, and An Appeal to the Protestant Public.

His cause for canonization was introduced by the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown in 2005. He is now known as a “Servant of God.”

 

 

Artist: Rev. Peter Wm. Gray, PSS

Mother Mary Lange, O.S.P.

(c. 1794-1882)

 Servant of God

Religious. Educator. Foundress and first superior of the Oblate Sisters of Providence. Born in Cuba to a free woman of color and a French merchant, she came to the United States when she was a young woman, eventually settling in Baltimore. She lived in the Fells Point neighborhood of the city, where she opened a school for free children of color with her good friend, Marie Magdaleine Balas. A devout Catholic, she was active in her parish, St. Patrick’s (est. 1792), and a member of a confraternity founded by the Sulpician Fathers at St. Mary’s (est. 1791), the seminary they had opened in Baltimore. In 1828 she was introduced to the Sulpician Father James Hector Joubert (1777-1843), who at that time was directing the seminary’s special ministry to the Haitian refugee community. He was interested in opening a school for the daughters of this community. Elizabeth and Marie Magdaleine were recommended as teachers by one of his Sulpician confreres. He met with the two women and was deeply impressed with their learning and piety. As they discussed plans for the school, he proposed founding a new religious community that was dedicated to teaching children of color and they confided in him their desire to become religious women. Within the year, Elizabeth, Marie Magdaleine, and two other women, Rosine Boegue an immigrant from Haiti, and Almaide Duchemin, who had been Elizabeth and Marie Magdaleine’s student at their Fells Point school, were living in community at a house they rented near St. Mary’s Seminary. Here they began their formation as religious and opened a school, St. Frances Academy. The following year they received permission to form the first religious community for women of color in the United States. Two years later Pope Gregory XVI approved the community as an apostolic order dedicated to the education of African American children on October 2, 1831. Elizabeth took the religious name of Mary and was appointed the first superior general. Committed to serving where they were most needed, the community soon expanded their ministries to include caring for orphans and elderly widows. In time, they were conducting home visitations, serving as nurses during Baltimore’s yellow fever epidemics, operating a night school for adults, and offering spiritual direction, bible school, and vocational training to members of Baltimore’s African American community.

Over their history, the Oblates have established foundations across the United States, as well as in Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Africa. St. Frances Academy, the original school opened by the community in 1828, continues to educate young men and women today.

Mother Lange’s cause for canonization was introduced In 1991. She is now known as a “Servant of God.”

 

 

 

Rev. Narcisse L. Martin, PSS

(1845-1923)

Priest. Educator. Born and raised in Aire-sur-las-Lys, France, he was one of six children born to Porphyre and Vedastine Denain Martin. He was educated at the College of St. Omer and the seminary of the Diocese of Arras before transferring to the Seminary of St. Sulpice in Paris in 1867. He entered the Society of St. Sulpice at that time and was ordained a priest in 1869. He was assigned to the seminary of the Diocese of Rodez, where he remained for ten years serving on the faculty and as superior of the philosophy students. In 1880 he requested a transfer to the Sulpician seminary in Montreal, where he taught dogmatic theology for two years. It was during his time in Montreal that he authored a treatise on the Blessed Sacrament based on the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas that established his reputation as a respected Thomist scholar. In 1882 he became a member of the Sulpician community in Baltimore. He lived in residence at St. Mary’s Seminary (est. 1791) for the next eleven years, during which time he served as chaplain to St. Agnes Hospital. Called to pastoral work, he volunteered to serve at St. Peter’s Church, Waldorf, in 1894. A small rural parish in southern Maryland, the families that comprised the congregation were made up of former enslaved people and their former enslavers. Over the next twenty-nine years, Rev. Martin dedicated himself to meeting not only the spiritual and material needs of the community but addressing the deep racial tensions that had divided the families. He became involved in the lives of his parishioners through his program of evangelization, which included catechetical programs and home visitations, and charitable efforts, such as finding work for the unemployed, providing assistance to those in need, and caring for orphans and the sick. The fruits of his labors were reflected in the growth of the parish, among whom were counted a number of converts and lapsed Catholics. He used his personal funds to help restore and refurbish the church and build a rectory and established a mission at Baden, which became St. Michael’s Church. His cause for canonization is under consideration.

 

 

St. John Neumann

(1811-1860)

Priest. Missionary. Bishop. Saint. Born in Prachatice, Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) on March 28, 1811, he knew as a young man that he wanted to dedicate his life to God. He received his training at the diocesan seminary of Budweis but was unable to find placement with a diocese. He turned his attention to the United States, where the Catholic community was in great need of priests. When he departed his home in early 1836, it was with the knowledge that his return was unlikely. Shortly after his arrival, he was ordained for the Archdiocese of New York and sent to the western part of the state to serve the German immigrant population. It was a territory known as the Niagara Frontier and stretched from Lake Ontario to Pennsylvania. He ministered to the families of this region until 1840 when he entered the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists), a religious community that had a special ministry to German-speaking immigrants in this country. Upon entering the novitiate, he became the first priest to make his profession as a Redemptorist in the United States. Two years later in Baltimore he took his religious vows as a member of the congregation. He went between Baltimore and Pittsburgh over the next nine years, including assignments at St. Alphonsus Church and St. James the Less Church, Baltimore, and St. Augustine Church, Elkridge. In 1847 he became Provincial Superior for the United States, a position he held for the next five years. Of special significance to the Archdiocese of Baltimore during his term as Provincial Superior are the arrangements he made for the School Sisters of Notre Dame to come to Baltimore. They founded the Institute of Notre Dame (1847-2020) and went on to staff and found schools across the Archdiocese. In 1852 he was appointed fourth bishop of Philadelphia. A promoter of Catholic education, he is credited with establishing the first unified diocesan school system in the United States and authoring two catechisms that were adopted by diocese across the country. A gifted linguist, he was fluent in six languages, which allowed him to minister more effectively among the different immigrant groups represented in his diocese. During the seven years he served as bishop of Philadelphia, eighty-nine churches were built and hospitals and orphanages opened to serve the needs of the Catholic community. He was canonized in 1977.

 

Blessed Francis X. Seelos

(1819-1867)

Priest. Missionary. One of nine surviving children born to Mang and Frances Schwarzenbach Seelos in the Bavaria region of Germany, he was named for the great sixteenth-century Jesuit missionary St. Francis Xavier. His was a devout household, which included daily Mass and spiritual reading. The young Francis grew particularly close to his mother, as poor heath confined him to home for much of his childhood. These were issues he struggled with throughout his life. To help him cope, his mother instilled in him the necessity of maintaining a patient and cheerful attitude, qualities he became known for as an adult and why he is referred to as the Cheerful Ascetic. He discerned his vocation to the priesthood at an early age. With the assistance and encouragement of the parish priest, he was sent to Augsburg in 1832 to begin his studies and sent to the diocesan seminary at Dillengen in 1842 to complete his training. A visit to a nearby Redemptorist monastery in Altötting would change the course of his life. After learning about the community’s work in North America among German-speaking immigrants, he made the decision to enter the Redemptorists to serve with them as a missionary. He departed for the United States in early 1843 where he entered the community’s novitiate, then located in Baltimore. He made his profession of vows in May of the following year and was ordained to the priesthood at St. James the Less Church, Baltimore, in December of 1844. After serving in Pittsburgh for ten years, he returned to Baltimore in 1854, when he was appointed pastor of St. Alphonsus Church, Baltimore. He remained in Maryland for the next nine years, with assignments to SS. Peter and Paul Church, Cumberland, and St. Mary’s Church, Annapolis, before being assigned to a mission band in 1863. He travelled across the country conducting parish missions until he was transferred to Detroit in 1865. The following year he was sent to St. Mary’s Church in New Orleans where he died while caring for victims of a yellow fever outbreak in the fall of 1867. Wherever he served, he became known for his dedication to the poor, sick, and neglected. His reputation for holiness has drawn many to visit his grave, a number of whom have sought intercession from their “Blessed Father Seelos.” Stories of prayers answered and aid obtained have been numerous. He was beatified in 2000.

 

Artist: Rev. Peter Wm. Gray, PSS

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

(1774-1821)

Wife. Mother. Widow. Convert. Foundress. Saint. Born in New York City to a prominent family, she was raised in the Anglican tradition and educated at home. She married William Magee Seton in 1794 with whom she had five children. When her husband contracted tuberculosis, the couple traveled to Italy in 1803 to seek a cure. William, however, died at Pisa on December 27, 1804, and she was left a  widow at the age of 31. It was during this trip that Elizabeth was first exposed to Catholicism by the Filicchis, the family she stayed with while in Italy and remained close to for the rest of her life. She received instruction and entered the Catholic Church in 1805, not long after she returned home to New York. Ostracized by her family and with few resources to provide for her children, she came to Baltimore in June 1808 with the support and encouragement of Rev. Louis William DuBourg (1766-1833), a Sulpician priest, and Archbishop John Carroll (1735-1815). She took up residence with her children in a house located near the seminary operated by the Sulpicians, St. Mary’s (est. 1791). Here she opened a school for girls, became active with the local Catholic community, and received spiritual direction from the Sulpicians. Over the course of the next year, she discerned her religious vocation and desire to found a community of religious women. Others soon joined her and together they took the first step in this process when they pronounced their first vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience before Archbishop John Carroll on March 25, 1809 in St. Mary’s Seminary Chapel. The title of “mother” was conferred on Elizabeth by Archbishop Carroll at this time and she and her followers began to appear in public wearing the habit she had chosen for them. They departed for Emmitsburg several weeks later, where they formally established the religious community of the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph’s on July 31, 1809, the first community of religious women to be established in this country. The Sisters of Charity were founded as an apostolic women’s religious community devoted to serving the poorest of the poor and were soon involved in the founding and staffing of schools, hospitals, orphanages, social outreach and pastoral programs. Mother Seton remained in Emmitsburg until her death on January 4, 1821. She was canonized in 1975, the first native-born American to be proclaimed a saint.