Journey of Faith:
The Congregation of the Mission in the U.S.A.
Saint	
  Vincent	
  had	
  first	
  sent	
  his	
  priests	
  to	
  Rome	
  as	
  a	
  
way	
  of	
  having	
  direct	
  co...
One	
  evening,	
  on	
  returning	
  to	
  Monte	
  Citorio,	
  Dubourg	
  
heard	
  a	
  young	
  Vincen9an	
  priest	
 ...
A[er	
  their	
  arrival	
  in	
  America,	
  the	
  missionaries	
  were	
  
to	
  be	
  given	
  a	
  month	
  to	
  sur...
Since	
  the	
  an9cipated	
  seminary	
  was	
  to	
  be	
  
founded	
  in	
  lower	
  Louisiana,	
  the	
  study	
  of	
...
Shortly	
  therea[er	
  they	
  again	
  divided	
  into	
  two	
  groups	
  and	
  met	
  at	
  
Bordeaux	
  in	
  early	...
On	
  24	
  April,	
  they	
  were	
  stunned	
  by	
  a	
  leTer	
  from	
  
Dubourg	
  that	
  informed	
  them	
  of	
 ...
Arrangements	
  were	
  made	
  to	
  sail	
  on	
  an	
  
American	
  brig	
  called	
  The	
  Ranger,	
  which	
  
weigh...
Sea	
  voyages	
  in	
  that	
  age	
  were	
  dangerous	
  
and	
  uncomfortable,	
  and	
  this	
  one	
  was	
  no	
  
...
De	
  Andreis	
  wrote,	
  "Our	
  first	
  
impulse	
  on	
  landing	
  was	
  to	
  kneel	
  
and	
  kiss	
  the	
  groun...
Following	
  instruc9ons	
  he	
  had	
  received	
  from	
  Dubourg,	
  De	
  Andreis	
  
immediately	
  wrote	
  to	
  B...
The	
  Sulpicians	
  at	
  Saint	
  Mary's	
  took	
  up	
  a	
  collec9on	
  in	
  the	
  city	
  to	
  
help	
  with	
  ...
The	
  journey,	
  as	
  described	
  by	
  De	
  Andreis,	
  
was	
  harrowing.	
  The	
  roads	
  were	
  primi9ve	
  
a...
Though	
  they	
  were	
  well	
  received	
  and	
  
lodged	
  by	
  both	
  Catholics	
  and	
  non-­‐
Catholics	
  in	
...
The	
  missioners	
  had	
  9me	
  to	
  enjoy	
  the	
  
beau9es	
  of	
  the	
  new	
  country	
  and	
  to	
  
stroll	
...
Thus,	
  the	
  first	
  Vincen9ans	
  who	
  traveled	
  from	
  France	
  had	
  
arrived	
  in	
  Bardstown,	
  KY.	
  T...
Bishop	
  Dubourg	
  was	
  ini9ally	
  displeased	
  with	
  the	
  decision	
  to	
  stay
at	
  Bardstown,	
  but	
  a[e...
While	
  Flaget	
  was	
  trying	
  to	
  ignite	
  some	
  enthusiasm	
  for	
  
Dubourg's	
  coming,	
  a	
  delega9on	
...
Flaget	
  returned	
  with	
  Rosa9	
  to	
  Bardstown,	
  which	
  they	
  
reached	
  on	
  6	
  November.	
  De	
  Andr...
By	
  April,	
  Dubourg	
  had	
  an	
  opportunity	
  
to	
  visit	
  the	
  site	
  personally.	
  He	
  was	
  
sa9sfied...
During	
  this	
  9me	
  De	
  Andreis	
  remained	
  in	
  St.	
  Louis.	
  
He	
  helped	
  evangelize	
  the	
  African...
The	
  move	
  of	
  the	
  remainder	
  of	
  the	
  faculty	
  and	
  
seminarians	
  from	
  Bardstown	
  to	
  the	
  ...
During	
  the	
  nineteenth	
  century	
  St.	
  Mary’s	
  func9oned	
  as	
  a	
  lay	
  college,	
  a	
  
Vincen9an	
  s...
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The American Vincentians: A Popular History of the Congregation
of the Mission in the United States 1815-1987 by J...
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Journey of Faith: History of the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians) in the U.S.A.

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A history of the CM Vincentian order of priests and brothers in America

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Journey of Faith: History of the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians) in the U.S.A.

  1. 1. Journey of Faith: The Congregation of the Mission in the U.S.A.
  2. 2. Saint  Vincent  had  first  sent  his  priests  to  Rome  as  a   way  of  having  direct  communica9ons  with  the  Holy   See  (1631).  By  1659,  the  Vincen9ans  were  able  to   find  a  permanent  residence  in  the  Monte  Citorio   district  of  Rome.  This  was  to  be  the  star9ng  point  of   the  American  Vincen9an  mission. In  1815,  Louis  William  Valen9ne  Dubourg,  a   Sulpician  priest  who  had  been  named  apostolic   administrator  of  Louisiana  (a  sprawling  area  which   had  come  under  American  rule  in  1803),  went  to   Rome  to  recruit  priests.  On  his  arrival  in  Rome,  he   found  out  that  Louisiana  was  to  be  made  into  a   diocese  and  that  he  was  to  be  its  first  bishop.  He   resolved,  however,  not  to  accept  the  appointment,   unless  he  could  obtain  sufficient  priests. Coming to America: Origins Bishop  Dubourg
  3. 3. One  evening,  on  returning  to  Monte  Citorio,  Dubourg   heard  a  young  Vincen9an  priest  giving  a  spiritual   conference  to  a  group  of  clerics.  So  deeply  impressed   was  the  bishop-­‐elect  that  he  resolved  to  have  this   priest,  and  perhaps  more  of  his  Community,  for  his   sparsely  seTled  diocese.  The  young  priest's  name  was   Felix  De  Andreis.   De  Andreis  had  long  wanted  to  serve  on  the  foreign   missions,  especially  China.  Dubourg  spoke  to  the   young  priest  and  asked  him  to  accompany  him  to  the   United  States,  primarily  to  establish  a  seminary  in   Louisiana.  Two  days  later  Dubourg  had  an  audience   with  the  Pope  and  received  final  approval  for  De   Andreis  and  five  or  more  other  Vincen9ans  to  go  to   Louisiana. Coming to America: Origins Felix  De  Andreis,  C.M.
  4. 4. A[er  their  arrival  in  America,  the  missionaries  were   to  be  given  a  month  to  survey  the  local  scene  and   discern  its  needs.  Before  seTling  in  any  place  or   parish,  the  missionaries  would  start  with  a  mission   “in  order  to  make  a  good  beginning  and  promote  the   solid  and  permanent  welfare  of  these  poor  souls…”   whose  state  could  not  “be  otherwise  than   deplorable,”  “through  ignorance  and  vice,  since   neglec9s  urenda  filix  innascitur  agris  ["in  neglected   fields  there  springs  up  the  coarse  fern  which  must  be   burned"  Horace,  Sa9res  1,3,37.]” It  was  also  foreseen  that  they  would  erect  a   seminary  as  soon  as  possible,  aided  by  the  modest   fees  required  of  the  seminarists.  All  of  this  sounded   simple  enough,  but  as  we  will  see,  their  journey  had   many  tedious  and  difficult  turns. The Plan
  5. 5. Since  the  an9cipated  seminary  was  to  be   founded  in  lower  Louisiana,  the  study  of  French   was  necessary.  The  missionaries  would  depart   from  Rome  in  two  groups,  one  of  which  would   travel  by  sea,  the  other  by  land,  un9l  they  would   eventually  meet  in  Toulouse.   BY  SEA   A[er  a  journey  of  more  than  two  months,  the   missionaries  arrived  at  Toulouse  on  19  January   1816. BY  LAND From  Piacenza  the  small  band  went  to  France  by   way  of  the  Alps,  a  perilous  journey  in  the  depth   of  winter.  They  joined  their  fellow  missionaries  at   Toulouse  on  25  January  1816.   The Journey, Part 1: Rome to Toulouse
  6. 6. Shortly  therea[er  they  again  divided  into  two  groups  and  met  at   Bordeaux  in  early  February,  1816.  They  stayed  there  almost  four   months,  during  which  everyone  studied  French,  and  the  priests   ministered  and  preached  in  the  local  parishes.   The Journey, Part 2: Toulouse to Bordeaux The  former  seminary  at  Bordeaux,   as  it  looks  today
  7. 7. On  24  April,  they  were  stunned  by  a  leTer  from   Dubourg  that  informed  them  of  two  important   changes.  The  first:  he  would  not  be  journeying  to   America  with  them.  The  second:  the  site  of  the   proposed  seminary  had  been  changed  from  lower   to  upper  Louisiana.   The  impulsive  bishop  had  administered  a  major   shock  to  the  small  band!  His  original  inten9on  had   been  to  found  the  seminary  near  New  Orleans.   But  adverse  circumstances  there  caused  Dubourg   to  change  his  see  to  St.  Louis.  English  now  became   as  important  as  French,  and  the  missionaries   would  have  to  undertake  the  study  of  a  new  and   complex  language.  Two  of  the  priests  gave  up  in   despair  and  abandoned  the  group.  Two  new   recruits,  however,  came  forward. Change of Plans
  8. 8. Arrangements  were  made  to  sail  on  an   American  brig  called  The  Ranger,  which   weighed  anchor  at  midnight  on  12/13  June   1816.  On  board  were  thirteen  missionaries:   De  Andreis,  Rosa9,  Acquaroni,  Carreo,   Ferrari,  Deys,  Dahmen,  Gonzalez,  Tichitoli,   Blanka,  Flegifont,  Boranvaski,  and  de  LaTre.   Before  boarding  the  ship,  they  made  one   last  break  with  their  pasts:  they  laid  aside   their  cassocks  and  donned  the  black  suits,   9es,  and  round  hats  that  were   characteris9c  of  the  American  clergy.   The  group  quickly  turned  the  ship  into  a   floa9ng  seminary.  Spiritual  exercises  were   held  with  regularity,  and  classes  were  given   in  theology  and  English. The Journey, Part 3: Bordeaux to Baltimore
  9. 9. Sea  voyages  in  that  age  were  dangerous   and  uncomfortable,  and  this  one  was  no   excep9on.   Some  were  afflicted  by  sea  sickness.   They  encountered  at  least  one  serious   storm.   The  missionaries  made  a  novena  to  St.   Vincent,  and  fasted.  Their  prayers  were   answered:  on  26  July  they  arrived  safely   at  Bal9more.   Arrival in Baltimore
  10. 10. De  Andreis  wrote,  "Our  first   impulse  on  landing  was  to  kneel   and  kiss  the  ground  but  the  place   where  we  disembarked  was  so   crowded  that  we  deferred  doing   that." The  band  had  landed  in  a  foreign   country,  with  a  limited  command   of  the  local  language,  and  eighty   pieces  of  baggage.  They  were   quickly  welcomed  and  helped  by   the  Sulpicians  of  Saint  Mary's   Seminary.  Some  lodged  at  the   seminary,  while  others  were  given   hospitality  in  two  local  parishes.   Arrival in Baltimore
  11. 11. Following  instruc9ons  he  had  received  from  Dubourg,  De  Andreis   immediately  wrote  to  Benedict  Joseph  Flaget,  also  a  Sulpician  and  the   bishop  of  Bardstown,  Kentucky.  Flaget  quickly  replied,  urging  the  group   to  come  to  Kentucky  before  the  onset  of  winter. On the Road Again: to Kentucky Nazareth, KY is 3 miles north of Bardstown. In 1813, there were 6 Sisters of Charity there and Catherine Spalding was named their first Mother Superior. Side Note: Bishop  Flaget
  12. 12. The  Sulpicians  at  Saint  Mary's  took  up  a  collec9on  in  the  city  to   help  with  the  expenses  of  the  journey  and  donated  some  books for  the  proposed  seminary.  The  Jesuit  superior  at  Georgetown   also  contributed  funds.  De  Andreis  made  prepara9ons  for   departure.  The  band  was  again  divided  into  two  groups.  The   first,  under  the  leadership  of  Brother  Blanka,  was  to  go  on  foot   to  PiTsburgh  together  with  the  wagons  carrying  the  baggage.   They  departed  on  3  September  1816.  The  second  group,  led  by   De  Andreis,  le[  by  stagecoach  a  week  later. First step to Kentucky: Baltimore to Pittsburgh
  13. 13. The  journey,  as  described  by  De  Andreis,   was  harrowing.  The  roads  were  primi9ve   and  dangerous.  At  one  point  Acquaroni  and   two  companions  became  lost.  At  another  a   landslide  almost  killed  them  all.  The  climax   came  when  the  stagedriver  decided  that  he   could  not  cross  the  flooded  Juniata  River   and  le[  his  passengers  at  an  inn.  They   eventually  crossed  by  canoe  and  caught   another  stage  on  the  other  side.  For  the   last  segment  of  their  trip  they  were   compelled  to  abandon  the  stagecoach   altogether,  put  their  possessions  in  a   wagon,  and  walk  to  PiTsburgh.  It  had  taken   them  nine  days  to  cover  240  miles.  It  is   small  wonder  that  De  Andreis  admiTed  to   feelings  of  melancholy  as  he  recalled  the   beauty  and  warmth  of  Rome. First stage to Kentucky: Baltimore to Pittsburgh Pain@ng  “The  Juniata  River”   by  George  Inness.  Near  Harrisburg,  PA Nego@a@ng  a  muddy  road
  14. 14. Though  they  were  well  received  and   lodged  by  both  Catholics  and  non-­‐ Catholics  in  PiTsburgh,  they  were   delayed  there  because  Brother   Blanka  had  not  arrived  with  the   baggage.  When  he  did,  the  Ohio   River  was  too  low  to  permit  them  to   take  a  flatboat.  It  was  not  un9l  26   October  1816  that  the  river  had   risen  sufficiently  to  permit  their   departure.   The  flatboat  was  immediately   converted  into  another  floa9ng   seminary,  with  a  fixed  schedule  of   spiritual  exercises  and  classes.   Second stage to Kentucky: Pittsburgh to Louisville Flatboat  descending  the  Ohio  River.
  15. 15. The  missioners  had  9me  to  enjoy  the   beau9es  of  the  new  country  and  to   stroll  along  the  riverbanks  during   stopovers.  Rosa9  admired  the  color   and  variety  of  American  birds,  though   he  considered  their  song  inferior  to   those  of  Europe.  De  Andreis,  on  the   other  hand,  was  more  concerned   about  his  first  sight  of  raTlesnakes,   which  he  described  in  detail  in  leTers   to  Europe. They  reached  Louisville  on  19   November  and  were  immediately   invited  by  Flaget  to  come  to  the   seminary  of  Saint  Thomas,  a  few   miles  south  of  Bardstown,  where  he   had  his  residence. Second stage to Kentucky: Pittsburgh to Louisville On  the  banks  of  the  Ohio  River.
  16. 16. Thus,  the  first  Vincen9ans  who  traveled  from  France  had   arrived  in  Bardstown,  KY.  The  original  inten9on  was  to  leave   the  clerics  at  the  seminary  of  St.  Thomas  while  the  rest  of   the  expedi9on  went  to  St.  Louis.  Because  of  oncoming   winter  and  the  lack  of  accommoda9ons  in  St.  Louis,  it  was   decided  that  all  would  spend  the  winter  at  St.  Thomas.  As  it   turned  out,  they  spent  almost  two  years  there.  They  studied   theology,  French,  and  English,  and  the  priests  ministered  to   Catholics  scaTered  through  Kentucky  and  Indiana. Settling Temporarily in Bardstown St.  Joseph  Cathedral,   Bardstown,  KY.  The   cornerstone  was  laid   in  1816  and  the  first   services  conducted  in   1819.  It  is  the  first   cathedral  west  of  the   Allegheny  Mountains.   Ins@tu@on  s@ll  in   opera@on. First  chapel  at  St.  Thomas.
  17. 17. Bishop  Dubourg  was  ini9ally  displeased  with  the  decision  to  stay at  Bardstown,  but  a[er  his  arrival  in  Bal9more  with  new  recruits for  the  mission  (September  1817)  he  asked  De  Andreis,  Rosa9, Blanka,  and  Flaget  to  go  to  Saint  Louis  to  prepare  for  his  arrival there.  When  they  arrived  there  in  October  they  found  a  town  of 2000  persons,  wooden  buildings,  unpaved  streets,  and  no   resident  priest.  They  were  also  disappointed  to  discover  that  the   local  Catholics  were  totally  apathe9c  about  the  arrival  of  their   bishop. Kentucky to St. Louis, Missouri Engraving,  on  a  ten  dollar  note  issued  by  the  Bank  of  St.  Louis  in  1817;   the  earliest  known  illustra@on  of  St.  Louis.
  18. 18. While  Flaget  was  trying  to  ignite  some  enthusiasm  for   Dubourg's  coming,  a  delega9on  arrived  from  the   Barrens  SeTlement,  about  eighty  miles  south  of  the   city.  They  represented  a  small  colony  of  Catholics  of   English  descent  who  had  migrated  from  Maryland  by way  of  Kentucky  early  in  the  century  and  who  were   eager  to  have  the  services  of  a  resident  priest.  Up  to   that  9me  the  seTlement  was  only  visited  by  a  priest   once  a  month.   The  delegates  made  a  preliminary  offer  of  a  tract  of   land  for  the  proposed  seminary,  in  return  for  which   they  would  have  the  ministra9ons  of  the  seminary   priests. Laying Plans and Getting Started in St. Louis Benedict  Joseph  Flaget
  19. 19. Flaget  returned  with  Rosa9  to  Bardstown,  which  they   reached  on  6  November.  De  Andreis,  who  was  in  delicate   health,  stayed  at  Sainte  Genevieve,  Missouri.  On  1   December  Bishop  Dubourg  arrived  at  St.  Thomas,   accompanied  by  five  priests,  one  deacon,  two  subdeacons,   nine  seminarians,  three  Chris9an  Brothers,  and  five  Flemish   laymen  who  intended  to  form  a  community  of  brothers.   Dubourg  was  determined  to  go  immediately  to  his  new  see   city  in  spite  of  the  inclemencies  of  winter.  He  le[  on  12   December,  together  with  Flaget,  Father  Stephen  Badin   (who  was  the  first  priest  ever  ordained  in  the  United  States   in  1793),  and  a  seminarian.  On  31  December  they  reached   Sainte  Genevieve  and  were  welcomed  by  De  Andreis.   When  Dubourg  and  De  Andreis  arrived  in  Saint  Louis  on  6   January  1818,  another  deputa9on  from  the  Barrens,   consis9ng  of  the  trustees  of  the  parish  church,  awaited   them  to  discuss  the  offer  of  land. Arrival of Bishop Dubourg Rosa@,  who  later   became  the  first   bishop  of  the  new   St.  Louis  diocese Dubourg
  20. 20. By  April,  Dubourg  had  an  opportunity   to  visit  the  site  personally.  He  was   sa9sfied  both  with  regard  to  the  land   and  the  disposi9ons  of  the  people.   The  offer  was  accepted,  and  the   seminary  was  to  be  established  at  the   Barrens  SeTlement,  now  Perryville,   Missouri. The  offer  was  of  640  acres  of  land.   The  parishioners  subscribed  $1500  to   be  paid  in  five  yearly  installments  for   the  construc9on  of  "a  seminary  of   learning"  on  the  land. Arrival of Bishop Dubourg
  21. 21. During  this  9me  De  Andreis  remained  in  St.  Louis.   He  helped  evangelize  the  African-­‐Americans,  both   slave  and  free.  It  caused  some  surprise  among  the   local  popula9on  that  a  man  of  culture  and  gen9lity   would  do  such  work.  Equally  notable  was  his   concern  for  the  Na9ve  Americans.  De  Andreis  was   fascinated  by  the  possibility  of  being  a  missionary  to   the  Indians  and  apparently  achieved  some  mastery   of  the  local  dialect.  He  translated  the  Our  Father  and   intended  to  begin  a  catechism.  On  3  December  1818   he  opened  the  first  American  novi9ate  of  the   Congrega9on  of  the  Mission  in  Saint  Louis,  using  a   small  house  on  church  property  next  to  the  bishop's   house.  He  called  the  novi9ate  Gethsemane  and   considered  it  the  one  thing  closest  to  his  heart.  At   about  the  same  9me  he  began  teaching  theology  in   a  boys  school  founded  by  Bishop  Dubourg,  the   predecessor  of  the  present  Saint  Louis  University. Meanwhile, Back in St. Louis... De  Andreis  and  the  Indians.
  22. 22. The  move  of  the  remainder  of  the  faculty  and   seminarians  from  Bardstown  to  the  Barrens  was   delayed  for  over  a  year.  One  obstacle  was  the   slow  pace  of  construc9on  of  the  new  seminary.   Neverthless  on  15  September,  twenty-­‐five   priests,  brothers,  and  seminarians  le[  Saint   Thomas,  going  by  boat  to  the  junc9on  of  the  Ohio   and  Mississippi  and  from  there  by  land  to  the   Barrens  arriving  2  October.  Since  the  buildings   were  not  ready  for  them,  and  they  had  to  lodge   with  some  of  the  local  people.  At  the  site  of  the   seminary  itself  there  were  only  three  log  cabins,   one  of  which  served  as  a  kitchen  and  refectory,   the  other  two  as  lodgings  for  those  designing  and   building  the  seminary. The  seminary  of  Saint  Mary's  of  the  Barrens  had   begun  its  long  and  evenvul  history. Completion of the Move to the Barrens One  of  the  cabins St.  Mary’s  of  the  Barrens  Seminary
  23. 23. During  the  nineteenth  century  St.  Mary’s  func9oned  as  a  lay  college,  a   Vincen9an  seminary,  diocesan  seminary,  parish,  working  farm,  and  small   academy.  The  diocesan  seminary  was  relocated  to  St.  Louis  in  1842,  and  in   1868  the  Vincen9an  seminary  moved  to  Germantown,  Philadelphia,   Pennsylvania.  The  division  of  the  American  Province  into  East  and  West  led  to   the  reopening  of  St.  Mary’s  as  an  apostolate  school  in  1886.  Two  years  later   the  novi9ate  and  scholas9scate  returned.  In  1888,  St.  Mary’s  once  again   became  an  ac9ve  seminary  and  served  as  the  Western  Province's  house  of   forma9on  un9l  the  mid  1980s. St. Mary’s of the Barrens
  24. 24. Source: The American Vincentians: A Popular History of the Congregation of the Mission in the United States 1815-1987 by John Rybolt, C.M. http://via.library.depaul.edu/vincentian_ebooks/18/ Other interesting links to explore: archive.org/stream/historicaltribut00howl#page/n7/mode/2up news.library.depaul.press/full-text/2012/09/05/felix-deandreis/ newadvent.org/cathen/01470c.htm

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