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

  • 1. Journey of Faith: The Congregation of the Mission in the U.S.A.
  • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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