First priest ordained in the United States

Who knew?

From my blog neighbor Pat McNamara:

The first Catholic priest ordained within the limits of the original thirteen States of the Union, pioneer missionary of Kentucky, b. at Orléans, France, 17 July, 1768; d. at Cincinnati, Ohio, 21 April, 1853. Educated at Montaigu College, Paris, he entered the Sulpician Seminary of his native city in 1789. He was subdeacon when the seminary was closed by the revolutionary government, in 1791, and sailed from Bordeaux for the American mission in November of the same year, with the Revs. B.J. Flaget and J.B. David, both destined in God’s providence to wear the mitre in Kentucky.

They arrived in Philadelphia on the 26th of March, 1792, and were welcomed at Baltimore by Bishop Carroll on the 28th. Stephen T. Badin pursued his theological studies with the Sulpicians and was ordained a priest by Bishop Carroll, 25 May, 1793. His was the first ordination in the United States. After a few months spent at Georgetown to perfect himself in English, Father Badin was appointed to the Mission of Kentucky. He left for that scene of his apostolic labours with Father Barrières, 3 September, 1793, travelled on foot as far as Pittsburgh, and by flat boat down the Ohio, landing at Limestone (Maysville), Ky., where they found twenty Catholic families. They walked sixty-five miles to Lexington, and on the first Sunday of Advent, 1793, Father Badin said his first Mass in Kentucky at the house of Denis McCarthy.

He settled at White Sulphur, Scott County, sixteen miles from Lexington, and for about eighteen months attended this church and neighbouring missions. In April, 1794, his companion, who resided in Bardstown, left for New Orleans, and Father Badin was now alone in the Kentucky mission. For fourteen years he attended to the spiritual wants of the various Catholic settlements, scattered over an extent of more than 120 miles, forming new congregations, building churches, never missing an appointment. To visit his missions regularly he had to live in the saddle, and it is estimated that he rode more than 100,000 miles during his ministry in Kentucky.

Read it all.  Fascinating stuff.


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