For New Mexico French Bishops/Archbishops, please scroll down.
There has been over 1,400 Catholic Bishops in the United States since 1790. In the late 18th and 19th centuries, there were about 235 Bishops, of whom about 40 were French or French-speaking. They had prominent postings and their influence extended beyond their mere numbers.
To pay tribute to a few of them, we will remember here:
Benedict Joseph Flaget, from Auvergne, served as the Bishop of the Diocese of Bardstown between 1808 and 1839, then as Bishop of Louisville between 1839 and 1850.
Jean-Louis Lefebvre de Cheverus, first bishop of Boston (1810 – 1823). His work in New England, covering twenty-seven years, included every form of missionary activity.
Jean Dubois, appointed in 1826 first Bishop of New York. He is buried under the sidewalk at the entrance to the Old St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, which he requested, so that people could “walk on me in death, as they did while I was living“.
Michel Portier, Vicar Apostolic of Alabama and the Floridas in 1825, and first bishop of the Diocese of Mobile in 1829.
Leo-Raymond de Neckère, Bishop of New Orleans from 1830 until his death in 1833.
Louis William Valentine Dubourg, who became President of the Georgetown College in 1796, serving for about two years. He went on to found St. Mary’s College in Baltimore, serving as its President for thirteen years. He then became Bishop of Louisiana and the Floridas and led the American presence of the Catholic Church in the region.
Simon William Gabriel Bruté de Rémur, the first bishop of the Diocese of Vincennes, Indiana, in 1834. President John Quincy Adams called Bruté “the most learned man of his day in America“.
Antoine Blanc, fifth Bishop and first Archbishop of the Archdiocese of New Orleans in 1850.
Célestine René Laurent Guynemer de la Hailandière, Bishop of Vincennes (now Indianapolis), from 1839 to 1847.
Jean-Marie Odin, first Vicar Apostolic of Texas (1841), first Bishop of Galveston (1847-1861), and second Archbishop of New Orleans (1861-1870).
François Norbert Blanchet, a French Canadian, instrumental in establishing the Catholic Church presence in the Pacific Northwest and the first bishop and archbishop of the Archdiocese of Oregon City.
Augustin-Magloire Blanchet, (brother of François Norbert) was the Bishop of Walla Walla in 1846 until 1850 and then the Bishop of the Diocese of Nesqually, which later became Diocese of Seattle.
Jean-Baptiste Miège, Vicar Apostolic of Kansas (1851 – 1874).
And Augustus-Marie Martin, first Bishop of Natchitoches, Louisiana (1853 – 1875).
After 1900, there were no more French bishops, except for Jean-Baptiste Pitaval, the last of the first five French bishops and archbishops in Santa Fe.
Courtesy of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe:
Most Rev. John B. Lamy, D.D. – born October 11, 1814 in Lempdes, France; ordained December 1838; consecrated First Vicar Apostolic of New Mexico and Titular Bishop of Agathonica November 24, 1850; appointed First Bishop of Santa Fe July 29, 1853; created First Archbishop February 12, 1875; pallium conferred June 16, 1875; resigned July 18, 1885; appointed Titular Archbishop of Cizicus August 18, 1885; died February 13, 1888 in Santa Fe, NM.
Most Rev. John B. Salpointe, D.D. – born February 21, 1825 in St. Maurice-de-Poinsat, France; ordained December 20, 1851; consecrated Titular Bishop of Dorylaeum and First Vicar Apostolic of Arizona June 20, 1869; appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Santa Fe cum jure succesionis April 22, 1884; promoted Titular Archbishop of Anazarba October 11, 1884; succeeded to the See of Santa Fe July 18, 1885; pallium conferred November 21, 1885; resigned January 7, 1894; Titular Archbishop of Tomi 1894-1898; died July 15, 1898 in Tuscon, Arizona.
Most Rev. Placid L. Chapelle, D.D. – born August 28, 1842 in Runes, France; ordained June 28, 1865; appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Santa Fe August 21, 1891; consecrated Coadjutor Archbishop of Santa Fe cum jure succesionis November 1, 1891; succeeded to See of Santa Fe January 7, 1894; pallium conferred October 17, 1895; transferred to be Archbishop of New Orleans December 1, 1897; Apostolic Delegate for Puerto Rico & Cuba 1898; Apostolic Delegate for the Phillipines 1899; died August 9, 1905 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Most Rev. Peter Bourgade, D.D. – born October 17, 1845 in Vollore-Ville, France, ordained November 30, 1869; appointed Vicar Apostolic of Arizona February 7, 1885; consecrated May 1, 1885; became First Bishop of Tuscon and Titular Bishop of Thaumacum May 8, 1897; promoted Archbishop of Santa Fe January 7, 1899; died May 17, 1908 in Chicago, Illinois.
Most Rev. John B. Pitaval D.D. – born February 10, 1858 in St. Genis-Terrenoire, France; ordained December 24, 1881; appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Santa Fe May 15, 1902; consecrated Titular Bishop of Sora and Auxiliary Bishop of Santa Fe July 25, 1902; promoted Archbishop of Santa Fe January 3, 1909; resigned February 1918; appointed Titular Archbishop of Amida July 29, 1918; died May 23, 1928 in Denver, Colorado.