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NASOR^ANS


705


NASORffiANS


arate tracts of land. The offer of the warrior-states- man was not accepted, however, ahhough many distinctly Catholic names are to be found to-day among the inhabitants of east Tennessee, probably due to the fact that the insurgents of Ireland were sold into a species of slavery by the English govern- ment to the American colonists. That they or their children have fallen from the old faith of their fathers can be accounted for by the fact that the exiles had then neither church nor priests, nor Catholic schools. For a good many years the present writer has been seeking information as to early Catholic settlers and Catholic work, but must confess the evidence very doubtful as to whether the first priestly ministrations were in the neighbourhood of Nashville or Knoxville. Civic history and geographical position seem to give the preference to Knoxville.

The first authentic records of a priest in Tennessee are contained in the archives of St. Mary's cathedral, Nashville, when Father Abell came (1820) from Bards- town to attend the few Catholics then living in Nash- ville. Shortly after his arrival. Father Abell under- took the building of the first church in Tennessee, at Nashville, a small building on what is now Capitol hill. The State Capitol now occupies the site. Father Abell visited Xasliville as a mission for four or five years, and then (1S49) Father Durbin took charge, and about the following year he was assisted by Father Brown who made Ross Landing (now Chattanooga) his headquarters, just previous to the advent of Bishop Miles. After a difficult journey on horseback and in a canoe from Bardstown, Ky., Bishop Miles took possession of his diocese and early in 1839, began his first episcopal visitation of Tennessee. At the end of his journey he declared that he did not find more than three hundred Catholics in Tennessee. In 1840, he again journeyed to Memphis to establish there the first church, under the management of Father Mc- Eleer; it has since been rebuilt as St. Peter's by the Dominicans. In 1844 he laid the corner stone of St. Mary's cathedral, Nashville. In addition mission churches were established in outlying stations so that in 1847 Bishop Miles was able to report to Rome that he had 6 priests, 6 churches, 8 chapels, and a Catholic population of about 1.500.

In 1849 a church was erected at Jack.son; in 1852 one at Chattanooga; in 1854 one at Knoxville; in 18.56, one at McEwen; in 1857 one at Edgefield (now East Nashville); in 18,58 one at Shelbyville (later dis- continued); and in 18.58 one at Nashville (church of the Assumption). Bishop Miles died on 19 February, 1800, at the outbreak of the Civil War, antl he was succeeded by Bishop V\'helan. His diocese became the great theatre of war; his cathedral was converted into a hospital; his flock scattered. The burden proved too great for his strength, and in 1863 he was forced to resign. Two years later Bishop Feehan succeeded him. Under his jurisdiction, new priests were added to the diocese, new churches were built, especially St. Patrick's (1866), St. Bridget's (1870), and St. Joseph's (1875), all at Memphis. In 1881 St. Columba's church in East Nashville was built, to replace the old St. John's church, which was burned down a few years previously. In the decade 1870-80, mission chapels were erected at Humboldt, Belview, and Lawrence- burg; Bishop Feehan reported to Rome (1880) that his diocese had 30 churches of which 18 had resident priests, besides numerous stations. This was a rapid growth, when we consider the ravages of pestilence which visited the people during 1873, 1878, and 1879, and which buried from the ranks of the Catholics in Memphis alone, twenty-two priests and thousands of lay people. In 1880 Bishop Feehan became the first Archbishop of Chicago, Illinois. Bishop Rade- macher succeeded him as Bishop of Nashville in 1883, but owing to ill-health his work was somewhat re- tarded, although some progress was made. During X.— 45


his administration St. Joseph's and St. Patrick's churches were built at Nashville. In July, 1893, Bishop Rademacher was transferred to the Diocese of Fort Wayne, Ind., where he died in 1900.

In 1894, the present head of the diocese, Bishop Byrne, was consecrated Bishop of Nashville, and his work has not only been that of restoration, but also of great progress; while the ranks of the clergy have been strengthened by the addition of many new men. Faith- ful and tireless in his energy, scholarly in his attain- ments, he has aroused the latent zeal in his clergy and people. Among his many undertakings may be men- tioned the building of the new pro-cathedral, the en- larging of the Assumption church and St. Joseph's church at Nashville, the building of the Holy Family church for coloured people at Nashville, the rebuilding of St. Patrick's church, and the building of the Sacred Heart church at Memphis, the building of the Holy Ghost church at Knoxville, besides numerous mis- sion chapels throughout the diocese. In addition to this he has directed the building or enlarging of various institutions of charity and learning. He also convoked, 10 Feb., 190,5, the first synod of the diocese, at which 34 priests were present, with 7 unavoidably absent. Scarcely had the diocese been formed, when its bishops and priests recognized the need of these institutions, and with their untir- ing energy, asylums, hospitals, and schools sprang into existence. Chief among them may be mentioned first of all that every parish having a residential pastor has also a Catholic school, and in addition there are four academies for young ladies, St. Agnes (Memphis), conducted by the Dominican (Ky.) Sisters, estab- lished in 1850; the Sacred Heart (Memphis), con- ducted by Dominican (Nashville) Sisters, established in 1890; St. Cecilia's (Nashville), conducted by Do- minican Sisters at their mother-house, established in 1860; St. Bernard's (Nashville), conducted by the Sisters of Mercy, established in IStiS. For the higher education and technical instruction of coloured girls, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament (Pa.) conduct an academy at Nashville, established in 1905. The Chris- tian Brothers at Memphis, since 1871, conduct a col- lege for young men. For charitable institutions, there are two well equipped orphanages, one at Nashville and one at Memphis; St. Jo.seph's Hospital at Mem- phis, erected in 1885, is conducted by the Sisters of St. Francis, while St. Thomas' Hospital at Nashville is conducted by the Sisters of Charity from Emmits- burg. The Sisters of the Good Shepherd have a home at Memphis for the reformation of wayward girls, and the Little Sisters of the Poor have an institution at Nashville for the aged and infirm. There are also in the diocese the Franciscans and the Dominicans, each with a parish church at Memphis; the Josephite Fathers, having churches at Nashville and Memphis; the Paulist Fathers, with a Mission house at Winches- ter; the Sisters of the Precious Blood (Maria Stein), having a school at Lawrenceburg. Bishop Byrne has at present (1910) under his direction, 46 priests; 25 parishes with a resident priest and parochial schools, and under Catholic care in schools and institutions for children, about 5000 pupils; the total Catholic popu- lation is between 20,000 and 25,000.

Jas. T. Lorigan.

Nasoreeans, sometimes called Mand^ans, S.\- BiAN.s, or Chri.stian.s of St. John, are pagan Gnostics who shortly before the rise of Christianity, formed asect which flourished in Mesopotamia and Babylonia, and which was one of the foremost religions in Western Asia in the early years of Mohammedanism. Though some 2000 families strong in the seventeenth century, they have dwindled at the present day to some 1500 adherents living on the Shat-el-Arab near the Persian Gulf. It is the only Gnostic sect that has survived and the sacred writings of which are still extant; a few