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NATCHITOCHES


710


NATCHITOCHES


emy for girls. In 1S48 he invited the Sisters of Charity to Natchez. At the First Plenary Council, in 1S52, Bishop Caanche was chief promoter. He died shortly after the sessions of the Council, at Frederick, Md., leaving his diocese with 11 priests, 11 churches erected, and 13 attendant missions. James ()li\er Xan de Velde was transferred from Chicago to Xachez, 29 July, 1853. He served the diocese but two years. On 23 Oct., 1853, he broke his leg, and a fever set in which quickly developed into yellow fever; he died 13 Nov., 1855. (See Chi- cago, Archdiocese of.) Bishop Van de Velde was succeeded bv William Henry Elder (q. v.). The next bishop, Fniiici.-^ .lan.ssens, was b. at Tillburg, North Brabant, llollaiid, studied at Louvain, and was or- dained 21 Dec, 1867. In 1870, he was rector of the cathedral at Richmond, Va., and later vicar-general of that diocese under Bishops Gibbons and Keane. He was consecrated Bishop of Natchez, 1 May, 1881, and promoted to be Archbishop of New Orleans, 7 August, 1888. Thomas Heslin was b. in County Longford, Ireland, 1847, and on the completion of his classical studies, came to America at the invita- tion of Archbishop Odin. He entered the seminary of Bouligny, New Orleans, was ordained in 1869, and was pastor of St. Michael's, New Orleans, when he received his appointment as Bishop of Natchez. He was consecrated in 1889.

The religious institutes represented (1910) in the diocese are: Lazarist Fathers; Josephite Fathers (three charges) ; Fathers of the Society of the Divine Word (three charges) ; Brothers of the Sacred Heart, (six charges); Sisters of Charity (Emmitsburg); Sis- ters of Charity (Nazareth); Sisters of the Perpetual Adoration; Sisters of St. Francis; Sisters of St. Joseph; Sisters of Mercy; School Sisters of Notre Dame; Sisters Marianites of the Holy Cross; Sisters of the Holy Ghost. There are 39 secular and 7 regular priests; 33 churches with resident priests, 42 missions, 31 stations, 18 chapels, 1 college for boys, 2 academies for girls, 32 parochial schools, 5 ecclesiastical stu- dents, 2 orphan asylums (158inmates). Totalofyoung people under Catholic care, 4,988; total Catholic popu- lation, 25,701.

Caiholic Directory (1910); Shea. Defenders of Our Faith; De CocRcY AND Shea, History of the Catholic Church in the U. S.

Brother Charles.

Natchitoches, Diocese of, former title of the pres- ent Diocese op Alexandria (Alexandbinensis), which comprises all the northern part of Louisiana above 31° N. lat., with an area of 22,212 square miles. The Venerable Antonio Margil (q. v.), whose canoniza- tion is in process, was the first priest to minister within the territory now forming the diocese. From the Ays Indians, west of the Sabine river, Father Margil heard of the Aday&s Indians, and in March, 1717, he located them near Spanish Lake, in what is now Sabine county, La. He founded the mission of San Miguel de Linares and built there probably the first church in Louisiana, for, according to the historian Martin, when Pdre Charlevoix reached New Orleans in 1721, he found there "about 100 cabins, two or three dwell- ing houses, and a miserable storehouse which had been at first occupied as a chapel, a shed being now used for that purpo.se". Leaving Father Gusman in charge. Father Margil joumej'ed on foot to Natchitoches to minister to the French Catholics there, and then went back to Texas. In 1718, during the brief war with Spain, St. Denis, the French Commandant at Natch- itoches, invaded the Adayes inis.sion, plundered it, and carried away the church vestments. leather ISIargil heard of it, and in 1721 came back, hunted up the .\dayes who had taken refuge in the forests for fear of the French, rebuilt their cliiirch, which he dedicated to our Lady of the Pillar, the patroness of the expedi- tion. For many years afterwards the Adayes mission was attended from San Antonio by the Franciscans,


who attended also the missions of Nacogdoches and St. Augustin, Texas. In 1725 there were .50 Catholic families at Natchitoches. In 1728 Father Maximin, a Capuchin, was in charge.

There is no record to show how the eastern portion of the diocese was evangelized; the Catholic names, how- ever, given to villages and lakes contiguous to the Mis.sissii)pi, show that priests must have visited that cduiilry, probably the Jesuits, who in the eighteenth century liacl charge of the Indians along the Mississippi under the Bishoj) of Quebec. The records show that in 1.S2'.) Father Martin of Avoyelles attended the Catho- lics on the Red, Black, and Ouachita rivers; that, in 1840 and after. Father J. Timon, afterwards Bishop of Buffalo, made regular trips from Texas to attend the north Louisiana missions, and that Father O'Brien, a Dominican from Louisville, attended yearly the Cath- olics along the Mississippi. The Catholics located on the rivers of the state often drifted to New Orleans on barges to have their marriages blessed and their chil- dren baptized, and came back cordelling their boats.

In 1852 the Fathers of the First Council of Balti- more recommended to the H0I3' See the division of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, the formation of the Dio- cese of Natchitoches and the appointment of Father Martin, parish priest at Natchitoches, as first bishop. Consecrated in 1853, he had four priests in the new diocese, three of whom returned to New Orleans, to which diocese they belonged, and one remained.

Bishop AuGD.sTus M. Martin (1802-1875), born in Brittany, inherited the deep faith of the Bretons. A prot(5g6 of Ahh6 Jean-Marie de Lamennais, as a sem- inarian, he was employed at the great Almonry of France in Paris under Cardinal Prince de Troy and Vicar-General J.-M. de Lamennais. There he came in contact with Montalembert and other disciples of Felicity de Lamennais, and acquired the polished man- ners that never left him. In 1839, while chaplain of the royal college in Rennes, he met Bishop de la Hay- landicre of Vincennes, came to Indiana with him, and for six years was his vicar-general. His health failing, he came to Louisiana, and in 1852 W0= vicar-general of Mgr Blanc of New Orleans. Bishop Martin left a collection of unpublished letters that tell interestingly the history of his diocese, his struggles with poverty, his many trips to France to recruit his clergy. A flu- ent writer, his letters to the Propagation of the Faith were inserted in the "Annals"; the bishops of the Sec- ond Council of Baltimore and those of the provincial Council of New Orleans delegated him to write letters of thanks to the directors of the Propagation of the Faith for their generous contributions. Both let- ters were reproduced in "Les Missions Catholiques". Bishop Martin left an organized diocese with 20 priests, the Sisters of the Sacred Heart with one con- vent at Natchitoches, and the Daughters of the Cross with their mother-house and several convents in the diocese.

He was succeeded by Bishop F. X. Leray, also a Breton, the hero of several yellow fever epidemics, and the founder of the Sisters of Mercy in the Diocese of Natchez. He remained in Natchitoches only two years, being selected as coadjutor to the Archbishop of New Orleans. He died in 1887.

Bishop Anthony Durier succeeded him. Born near Lyons, France, he came to this country in 1855, was pastor in New Orleans for 26 years, and one of the theologians of the Second Council of Baltimore. Con- secrated in 1.SS5, he died in 1904, having finished the cathedral and built an episcopal residence at Natchi- toches.

The present bi.shop is Right Rev. Cornelius Van de Ven, born at Oirschot, Holland, 16 June, 1865. He studied in the dioi-esan seminary of Bois-le-Duc, was ordained 31 M;iy, 1S90, and came to America the same year. After filling important posts in the Archdio- cese of New Orleans, he was consecrated Bishop of