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BECKER


382


BECQUEREL


that the Catholic Church was the true Apostolic Church. It was not an easy step for one in liis posi- tion to follow up his conviction; but the death of a be- loved child decided him and he informed the king of his resolve. The kindly crown-prince advised a con- sultation with Bishop SaUer of Ratisbon, and a few days' intercourse with this prelate sufficed to prepare Beckedorff for abjuration, Holy Communion, and Confirmation in June, 1827. His dismissal from public office quickly followed and he withdrew with his family from the capital to CJrunhof in Pomerania. Beckedorff now devoted himself to the manage- ment of his estate and the education of his children, but his abilities were too marked to suffer this retire- ment for long. In spite of repeated refusals of the Government to ratify his election, his admiring countryinen chose him again as their deputy. It was not until the accession of King Frederick William, however, that his rights and merits were recognized. In reparation for the injustice done, the king raised him to the nobility and made him president of the state agricultural department. Two volumes on agricultural economy attest his competence in an entirely new office and his zeal in the service of his country. With the still higher aim of furthering religious union and peace he published several worl^ on the mutual relations of family, school. State, and Church. His work, "The Catholic Truth, Words of Peace", went through three editions and still ranks as an excellent popular manual of apologetics. Nowhere was Beckedorff's influence felt more than at Griinhof and in its neighbourhood. Having learned that some Catholics were scattered throughout the district, he built a chiu-ch for them and main- tained the resident priest in his own house. He foimded also a school and home for poor children and entrusted them to the Sisters of Charity; both of these institutions began to flourish during his lifetime.

RosENTH.lL, Converlitenbilder aus dem XIX. Jahrhundert 1 ISatisbon, 1889), I, i, 481 sqq.

Charles B. Schrantz.

Becker, Thomas Andrew, si.xth Bishop of Savan- nah, Georgia, U. S. A., b. at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, 20 December, 1832; d. at Washington, Georgia, 29 July, 1899. His parents were German Protestants and he became a convert in early manhood. He made his theological course at the College of Propaganda, Rome, where he was ordained 18 July, 1859. Re- turning to the United States, he was given charge of a mission at Martinsburg, West Virginia, whence he went to Moimt St. Mary's College, Emmitsburg, to act as one of the professors. Archbishop Spalding then made him his secretary. Later he was sent to St. Peter's Church, Richmond, Virginia, and while there was appointed, 3 March, 1868, first Bishop of the new Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware, for which he was consecrated by Archbishop Spalding at Baltimore, 16 August, 1868. He ruled this diocese until, on the promotion (1 February, 1885) of Bishop William H. Gross from Savannah to the Arch- bishopric of Oregon City, Bishop Becker was trans- ferred to the See of Savannah, 26 March. 1886. He was regarded as one of the most accomplished bishops of his day, and was noted for his ability as a linguist. He was one of the secretaries of the Fourth Plenary Council of Baltimore, and contributed frequently to current re\-iews and periodicals. A series of articles in the "American Catholic Quarteriy Re\-iew " on the idea of a true university attracted wide attention. He was devoted always to the cause of temperance, and by a clause in his will left $15,000 in trust for twenty-five years for the education of worthy and deserving young men, on condition that they be .American born, total abstainers, and willing to de- vote their energies to the ser\-ice of the Diocese of Savannah.


Catholic News, files (New York. 5 ,\ig:ust. 1S89): Recss, Biographical Cyclopedia of the Catholic Hifrarchy (Milwaukee, 1898); Shea, History of the Cath. Ch. in U. S. (New York, 1894); Catholic Directory (New York. 18GS-90).

Thom.^s F. Meehan.

Becket, Tho.mas. See Thom.\s Becket, St.

Beckx, Pierre-Jean, twenty-second General nf the Society of Jesus, b. at Sichem, Belgium, 8 Feb- ruary, 1795; d. at Rome, 4 March, 1887. Father Beckx was ordained priest, 7 March, 1819, and ap- pointed to a little parish near Brussels; eight months afterwards he resigned this office and entered the Society of Jesus at Hildesheim, Germany. Having learned the German language, he was soon able to preach, hear confessions, and give retreats in German. The Duke and Duchess of Anhalt-Kothen were con- verted to the Catholic Faith in 1825 and asked for a Jesuit chaplain; Father Beckx was appointed to this duty and went to live in Kothen. He found only twenty Catholics there; in four years he had 200 con- verts. In 1830 he went to live in Vienna, where he was the only Jesuit for many years. From time to time he was called to Rome and sent on important missions to Lombardy, Hungary, and Bavaria. In 1852, he was made Provincial of Austria and brought back the Fathers of the Society to Innsbruck, Linz. and Lemberg. The next year, on the death of Father Roothaan, he was chosen General of ih.e Society by the unanimous vote of delegates from all parts of the world. The new father-general brought to his office a deep spirit of faith; a profound knowl- edge of the human heart; firmness and dignity; serenity of mind in extreme trial; faultless manners; and a remarkable soundness of judgment.

During the thirty-four j'ears that Father Beckx governed the society its membership was doubled, new provinces were established in Ireland, France. Spain, Portugal, and America; new missions were begun in different parts of the world; the education of youth was continued with success; new colleges were opened in every province. During his term of office eighty Jesuits were raised to the honovns of the altar; all but three of these were missionaries or niartjTS. The society was expelled from Italy in 1860, from Spain in 1868, from Germany in 1873, from France and the French colonies in 1880. In 1873 Father Beckx went to live at Fiesole near Florence, where he remained until the election of Father Anderledy as Vicar-General, in 1883; then he went back to Rome, abdicating his charge en- tirely. There, four years later, he died at the ad- vanced age of ninety-two years. Father Beckx was the author of "Der Monat Maria", Vienna, 1838, which passed througli thirty editions in German, and was translated into English, French, Italian, Dutch, Polish, Armenian, and Arabic.

SoMMERVOGEL. Bibl. dc la c. de J.; Woodstock Letters, XV; Missinyer of the Sacred Heart (New York, 1887); Precis His- torigue (April, 1SS7).

Patrick H. Kelly.

Becquerel, Antoine-Cesar, French physicist. b. at Chatillon-sur-Loing (Loiret), 7 March, 1788; d. at Paris. IS Januarj', 1878. In 1806 he entered the Polyteclmic School after having studied at the Central School of F^ontaiuebleau under Billy, and later at the College Henri IV with Cauchy. In 1808 he was sent to the military school (d'applicatlon ) at Metz, which he left the following year with the rank of second lieutenant. During two and a half years, he fought under General Suchet in the Spanish campaign, distinguisliing himself at several of the important sieges. Ill health obliged him to ask for a leave of absence. He was raised to the rank of captain, made Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, and nominated to the new position of assistant in- spector of studies at the Polyteclmic School. During