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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Grimes, Right Rev. John Joseph

< The Dictionary of Australasian Biography

Grimes, Right Rev. John Joseph, D.D., first Roman Catholic Bishop of Christchurch, N.Z., is the son of Richard Grimes and Elizabeth his wife, and was born at Bromley, Kent, on Feb. 11th, 1842. Having been ordained to the priesthood, Bishop Grimes was Professor of Belles Lettres and Rhetoric in St. Mary's College, Ireland, till 1873, and from that year till 1880 was Professor, Director, and President of Jefferson College, Louisiana, U.S. A., where he narrowly escaped death in the great yellow fever epidemic of 1878. From 1880 to 1887 Dr. Grimes was Rector of St. Mary's, Paignton, Devonshire, and President of the missionary training college there. At Paignton Dr. Grimes built the first Catholic church erected there since the Reformation. In May 1887 he was appointed by Pope Leo XIII. the first Catholic Bishop of Christchurch, being consecrated on July 26th of the same year. Bishop Grimes, whose diocese comprises the whole of the provinces of Canterbury and Westland, a portion of the province of Nelson, and the Chatham Islands, arrived in New Zealand to assume his episcopal functions at the end of 1887.