Msgr. F. Weber


BISHOP AMAT 1853-1878

[11] The Reluctant Prelate—Thaddeus Amat, C.M. 105

[12] Bishopric of Monterey (1854-1859) 124

[13] The Franciscan Controversies  139

[14] The Pious Fund of the Californias. 154

[15] Internal Diocesan Expansion  163

[16] Religious and Educational Foundations 174

[17] Catholic Collegiate Training 192

[18] Cathedral for California’s Southland 207

[19] California and Vatican Council I 228

[20] Bishopric of Monterey-Los Angeles (1859-1878) 240


BISHOP MORA 1878-1896

[21] Last of the Catalans-Francis Mora  262

[22] Bishopric of Monterey-Los Αngeles (1878-1896) 271

[23] Resignation, Departure and Epilogue 297


[24] California Churchman—George T Montgomery  307

[25] Bishopric of Monterey-Los Angeles (1896-1902) 314

[26] Coadjutorship of San Francisco  328







TITLE1. BIshop Amat







Bishop of Monterey in California, 1854-1879







 [11] The Reluctant Prelate—Thaddeus Amat, C.M.

It was into a noble and tradition-filled family that Thaddeus Amat y Brusí was born in the early years of the nineteenth century. No longer closely attached to the fortunes of the monarchy, the Amats nevertheless enjoyed a fine reputation in their community. Tadeo’s father, Pedro, was a manufacturer of munitions1 and was later to become a general in the Spanish guard. His mother, Maria Brusi, although bοrn in Naples, had spent most of her life in Barcelona and was distantly akin to the famous family of that great name who founded the Diario de Barcelona, leading publication in all of Spain.

The regency of Joseph Bonaparte was nearing its end when Thaddeus Amat was bοrn in the city which he would later refer to, in the words of Cervantes, as “the flower of the beautiful cities of the world,”2 Barcelona. On the very day of his birth, Hagmanay, or Aguinaldo as it was known in Spain, December 31, 1811,3 the infant was taken in the cmmadrm 2a or minor procession to be baptized in the parochial Church of Nuestra Seïiora del Pino.4 The entry in the registers of the Church as recorded by the parish priest in Catalan, notes that the youngsters name was bestowed in honor of the Apostle, Jude Thaddeus, who was and is greatly venerated in the 15th century basilica. If the normal customs of the time were observed, the godmother took the child, after the Baptismal cere-mony,5 to the Capilla de Santo Cristo in the nearby cathedral and dedicated him to the Lord beneath the crucified “Christ of Lepanto” which Don Juan of Austria is said to have carried on the prow of his flagship during the Battle of Lepanto.

There is little information extant on the earliest years of Thaddeus [p.105] Amat for the Spaniards of that era were nit given to keeping diaries or journals as they were in a later day. Formal education was a luxury not enjoyed by the average Spanish boy and it remains a credit to his industrious father that Tadeo was able to acquire a fine elementary and secondary education. And in the process, he became proficient not only in his native Spanish and Catalan, but in French and Italian as well, to say nothing of his later mastery of Latin, Greek, Hebrew and English, all of which he spoke and wrote with great facility.

Early in his life, Tadeo seems to have become conscious of the tremendous need of the Church for zealous and dedicated priests. He was especially attracted to the spirit of Saint Vincent de Paul, whose motto, “God has sent me to preach to the poor,”6 appealed to him as the greatest of human challenges. Thaddeus was also impressed by other features of the Vincentians, including their canonical status which allowed members to remain secular priests bound together in community by private vows. Saint Vincent had directed his followers tu give themselves entirely to the various apostolic works to which zeal for God’s glory might call them among either the clergy or the laity. This he had divided into two broad categories; the instruction of the poor and the direction of seminaries.

When he made known his desire to enter the community, Tadeo’s parents readily acquiesced and in 1826 saw their son enrolled in the Apostolic College attached to the Casa Central in Madrid,7 preparatory seminary for the Province of Lombardy. Ile remained there until the latter part of December, 1831.8 Arnat was received as a postulant in the Congregation of the Mission on January 4, 1832.9

Amat’s novitiate consisted of two years of seclusion and discipline during which he made every effort to assimilate the spirit of Vincent de Paul. There were daily conferences by the Master of Novices, classes on the principles of Ascetical Theology, history of the community, obligations of religious life as well as exercises of meditation, spiritual reading and exegesis of Sacred Scripture. Several hours each day were spent in physical labor in and around the house. A11 told, it was a fitting and worthy preparation through which only the most sincere candidates could pass.

Finally, on January 16, 1834,10 young Amat was ready to take the four vows which made him a member of the Congregation of the Mission. During Mass celebrated in Barcelona’s Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Merced, he made permanent his consecration. [p.106] Thaddeus had been an outstanding student and his superiors recommended him fοr a teaching position where his erudition and pedagogical ability could be fully utilized. And while the young Vincentian was aware of his God-given talents in this particular field, his reading had stirred within him a strong desire for the active ministry where he could personally assist in the spiritual conquest fοr souls. After an extended retreat, Amat αnd his fellows knelt before the local bishop on May 23, 1834, to receive tonsure and the four minor orders.11

Within the year, he again marched into chapel, this time vested in alb and cincture, carrying a tunic where, after the chanting of the litany of the saints, he was ordained subdeacon, the first of the three great steps to the priesthood.

Meanwhile, the political atmosphere in Barcelona was worsening. With the defeat of the Carlists, the government of Queen Isabella II avenged itself on the Church fοr its support of Don Carlos by ordering the suppression of many religious houses throughout the realm. This, coupled to the earlier French occupation of the country, left a violent anti-clerical feeling among many people, especially the Liberals αnd Freemasons. Extreme measures against the Church were a common occurrence αnd ecclesiastical properties were being seized by the government in an obvious intent to nationalize the Spanish Church by degrees.

There were about fifty priests, students and brothers then living in the house on Calle Provenza “‘here Ainat was studying.12 On the night of July 24, 1834, a mob stormed the house, killing one brother and wounding several others. The entire community was taken to the Castle of Montjuich13 where they shared the unhappy lot of many other religious already in the prison. For fifteen days Amat and his confreres suffered from hunger, exposure and insults. When word finally arrived that the inmates would be expelled from the country, Arnat was among those chosen to go to Paris where the Vincentian Superior General, the Very Reverend Dominic Salhorgne had thrown open the doors of bison-Mere.

Setting out from Barcelona in early August, Thaddeus and a small group of his fellow students journeyed through Perpignan, Carcassonne, Montelieu αnd Toulouse arriving at 95 rue de Sevres on November 15, after a long and exhausting journey. 14 The Spanish contingent was warmly welcomed at Paris where their modesty, silence and spirit of dedication contributed greatly to the community.

Amat was soon immersed in his work in the new Paris surroundings of the former Hotel des Lorges.15 He seems to have been well liked by his [p.107] superiors and was frequently called upon to assist those of his fellow-Spaniards not so familiar with the French language. He gave himself completely to his studies—almost to the point of fatigue, always motivated by a genuine intellectual curiosity. The intensity of his study would have ruined a less vigorous constitution. One of the rewards he soon discovered in his theological work was the realization that the most effectual manner of teaching the virtues and moral doctrine is to display them in one’s own person. In scholastic training, Amat was to bring to the United States an academic background that few ecclesiastics in the young republic of that period could match. And, aside frοm the cultural advantages of his years in France, he was removed frοm the turbulence then ravaging his native land.

Thaddeus Amat was raised to the diaconate on May 30, 1837.16 Through a special indult granted by the holy See to the Congregation of the Mission, students attached to the central house in Paris were allowed the privilege of ordination midway through the final year of theology. Thus, on December 23, 1837,17 Amat and his fellow deacons knelt before ι-Ιyacinώhe Louis de Quelen, Archbishop of Paris, and listened to the Superior General solemnly respond to the interrogation concerning the worthiness of the candidates.

Father Amat had finished his studies by early summer and then spent some weeks administering the sacraments in and around Paris. He was popular with the people wherever he went fοr he was no less adept at preaching than he was in the classroom. 1Ie had that rare ability of expressing the most difficult ideas in a language understandable to the simplest of his hearers.

On July 19, 1838, Feast of Saint Vincent de Paul, the young priest received his appointment to the recently established American Province.18 He went at once to La Havre and after waiting there three weeks fοr favorable winds and high tides, Amat and his eight confreres set out on August 9 fοr New Orleans.I9 During the long voyage he gave himself to improving his English which, until now, he had never had occasion to speak. Lack of water, always a rare commodity in the days when unpredictable winds could keep a ship at sea fοr weeks in excess of its supply of rations, was only one of the privations of the long and tiresome journey. The two-month voyage was prolonged endlessly by exceedingly calm waters.

Almost immediately after his disembarking at New Orleans on October 20, Father Amat was assigned to the faculty of Assumption [p.108]

Right Revere”d Thai/dens mat, C.M. [p.109] Seminary20 located about eighty river miles down Bayou Lafourche near Donaldsonville. It was an agreeable assignment in many ways, fοr the building, a two-story brick edifice, had only recently been completed and offered conveniences not commonly expected in that area of the American Missions. Amat did not confine his activities solely to seminary routine but was frequently called upon by his superior, Father Bonaventure Armengol, to perform parochial duties at Assumption Church, fifteen miles away at Donaldsonville. He also gave considerable time to traversing a wide stretch of territory into the backwoods almost to the Atchafalaya River, visiting distant settlements and farms, instructing, assisting at marriages and burying the dead. The Vincentian annals contain an interesting letter written by Amat to the Superior General, Father John B. Nοzο,21 giving a remarkably detailed description of the Spiritual status of ASSumption parish, its population, growth and problems.

On March 5, 1841, Father Arat was sent to the American Province’s motherhouse on the fringe of the Barrens Settlement in Perry County, Missouri to pursue his study of English.22 The following month he went to Saint Vincent’s College at Cape Girardeau as Director of Novices, a position of great importance in any community. During that year he imparted to his charges the principles of a deep spirituality built on a firm theological foundation.23 1842 found Amat again at Saint Mary-of-the-Barrens,24 this time as rector, teaching and assisting in the contiguous Church of Saint Mary of the Assumption. This double duty was pleasant for Amat and he was successful in both endeavors. When the diocesan section of the seminary was moved to Saint Louis in October of 1842,25 Father Amat was named administator of the new foundation26 and, at the same time, pastor of the recently inaugurated parish of the Holy Trinity then housed in temporary quarters.27 The seminary28 was located nearby in the Antoine Souhard mansion on Bishop’s Row.29 Except fora brief span at Donaldsonville, Amat administered both the parish and seminary until 1844 when he was succeeded by Father Blasius Rabo, C.M.,30 who supervised the erection of a new church dedicated to Saint Vincent. On July 8, 1844,31 Father John Timon32 transferred Amat to Cape Girardeau as president of the seminary and superior of the community. “Father Amat filled the office of President fοr a year or more when he was transferred to the Barrens and made superior of that Institution.”33 Entries in the registers of Assumption Church in Perryville indicate the young priest’s zeal fοr as superior of Saint Mary’s [p.110] Seminary34 he was again responsible fοr its attached church, a duty he carefully discharged.

Several years earlier, in 1832, Francis Patrick Kenríck, Coadjutor Bishop of Philadelphia, had established a small seminary which he housed next to the episcopal residence until larger quarters could be provided. It had been granted a charter by the Legislature of Pennsylvania in 1838, and the next year it was moved to its new headquarters at 18th and Race Streets. Control of the institution was entrusted to the Vincentíans in July of 1841 by Bishop Kenríck who was well acquainted with the Vincentian Fathers and their establishment of Saint Mary’s in Missouri which, at one time, had served the entire Louisiana area. In the early fall of 1847, the Very Reverend Mariano Mailer, C.M., Rector of Saint Charles Seminary in Philadelphia, was named visitor, succeeding the Right Reverend John Timon, newly designated Bishop of Buffalo.

The superiorship of Saint Charles was then given to Father Thaddeus Amat. And although his appointment was dated October 4, 1847,35 he could not conclude his other duties and get to his new position until early the next year. Father Amat’s appointment to Philadelphia was received with considerable enthusiasm by both clergy and laity. According to the historian of the seminary

his teaching and administrative ability, coupled with his special qualities as a spiritual guide were widely acclaimed, and by the time he came to Philadelphia, he was well equipped in experience for the office awaiting him.36

Among the first projects initiated by the new rector was a program to enlarge the seminary. He was distressed by the lack of accommodations, since as he said, “several other candidates fοr the holy ministry might have been received, if the adequate means fοr their support had been at our disposal.”37

The appeal was heeded by Philadelphia’s faithful and in 1850 construction was begun on a new seminary building which was a great joy to its rector and his small faculty.

During his four-year rectorship in Philadelphia, Amat witnessed the expansion of Saint Charles Seminary, not only in physical size, but more important in its spiritual influence. Priests from the seminary were sent to all the corners of the nation and many of their names are now written in capital letters in local necrologies.

Amat became a close personal friend of Bishop Francis Patrick [p.111] Kenrick, more so than with his brother, Peter Richard, under whom he had worked in Saint Louis. Amat accompanied Kenrick in 1849 to the Seventh Provincial Council of Baltimore as his personal theologian,38 and it was a very real personal loss for Amat when Kenrick was promoted to the Premier See of Baltimore in September of 1851.

Kenrick’s successor in Philadelphia was John N. Neumann, C.Ss.R., who received his appointment early the next year. Father Arnat and a group of priests from the city went to Baltimore for the consecration of their new Ordinary on March 28, 1852. The ceremony took place in the historic cathedral and Amat, as rector of the seminary, took an active part in the functions.39 At the conclusion of the ceremonies, it was Amat’s privilege to escort the new bishop back to Philadelphia where the townspeople had arranged an enthusiastic welcome for their new shepherd.40

Amat’s name had been considered for the provincialate in April of 184641 when it was learned that the Holy See was about to erect a diocese at Buffalo and name John Timon its first bishop. No definitive action, however, was taken at that time and the appointment eventually went to the Reverend Mariano Miller whom Amat then succeeded in Philadelphia.

It would have taken a far less perceptive man than John Neumann to realize that his seminary rector would eventually by “promoted out” of Philadelphia. Neumann had learned to rely heavily on Amat and when the First Plenary Council of Baltimore convened in May of 1852, he followed his predecessor’s example in asking Annat to accompany him as theologian. Here it would be that Amat was given to the nation, not just to a single diocese for it was at this council that the bishops proposed his name as one of the three possible successors to the Bishop of Monterey, Joseph Sadoc Alemany. This action, taken in private session, greatly disconcerted the young Vincentian who had come to know from first-hand experience the anxieties and care of the episcopate.

When Father Thaddeus Amat became aware of his episcopal nomination, he made a hasty retreat to Europe to avoid the appointment. At the earliest opportunity he set out for the continent and, as one historian notes, “came to Spain in the autumn of 1852 in order to escape being made Bishop of Monterey, California.”42

Before leaving Philadelphia, Father Amat wrote to the Superior General and pleaded with him to have the nomination suppressed.43 There is no indication, however, that the General took any action along [p.113] these lines although he did approve Amat’s transfer to Madrid as Rector of the Community’s Novitiate.44 This is also confirmed in a letter of the Reverend Jose Escarra written from Madrid on September 6, 1852 announcing the installation of the Congregation of the Mission in the new house ceded to them by the Government.45 In any event, by October 9th, Amat had arrived and was deeply immersed in the routines of his new position.46

The Holy See has a persistency in some matters that borders the phenomenal. Amat was sought out in Spain by Propaganda Fide. The reluctant candidate again appealed to the General and this time the matter was discussed in the council meeting for May 30, 1853. It was proposed that Amat be named superior and director of the Daughters of Charity in Chile47 and on October 22nd “sale de Madrid el Sr. Aniat pars Chile,”48 This last move harmonizes with a note from Archbishop Joseph Sadie Alemany which mentioned that “as soon as he heard of his appointment, he withdrew from Philadelphia to Spain and thereafter passed on to France for the purpose of taking passage to Chile and so to hide himself.”49

But by this time the bulls of appointment had already been issued.50 When this news reached him, Amat wrote directly to the Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda Fide:

I am greatly distressed because of my lack of knowledge, holiness and prudeīīιe αnd fûr these reasuíìs 1 left Ηhιi»deipiîia 1ä5ï ycâr. Knowing full well my lack of qualifications I think God in ΙIis infinite mercy has called me to the Congregation of the Mission that I might lead a religious life and lacking the helps of this life Ι fear I might lose my soul. Therefore, I pray you to allow me to remain in my obscure place in the community...51

One final communication to Cardinal Fransoni was sent early the next month after having received the bulls:

The letters ordering my submission to the burden of the episcopate have been received by our Father General who has left the ultimate choice to me in this matter. Ι still think I should decline because it is a threat to my salvation. But fearing that the judgment may be an effect of my weakness and fearing lest I resist the will of God.. .1 sought advice from my spiritual director and had many Masses offered to find out God’s will. All these have convinced me that I should not accept the burden. Therefore, I plead with you to tell His Holiness to relieve me.52  [p.114] News 0f Amat’s reluctance even found its way to California. The Archbishop of San Francisco penned an interesting note to his Vicar in the southland:

The new Bishop of Monterey is the Rt. Rev. Thaddeus Amat of Barcelona, a Father of the Congregation of Saint Vincent de Paul, a man, I am assured, very distinguished for his humility and learn-ing...The Propaganda is trying to forward the Bulls to him. It is to be feared that he will decline and thus there will be another delay of some additional months.53

In spite of his personal wishes, Arnat was eventually obliged to acquiesce to what he termed the “relentless insistence”54 of the IIoly Father, fοr when Pius ΙX was apprised of Amat’s refusal, he had the following note sent to the unwilling candidate:

The Holy Father, by virtue of the Apostolic Letter of July 29th of this year, which we enclose, has chosen you to be the Bishop of Monterey in Upper California. And even though you have signified your wish to put aside this appointment, the Moderators of the Institute desire that you proceed to carry out the appointment at once. All these things having been accurately set forth, His Holiness has decided not to revoke the decree and has declared it to be His will that you submit to the office which, therefore, it behooves you to undertake as soon as possible.

And, so bowing before the wishes of the Holy Father, Amat agreed to the “commission that I took every possible means to avoid.”

The date of the consecration was set fοr January 1st; but it had to be delayed twice because of the poor health of Cardinal Fransoni, “who,” as Arnat said, “reserved to himself the hοnοr of placing the mitre on this unworthy head.”56 When March 12th was selected for the occasion, Arnat wrote out in long-hand a few invitations to his personal friends then at Rome:

The Bishop-elect of Monterey, T. Amat has the hοnοr of announcing to Dr. Kirby that his consecration will take place next Sunday, second of Lent. His Eminence, the Cardinal Fransoni, will perform the ceremony at 8 o’clock in the morning in the Church of the Propaganda.57

It was an impressive event and a large number of Roman prelates and clergy gathered at the Propaganda Fide building on the Piazza di Spagna fοr the ageless pageant. Bernini’s graceful chapel, built fοr Urban VIII, was elaborately decorated fοr the occasion with freshly cut flowers. In the


same surroundings where Oliver Plunkett and John Henry Newman prepared for their ministry, the consecration ceremony unfolded with liturgical exactitude. Music was provided by the choir of the Urban College. The aging Cardinal Fransoni was assisted by Lettorio Turchi, Bishop of Citta de Castello and William Keane, Bishop of Ross in Ireland.

At the conclusion of the Te Deum of thanksgiving, Bishop Thaddeus Amat in mitre and with pastoral staff bestowed his first solemn blessing upon the congregation and then made his obeisance ad multos anuos at the feet of the consecrator.

With the exhortation to “Pray for your bishop that the burden he was reluctant to accept, he may not be reluctant to bear,”S8 Thaddeus Amat began an episcopate that would be as plentiful in results as it was extensive in years. His first pastoral letter, penned in classical Latin Grammar, expressed his hopes αnd prayers for the California apostolate that lay ahead. Replete with copious references to Sacred Scripture αnd the Fathers, the letter was, nonetheless, couched in the simple terms of expression which were Amat’s hallmark. The final sentence asked for the special intercession of the Blessed Virgin, Star of the Sea, that he might have a successful voyage to California αnd that his ministry might be worthy and fruitful.

A few days after his consecration on March 18th, Amat was received in private audience by Pope Pius IX. The Holy Father anxiously asked about the status of the Church in California only to find that its bishop knew less about it than himself. This much he did know, his chief problem would be a shortage of clergy and to this the pope indicated that every attempt would be made to secure clerical personnel from Sale-Brignon College in Genoa, a seminary operated under the auspices of the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda Fide. In addition, Pius pledged the financial assistance of Propagation de la Foi, both in Paris and Lyons. The audience was terminated after almost an hour during which the pontiff re-affirmed his intentions to remain actively aware of the destinies of the California Church. It must have been a memorable day for both the pope and his Bishop of Monterey. Both men were exceptionally great characters and both were destined to leave lasting impressions in their spheres of endeavor, one on the world at large, the other on a small missionary diocese in California.

Before departing from the Eternal City, Amat also made the customary visits to the ranking cardinals of the curia and members of the diplomatic corps. Everyone he left a little poorer from the encounter for he [p.117] had absolutely nο hesitation in making his needs known whether it be fοr personnel or for financial assistance.

With his business concluded, he left Rome on March 30th fοr his native Spain where he had an exhausting schedule pre-arranged fοr pleading his cause in Catalonia. While in Barcelona, he was authorized by that city’s ordinary to preach in numerous churches regarding the desolate condition of Catholicism in the Western United States. He was given lodging at the home of a long-time friend, Domingo Alaban at No. 30 Rambla de San Jοse.59

Amat was nο less cordially received by the pastors in Barcelona and the indefatigable bishop preached endlessly on the need fοr vocations, assuring the young people they would be eagerly welcomed in the United States where, as he said, “the bishops are well disposed.”G0 The visit to the city of his birth was over all too soon. Near the end of the month, Amat went on to Madrid where he again extolled the needs of the missions.

The grueling schedule Amat set fοr himself in Spain was followed throughout the greater part of Europe and accounts for the delay of more than a year and a half before he finally arrived in his new diocese. He returned to Rome late in June of 1854 to complete preparations for the removal of Saint Vibiana’s relics to Monterey and during the following months criss-crossed Italy and France echoing his pleas. He was welcomed in Paris at the Vincentian motherhouse early in 1855 and used the old Hotel des Lorges as the base 0f his many mission journeys. On May 7th, he wrote to one of his confreres that,

I have the satisfaction of writing to you on the eve of leaving for

Ireland fοr a few days... On the 19th of this month, with the help of God, I shall leave Havre.61

Accompanying the bishop on his second voyage across the seas to America were four novices, three postulants and the three “clergymen”62 upon whom Amat had conferred Tonsure and the Minor Orders two days earlier at Paris. Instead of sailing to New Orleans as previously planned, the bishop decided to go directly to New York so as to leave the nuns at nearby Lmmitsburg fοr their “Americanization” training.

The ocean voyage seems to have been routine enough and the party arrived in the United States within three weeks and, after what was surely an enlightening visit with New York’s archbishop, Amat went on to Philadelphia where he was greeted enthusiastically by Bishop John Neumann63 and the host of friends he had acquired in the “freedom [p.118] city.” From there he went to Emmitsburg and then on to Baltimore where he was the guest of Archbishop Francis Patrick Kenrick. The two prelates discussed at great length the problems facing the American Church and agreed to exchange views in later years by mail. Amat’s visit was prominently noted by the local press:

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Amat, Bishop of Monterey, arrived in this city some days ago, on his return from Spain, where much of his time has been engaged since his appointment to this new See. On Sunday last, the Rt. Rev. Prelate was in Εmmitsburg. At the Church attached to Saint Joseph’s Academy, he confirmed thirty of the young ladies of the Academy and on the same day thirty-nine persons at Saint Joseph’s Church in this town.64

From the premier see, Amat journeyed to Εmmitsburg where he picked up the newly professed Spanish nuns along with three others provided by the Daughters of Charity fοr the California mission. Then on to Perryville, the scene of many of his earlier years in the states. In the small town itself he administered Confirmation to 163 children and preached on the mercy of God and the need for prayer. Then he proceeded on to Saint Louis where he wrote:

Informed of the destitute state of my diocese...I directed my views to establish in Monterey the Sisters of Charity, to take care of all the unfortunate human beings, many of whom found their misery where they expected to find plenty of gold.65

By mid-October, Amat and his travelling companions were back in New York and on the 20th they sailed for Aspinwall or Colon City on Limon Bay in north central Panama. Their voyage to the isthmus was remarkably calm. Transferring to the Pacific ιMail Company’s steamship, John C. Stephens, the party left Panama on November 1st and after a two week cruise the ship reached her wharf in San Francisco safely66 Amat’s arrival being unexpected, there was no formal welcoming ceremony at the time beyond that usually reserved fοr the docking of such a large ship.67 Immediately after docking, the bishop proceeded to the house of Archbishop Joseph Sadoc Α1emany68 whose acquaintance he had first made at the Seventh Provincial Council of Baltimore in 1849. [p.119] NOTES TO THE TEXT

1On Amat’s baptismal entry, his father is identified as “armero.” In 1962 a painting of General Ainat cle Capdevila was presented to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles by Mrs. Carmelita Burton of Santa Barbara, a great grandniece of Bishop Ainat.

2MigueΙ de Cervantes, “Las Das Doncel/as,” Obras Completas (Madrid, 1949), p. 955. ;The certificate notes the date as “trei”7a y on ale Desembre de mil vint cents once” (1811).

4The identity of this church was discovered in Benito Paradela, C.Μ., Notas ßrograficas de los que han pertenecid o a 1a Congregacion i/e 1a lisiou eia Espaiia. (Madrid, 1935), p. 157. “E” /a partida de Bautésmï que en 1924 vimos en la parrï-gvia del Piuo, de &tréeloua, consta fiée bautizado (ill” e” 31 de diciembre de 1819.” This entry was checked personally by the author on October 23, 1962.

‘People of those times formed a canadrana or minor procession to the Church. The term refers to the comare (mid-wife) who customarily carried the infant. 6Thc words “Evaiigelizare pauperibres miñt me” appear on the official seal of the Congregation of the Mission.

7Archiνes of Juventude de la Meelella íMilagrosa (hereafter referred to as AJNM). Jose Herrera, C.M. to the author, Madrid, September 15, 1962. Father Herrera provided the author with fourteen pages of transcripts from the Madrid files but did not further specify the sources.

8Αrchiνes of Maison Mere (hereafter referred to as AIM), “Catalogue Sacerilotum et Clericorum Congregationis Missionis Ámericam,e Provrnc’ae, 1816.” Entry No. 51, p. 32.

°ΑΜM, “Dictéï m aíre Duu Personnel! Congregation de la Mission,” Deuxieme Series, 1801-1900 (A-13), Book 446. Entry under AMAT, Taddee (458).

1ΠΒenitο Paraelela, C.M., op. cit., p. 158.

I’The practice of receiving tonsure and minor orders on the same day Kvas declared illicit in 1918 when the new Code of Canon Law ‘vas promulgated. 12ΑJΜM, Jose Herrera, C.M. to author, Madrid, September 15, 1962.

13The house in Barcelona was only reopened in 1867 when the property ‘vas restored to the Church. It is now the Provincial House of the Padres Paules for Barcelona.

1`ΑΜΜ, “Catalogue General, Congregation de la Mission,” Tome II, 18011900, 27.

1595 rue de Sevres has been the location of the Vincentian Motherhouse since 1817. In the 1970s, the motherhouse was moved to Rome.

16AMM, “Catalogue...,” Entry No. 51, p. 32.

17For the interesting story behind the determining of this elate, cf. Francis J. Weber, “Thaddeus Amat, Fact versus Fiction,” Records of The American Catholic Historical Society LXXIV (September 1963). [p.120] 18Τhe American Province had been founded as a separate jurisdiction on September 2, 1835.

l9Charles C. Conroy, The Centemtial (Los Angeles, 1940), p. 22.

20ΡΙaced under the patronage of Saint Vincent de Paul, the seminary was more commonly referred to as “Assumption” the name of the parish within its immediate area. It was destroyed by fire in 1855 and rebuilt at a later date in New Orleans.

21Αni;a/s ‘le la Congregation de la Mission (Paris, 1839), V, 83-87. Letter dated January 15, 1839.

.22AJMM, Anonymous manuscript. Dated “Philadelphia, 1903.”

223Å. Pruente, “The Beginnings of Catholicity in Cape Girardeau,” Saint Louis Catholic Historical Review, III (January-April, 1921), 73.

224ÁM.iΜ, “Registre des Conseils,” I, 137. The appointment is dateci November 4, 1841 but probably didn’t reach Amat until the following January.

251b,d., I, 232. The Catholic Almanac for 1843 reads, “The Seminary heretofore connected with Saint Mary’s College, Perry County, is now placed at Saint Louis.”

26Τhe appointment was dateci November 4, 1842. John Timon, the provincial, was the de facto rector. Bishop Peter Richard Κenrick had great confidence in the future Bishop of Buffalo but apparently had little regard for Amat whom he had removed from office in 1844.

27Originally slated for Ninth and Marion streets where the cornerstone was placed in 1838, a new site was chosen in 1844 further north on Ninth street and the title of the parish changed to Saint Vincent. The Catholic Almanac mentions that Amat was also chaplain of Sacred Heart Convent.

28Τhis seminary was the predecessor of present-clay Κenrick Seminary at Webster Groves, Missouri.

29Cf. John Rothensteiner, History of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis (Saint Louis, 1928), I, 837 for a description of Amat. Among other things he states that Amat “was a rigid disciplinarian and consequently not very popular with the studlents. But he was a just man, a sound scholar and an excellent professor.”

30Rahο was later to become Vicar General of the Diocese of Monterey-Los Angeles.

3 ΙAMNΙ, “Registre...,” I, 324.

32Timon was Amat’s mentor. The two continued their friendship in later years but unfortunately most of Timon’s papers were destroyed by a fire in Buffalo’s old cathedral rectory according to the Reverend Ralph Bayard, C.M., author of Timon’s biography.

33Jοhn Rothensteiner, op. cit., II, 85. (From a series of articles in “Church of Progress” published at Saint Louis in 1894). Amat’s appointment was dated July 14, 1845. Cf. “Registre...,” I, 368.

34Saint Mary-of-the-Barrens Seminary was founded in 1818 and incorporated by the Missouri General Assembly in 1822. In 1830 it received the charter to grant [p.121] educational degrees, the first institution of higher learning west of the

Mississippi River and the first incorporated by state law.

35ÁMM, “Dictionnaire. .,” Book 446.

36Geïrge O’Donnell, Saint Charles Seminary (Philadelphia, 1953), I, 30.

37Ôhaddeõs Arnat, C.M., op. cit. p. 3.

38Peter K. Guilday, ‘4 History of the Cormcils of Baltimore (New York, 1932), p. 156.

39Cf. North American and United States Gazette, March 30, 1852 fora description

of the ceremony.

40Ìichael J. Curley, C.Ss.R., Venerable John Neumann (Forérth Bishop of

Philadelphia), (Washington, 1952), p. 182.

4ijj’jj, “Registre...,” I, 395.

42Âenito Paradela, C.Ì., op. cit., p. 158.

43Árchives of Saint Mary’s Seminary (hereafter referred to as ASMS), Amat to

Superior General, Philadelphia, May 20, 1852.

441n less than thirty ycars, the Congregation of the Mission in the United States

saw five of its priests raised to the episcopacy. Pius IX was once heard to remark

to a complaining Superior General, “It is for you to plant the garden, for me to

pluck the flowers.”

45Α11, “Registre...,” II, 67.

46ÁJM1, An unidentified note reads “1852, 9 Octabre, Ilega a Madrid el Sr:

Amat.” Cf. also Registre...,” II, 81 (December 27, 1852).

47AÌM, “Registre...,” II, 93.

48Áçnales Espana (Madrid, 1854), sig. 52.

49Santa Barbara Mission Archives (hereafter referred to as SÂÌÁ), III, 26. Joseph

S. Alemany to González Réíbio, San Francisco, November 29, 1853.

5°The Bulls were dated July 29, 1853.

51Αrchives of the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda Fide (hereafter referred to

as APF), Thaddeus Arnat to Cardinal Fransoni, Paris, September 6, 1853.

521b1d., October 3, 1853.

53SÂÌÁ, III, 26. Joseph S. Alemany to González Rúbio, San Francisco,

November 29, 1853.

54Árchives of the Archdiocese of San Francisco (hereafter referred to as AASF),

“Liber G. Diocesis Sancti Frnncisci, fol. 8, Cardinal Fransoni to Joseph S.

Alemany, Rome. n.d.

55SÂÌÁ, III, 19. Papal Bull, Rome, July 29, 1853.

56ÁÑF, Thaddeus Amat to Propaganda, Rome, February 3, 1854.

57Árchives of Pontificio Collegio Irlandese, Thaddeus Amat to Dr. Kirby, Rome,

March 10, 1854.

5SSÂMA, III, 34. Thaddeus Agnat to the Faithful, Rome, March 12, 1854.

S9ÁÁLÁ, Thaddeus Agnat to n.n., Barcelona, April 26, 1854. On the back of this

letter, Agnat notes that he was staying at the address given in the text. A visit by [p.122]

this author to that area revealed that, on at least three occasions since the turn

of the century, the titles and numbers of the streets have undergone change.

Hence it was impossible to locate the exact residence.

60ΑSΜS, 325-8544.26, Thaddeus Amat to n.n., Barcelona, April 26, 1854.

G1ΑALΑ, Thaddeus Arnat to Francis Burlando, Paris, May 7, 1855.

62 Viz., Benito Capdevila, Cypriano Rubio and Francis Mora.

63ΑΑLΑ, Thaddeus Amat to Francis Burlando, Pittsburg, June 24, 1855.

64The Leader, June 23, 1855.

65[bi’1., July 21, 1855. A letter written from Saint Vincent’s Church in Saint


661ew York Γreenzan’s Journal and Catholic Register, December 22, 1855.

67There were 944 passengers on the ship.

68ΑΑSF, Liber Visitationis Episcopalis Díocesis Sancti Francis’,, p. 12, entry for

November 14, 1855. [p.123]

[12] Bishopric of Monterey (1854-1859)

Bishop Arnat’s first “briefing session” on the California Church D probably cane during his interview with Archbishop Hughes in New York. Late in 1848 Iïughēs had been delegated to submit a report on the problems of California Catholicity to the Seventh Provincial Council of Baltimore and at that time had sought the advice of Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriega, a prominent resident of Santa Barbara. De la Guerra’s reply was as extensive as it was accurate. He calculated the number of Catholics in the state before the gold discovery at about twenty-five or third thousand. He estimated the number of Christian Indians at between ten to fifteen thousand but hazarded no views on the Gentile tribes. De la Guerra heartily endorsed Hughes proposal that the new bishop be selected from among the “several Spanish priests” then available.1  •

The appointment of Joseph Sadoc Alemany to the Diocese of Monterey had been a great satisfaction to California’s Catholic population and with his advancement to the Provincial Seat at San Francisco, the old Diocese of Monterey was no less anxious than before to see a Spaniard wearing the mitre in their midst.

With Amat’s arrival in California in late 1855, the state’s two prelates began a series of meetings at AJemanys residence near the cathedral.2 Considering his previous experience, it is not surprising to find that Bishop Amat was not too well acquainted with the problems about to confront him. Certainly he knew of the more pressing needs, for even if he did not participate in the discussions at Baltimore some years earlier, his conversations with officials at Propaganda Fide in Rome and those of [p.124] Propagation de la Foi in Paris and Lyons, as well as his long chats with Archbishops Hughes and Kenrick gave him some insight into the problems that lay ahead. Alemany had this to say just a few months earlier in one of his routine reports on the Diocese of Monterey:

This Diocese of Monterey in California probably has not so many pressing wants (as San Francisco) for the great mass of immigrants settle north of that Diocese. But as its population is much dispersed, and it has been accustomed to pay but very little for the support of Church and clergy, it is difficult to make progress, and even to secure a sufficient number of clergymen without your aid. Hence several churches have no priests; the good Dominican Sisters of Monterey are yet in debt for their Academy. Some of the old churches will be greatly injured by the rains for want of funds to repair them. Many seminarians have arrived and several more are expected to arrive soon, and if your charitable work fοr the propagation of Faith can make a good appropriation fοr that Diocese, the new Bishop, Dr. Amat or myself when he comes, will be enabled to relieve greatly the churches of that Diocese from their great necessities.3

To be sure, California had changed greatly during the years since Bishop Francisco Garcia Diego y Moreno first carried the crozier in the early 1840s for the American occupation had altered forever the course of the area’s development and the rush of gold seekers after 1849 brought a flood of newcomers who made the problems of the Church all the more acute.

The Southern California that faced Thaddeus Amat was composed of the so-called “cow counties” designated thusly not in derision, but because the sobriquet actually described their chief source of wealth, cattle raising. There were horticultural interests too, orchards and vineyards. But everything depended on rainfall, which was as inadequate as it was unpredictable. In this land of ranches and ranchos, the population would increase quite slowly and the people would remain mostly Spanish-speaking, isolated as they were from outside influences. Fewer than a score of priests served the few churches that had outlived the ruins of the missions but from this meagre clergy would cone a greatness that mere numbers could never attain.

Several contemporary accounts reveal the state of the Church, none more graphically than the one by Gregory Phelan: [p.125] This State is Catholic at heart; its history and traditions and reminiscences are inseparably connected with the Church and her ministers. And shall we not hope that its future will be Catholic—that its enterprising population will profess the true faith, and that commissioned teachers may everywhere be found comforting the afflicted, instructing the ignorant, and enlightening those in error or in doubt. Time, αnd the grasping hand of Mexican officials, followed by American utilitarian progress αnd improvement, αnd but too often by acts of vandalism on the part of our enlightened countrymen, have not yet effaced the evidences of the labor and zeal of the Franciscan missionaries who first planted Christianity αnd civilization upon these shores. Let the work go on. The field has widened and become vastly more important. A few years ago, the Missionary labored to implant the great truths of Christianity in the untutored mind of the poor savage, αnd at the same time sought to draw him forth from his miserable habitation (which was nothing more than an excavation in the earth, covered with branches and other material) to teach him the arts αnd duties of civilized life. Large churches, comfortable dwellings, commodious workshops, herds of cattle, fields of grain, vineyards, orchards, etc., were part of the fruits of their labors. I need not speak of the spiritual blessings showered upon them. But a change, sad in many respects, came o’er the scene. Since the Golden Era of California, a majority of those who came in search of the precious metal were not Catholics. The vast immigration was composed of the bold, enterprising youth of every race αnd creed and country. It is true there was a mixture of the vicious with the good. Convicts, desperadoes, and others, who deserted from vessels and got here by various means, have, by their lawless acts, cast a foul stain upon our young State that will require years to wipe away. There αre good and bad in every community, αnd this is no exception. Still I believe our character abroad is below what justice requires. I will venture to assert that in proportion to her population, California possesses the most active, bold, energetic, and educated people in the world. There are some illiterate persons from the Western States and other places; but nearly all who come from the Eastern States, and the number of thousands have received a common school education, and not a few from other portions of the Union, have received literary instruction, to a greater or lesser extent. Many are graduates and some αre distinguished in the learned professions. [p.126] There are Catholics scattered in every town and village—upon every mountain and valley. Many have grown careless and indifferent—some are in districts rarely visited by a Priest, having but few opportunities to perform their religious duties, αnd many obstacles in their path. Such is the field of our Missionaries—a people whose conversion would be a great triumph to the Church, as well as an inestimable blessing to the recipient of the graces and consolations following their conversion. A great deal has been done by our devoted and self-sacrificing Prelate and his zealous assistants, αnd, no doubt, in a short time the wants of the people will be supplied, and the harvest will yield a hundred fold.4

Another observation, surely noted by Amat, was the peculiar shape of his new jurisdiction. As it had been divided, the Diocese of Monterey was anything but an attractive area from a material point of view. And Archbishop Alemany’s comment that “I should have preferred the smaller labor of Monterey” 5 seems a bit exaggerated in view of the manner in which he had the province divided. A line had been drawn at 37 degrees and five minutes, thus securing for the Archdiocese of San Francisco all the major towns, mining districts αnd railroads in the state. Possibly as much as 92% of California’s population was thus retained in the archdiocese, leaving for Monterey not so much as a respectable-sized town in the entire diocese. About the only advantageous aspect of the southern jurisdiction were the vast coastal ranchos αnd even these, by their very size, tended to prevent the growth of population centers. Amat found himself with 75,984 square miles in an area where less than a score of priests served the few existing churches.

Before leaving Rome, Bishop Amat had been entrusted by the Sacred Congregation of the Consistory with the palliurn for San Francisco’s new archbishop. And even though Alemany had been authorized to function as metropolitan without that symbol of his office, it was decided to have the investiture ceremonies as soon as possible. The colorful function, first of its kind ever witnessed in California, was set for November 185 and was described in these words:

Saint Mary’s Cathedral was yesterday the scene of an exceedingly impressive and very dignified ceremonial. The pallium, or token of archiepiscopal rank, which was recently brought from Rome by Dr. Amat, Bishop of Monterey, was conferred upon Archbishop Allemany [sic] of this city...A grand Pontifical Mass was celebrated by the Bishop of Monterey who preached a very eloquent and suitable sermon on the occasion. 6  [p.127] The large area of the cathedral, its galleries and even the vestibules were jammed with an attentive congregation. The Solemn Pontifical Mass was followed by the investiture of the humeral and pectoral pendant. For the first time, people were aware of the organization of the Catholic Church in California.?

Soon after the ceremonies, Amat and the archbishop set out for Monterey where, as it was said, “the climate and quality of the soil resembled Castille.” On November 25 the bishop arrived in his see city, where he was to take formal canonical possession of the diocese bearing the name of the old California capital.$ Then, as today, Monterey was a picturesque town, lying on the sloping shores at the southern end of a bay, within the northern cui-ve of Point Pinos, which protects the harbor from heavy seas and winds. The archbishop installed Monterey’s new bishop “é Sail ‘.’..1.s Plesidiu Chαρel Which ilâd seΙJed αs tie pro-cαthe-dral of the diocese.9 It was a modest, almost private affair, performed chiefly to satisfy canonical requirements. Amat had no intention of staying at Monterey permanently and for the time being planned to make Santa Barbara the temporary center of his activities. After a short visit in Monterey,10 he left for Santa Barbara where he arrived on December 2. Two days later, on the patronal feast of the city, he was conducted with great solemnity by clergy and people to the old mission church, where he celebrated pontifical Mass. Archbishop Alemany had recommended Santa Barbara for the bishop’s residence because of its relative accessibility to the far corners of the vast diocese. Among the functions presided over by Bishop Amat in his early days in the Channel City was the solemn ceremony of installing the remains of Saint Vibiana in Our Lady of Sorrows Church.> I

After several days of conferences with Father Jos é Maria Gonzáles Rúbio, who had been administering the diocese, the bishop went to Los Angeles where he was enthusiastically welcomed by the populace. His arrival was chronicled in a local newspaper:

Bishop Amat of Monterey arrived in Los Angeles on the 15th of December. An immense multitude of people, with the Catholic priest, were waiting to receive him at the west end of town, where he left his carriage, and walked, dressed in full canonicals, to the Church, dispensing benedictions as he went along. On entering the Church, after the usual ceremonies at the altar, he ascended the pulpit, and made an eloquent address to his hearers in Spanish and English. The Catholic portion of Los Angeles appear to be delight-  [p.128] FUNCTIONING ECCLESIASTICAL FOUNDATIONS IN *[p.187]**[p.8]*

Title      Origin





San Diego de Alcala

 176  9

San Diego


Attended from San Diego

San Carlos Borromeo

 177  0




San Antonio de Padua

 177  1




San Gabriel Arcangel

 177  1

San Gabriel



San Carlos Borromeo

 177  1



Attended from Monterey

San Luis Obispo

 177  2

S. Luis Obispo



San Juan Capistrano

 177  6




Purisima Concepcion

 178  0

Fort Yuma


Attended from Arizona City

San Buer,avent_ra

 178  2




Santa Barbara

 178  6  

Sta. Barbara



Holy Cross

 179  1

Santa Cruz




 179  1  



Attended from Salinas

San Juan Bautista

 179  7

Sáð Juan



San Fernando

 179  7

San Fernando


Attended from Los Angeles

San Miguel

 179  7

San Miguel


Attended fr. S. Luis Obispo

San Luis Rey

 179  8

San Luis Rey


Attended from Capistrano

Santa Ines

 18 ( 14




San Bernardino Asia

 181  0

S. Bernardino



Sáð Antonio de Padua

 181  6



Attended from Capistrano

Santa Ysabel Anis.

 181  8

San Diego


Attended from San Diego

Oar Lady of the Angels

 182  2

Los Angeles



San Pascual

 183  4

San Diego Co.


Attended from Sáð Diego

Santos Reyes

 183  3

King’s River


Attended from Visalia

Saint Francis

 187  9



Attended from Ventura

San Salvador

 185  4



Attended fr. S. Bernardino

Our Lady of Sorrows

 185  6  

Sta. Barbara



Immaculate Heart

 185  7




Our Lady of it. Carmel

 185  7



Attended by Franciscans

Immaculate Conception

 185  9

San Diego



Sáð Jose

 181  9

i.osAngelesCo. Chapel

Attended from San Gabriel

San Antonio de Padua

 185  9

Santa Ana


Attended from Anaheim

Saint Bouuiface

 186  0




\athity of B.V.M.

 186  0




Saint Patrick

 186  1




Saint Joseph

 186  2

Havilah City


Attended from Visalia

San Ramon

 186  4

Santa Maria


Attended from Santa Ines

Our lady of Mt. Carmel

 196  4  



Attended filin San Juan


 146  4

Fresno County


Attended from Visalia

Saint Peter

 186  5



Attended frein Los Angeles

Saint Clare

 186  6

Rio Sta. Clara


Attended from Ventura

Saint Mary

 186  6




Saint Isidore

 186  7



Attended from Santa Ines

Santa llosa

 196  9

Caiiibria Pines


Attended fr. S. Luis Obispo


 [p.129] ed with their bishop. He has invited the people to a meeting, fοr the purpose of taking measures to establish a college and also to provide for a settlement at Los Αngeles of the Sisters of Charity. He has been administering the Sacrament of Confirmation to great numbers of Catholic youth.12

It was the third time that the sleepy little pueblo of Los Angeles had welcomed a Catholic bishop, the first having been that of Francisco Garcia Diego y Moreno in March, 1843, and the second that of Joseph Sadoc Alemany in September, 1851. Among those witnessing the arrival of Amat at Los Αngeles was Edmond Venisse, a Picpus Father from the Sandwich Islands. According to his account, Ainat’s entrance was solemn, full of spirit and gladness. While the ringing of the bells filled the air, the Indians, dressed in their gorgeous costumes αnd mingling with ranchers who had cone from distant parts, crowded into the streets and formed a joyous throng, lively yet recollected. At the approach of the bishop all knelt with respect to receive the blessing.13

There is no record of the bishop’s reactions to this welcome but he must have been greatly impressed by the city that one day would be his home. However, the Los Αngeles that greeted Thaddeus Arnat in 1855 was little more than a struggling pueblo. California had long been a pawn in Mexican politics, torn as it was by civil war between the Californians themselves and the few American inhabitants who joined sides in various revolutions.  One chronicler wisely noted that Los Angeles County and the pueblo were a political football for years. The war between the United States αnd Mexico and the efforts of America to wrest California from Mexico kept the countryside in a state of general suspense.14 And there is ample evidence that this suspense lasted on fοr a full decade after California’s entry into the Union.

With the location of the sisters and other items of business attended to, Bishop Arnat journeyed south as far as San Diego before returning to Santa Barbara where he established himself at the old mission. Among the first matters on his agenda were plans for a seminary where candidates could be trained fοr the diocesan priesthood.15 California’s first seminary, established by Bishop Garcia Diego at Santa Inés, had never functioned satisfactorily and Bishop Amat thought it preferable to keep his seminarians at Santa Barbara until a more suitable arrangement could be worked out.16 The Reverend Blasius Raho, C.M., who had accompanied Ámat to California, was appointed superior of the seminary which the bishop set up in his own home and here under Raho’s direction the three students from Spain continued their studies. [p.130] Among other appointments of Amat’s was the designation of Father Gonzalez Rúbiο, as vicar general of the diocese,17 a post he had occupied under the former ordinary. The Reverend Anacletus Lestrade, C.SS.CC. of Los Angeles was named vicar forane for the southern part of the unwieldy diocese and later in the summer, Raho was delegated vicar general a latere for the express purpose of making a visitation of Sαn Gabriel, San Juan Capistrano, Sαn Luis Rey and San Diego.

The seminarians18 who had cone with the bishop from Spain were given minor orders along with three Franciscans on February 24, 1856; on March 8 all of these advanced to the subdiaconate; αnd on March 12, four diocesan and one Franciscan were ordained deacons. March 19 was the day selected by the bishop fοr ordaining the four diocesan candidates and another deacon to the priesthood. The ordinations and the immediate prospect of additional recruits from Europe enabled Bishop Arnat to assign pastors to several of the vacant parishes attached to the old missions αnd to consider the opening of several new ones. This welcome acquisition of five new priests, along with the favorable decision of the United States Land Commission confirming the right of the Church to certain buildings attached to the missions, were a great boon to the infant and struggling diocese.

The apostolic brief, which Bishop Ainat had sought from Pius ΙΧ in 1854 allowing the celebration in foro externo of the feast of Saint Vibiana, was received in March, 1856, and publicly proclaimed at the end of the month,19 the feast being given the rank of greater double in all the churches of the diocese. Even at this early date rumors about a proposed cathedral fοr the Diocese of Monterey were rampant despite the fact that there is no extant record of any such plans by Amat. One Santa Barbara paper reported that

It is the intention of Bishop Amat to commence soon the erection of a cathedral in Santa Barbara, near the site of the present chapel. On the completion of the cathedral the building now used as a chapel will be converted into a nunnery.20

When the Picpus Fathers were recalled, in the summer of 1856, to their posts in the Sandwich Islands after several decades of their “California exile,”21 Father Raho was named to the pastorate of the Los Angeles parish and set out at once to redecorate the church. During the fall, this work was undertaken by “the best artist in the city”22 and was brought to completion early in December. A local historian made this interesting observation on the outcome of the renovation: [p.131]* [p.132] During the administration of Padre Blas Raho, a genial and broad minded Italian, several attempts were rade...to improve the old church at the Plaza; and in 1861, the historic edifice, so long unchanged, was practically rebuilt. The front adobe wall, which had become damaged by rains, was taken down and reconstructed of brick; some alterations were made in the tower; and the interesting old tiled roof was replaced—to the intense regret of later and more appreciative generations—with modern, less durable shingles.23

The work of painting the exterior and redecorating the interior of the building had been a costly enterprise for the times. It was decided, therefore, on the day of the blessing of the church, to begin a subscription for funds and the local newspaper carried this item in a prominent place:

We hope that all the faithful will contribute, with their customary generosity, in order tο replace and regild the gates and tο place thereon new ornaments befitting the church.24

So generously did the city respond to the plea that by December 21, 1856 the renovated and newly adorned church was solemnly re-dedicated.

Text Box: ι ι 
Arnat was quick to realize that the Los Angeles he had known two years earlier was gradually beginning to dominate the scene in Southern California. Several attempts already had been made to divide the state, one as early as 1850 advocating a separate territory to be known as Central California. A more vigorous attempt came about a year later and in 1859 the state legislature even approved a bill to that end. The counties of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, San Bernardino and San Diego were to be withdrawn and erected in the Territory of Colorado. Only the controversy over slavery in the United States Congress killed the bill. The bishop perceived that, in any event, Los Angeles would be the logical and geographical center of future Southern California activities. By the summer of 1857 he had made up his mind to ask Rome to transfer the seat of his diocese to Los Angeles. It was also pointed out that the dissension then prevalent in Santa Barbara between himself and the friars would attract less public attention if the administrative center of the diocese were removed to another area.

With the few funds already collected by the Society of Saint Vibiana,25 Arnat provided for the erection of an episcopal residence adjoining the Church of Our Lady of the Angels. No public announcement was made of the plans to make Los Αngeles his headquarters but a San Francisco newspaper soon learned of the matter and reported that, [p.133] Bishop Amata will reside at Los Ángeles in future. A contract has been made for the construction of parochial buildings. Upon their completion, they will be occupied by the Bishop. An ecclesiastical seminary is also to be established at Los Ángeles.26

Although not official, this announcement was much more accurate than many others which appeared from time to time in the press. The parochial buildings mentioned were soon under construction immediately north of the church. The edifice was built of brick, with a long veranda, and served as an ideal episcopal residence. The hone continued as the bishops house and parish residence for the next five decades until the present dwelling of the Claretian Fathers was erected after 1910.

Despite the predominantly Catholic tone of Los Angeles in the 1850’s and 1860’s, there is reason to believe that Catholicity was something inherited but not practiced by the great majority. Visitors to the city were shocked at its carnival drinking and fighting and, as one author flutes, “Ιn a town that took morbid pride in its own sins the forces of morality were slow enough to appear.”27 That isn’t to say that there was a total lack of religious practice, however. It was a time of transition and the forces of evil quite naturally attracted the pens of chroniclers. Grassroots devotion to the Blessed Virgin, for instance, remained as one of the chief benefactions from Spanish times. Typical of this devotion to Our Lady of Refuge was a scene reported by one newspaper:

Our native population, assisted by a number of Americans, are making great preparation for the celebration of their great feast. It commences Tuesday, the 8th, it being the Dia de la Νiτgiτa. The entrances to the Plaza are now being closed up, preparatory to the “Grand Bull Light.” High Mass will be celebrated in the Church on Tuesday morning, and dancing and other rational amusements will be kept up during the remainder of the week.28

Religious functions closer to hone were also common as is evident from one report in 1858:

Corpus Christi, June 3rd, was quite extensively observed in our town as a holiday. Low and High Masses were said in the Church under the direction of Bishop Amat, with three or four priests assisting in the morning; in the afternoon, both the holy and profane, clergy and laity, together with the school of the Sisters of Charity, nearly a hundred girls, dressed in white, marched in a grand procession around the plaza, escorted by the Southern Rifles [p.134] and the Lancers, preceded by a band of music. The exact sigificance of some of the ceremonies I was not able to see into. The musical exercises in the church were, in general, really commendable.29

Transferal of the diocesan seat to Los Ángeles was only one of many matters Amat wished to discuss with officials at Propaganda Fide. And since correspondence by mail was as slow as it was ineffectual, the bishop decided to go personally to the Eternal City. Father Blasius Raho was named Vicar General30 and during Amat’s absence was given the exceedingly broad jurisdictional powers, granted a few months earlier for just such a need.3 T Amat went first to San Francisco on September 25th and while there conferred several times with Archbishop Alemany about the delicate Franciscan controversy at Santa Barbara. While in the Bay City, the Bishop of Monterey preached several times as noted by the local press:

Solemnity of the Rosary. A grand Pontifical Mass will be celebrated in the Cathedral today at 11 o’clock, it being the anniversary of the above solemn festival. Rev. Dr. Amat, Bishop of Monterey will preach on the occasion.32

Shortly thereafter Amat set out for the long and exhausting trip to Rome. He went first to New York and there discussed at length with Archbishop Hughes the feasibility of opening an American seminary in Europe to train priests for the United States. When his business had been completed, the bishop set out on October 30th for Europe.33

His journey took him first to Paris and the Vincentian motherhouse where he was graciously received by his confreres after a five-year-absence. While in Paris, Amat wrote several letters ahead to Rome advising the Prefect of the Propaganda, Cardinal Âarnabo,34 of his impending visit and apprising him of the reasons for his trip. One of the more perplexing problems facing Amat was the 111110 cruciata and its applicability to the Diocese of Monterey. A rescript received in January, 1856, had allowed him to promulgate the calendar of special feasts then being used at Baltimore with a few minor exception.35 One of California’s more prominent clerics hail written to a friend in Ireland of the freedom from certain ecclesiastical laws in his new home. “I don’t know whether you are aware of some of our California liberties... Take, for example, that of eating meat toties rq’ioties on every Friday except the Fridays in Lent...”36 Amat thought it wise to submit the question to Barnabo as to whether he [p.135] should conform to Baltimore in this matter of fasts and precepts37 or continue to observe the existing situation.

The bishop arrived in Rome late in March and began at once to dispose of the business matters before him. He wanted to visit Naples where King Francis II had recently succeeded to the throne and then return to Rome sometime after Easter but his actual itinerary is not known. In a letter to Raho, Arnat happily announced that “when I come, about September, Ι will bring with me two priests of the Mission and five Sisters of Charity fοr the Novitiate.” The sisters were a long cherished fulfillment as is obvious in the tone of the letter:

I shall bring with me likewise, as Ι am told by Father Sorrentini, it is already agreed upon, 13 or 14 Sisters of San Jose, and they come particularly fοr the Indians, but they will do whatever I think best, though I would like them to become useful to our poor Indians.38

On May 28, 1859, Amat wrote again to Father Rah() directing that the Litany of the Blessed Virgin was to be recited in all the churches of the diocese either before or after the parish Mass fοr the intentions of the Holy Father, and especially fοr the peace of the Church, a step he apparently took in compliance with a desire expressed by the pope in the preceding April. An interesting note to Archbishop Alemany on June 7 pursued the question of the buulda cruciata:

Ι received from the Congregation the declaration about the festivals and fasts we are to observe in California (of which Ι sent you a copy). Ι inquired in what sense we are to understand the words about the abstinences Utattur Bu//a C’ruciata: whether it is understood that we can use the privilege of the bull without taking it, as it should be in a country where they are Protestants; or whether it be necessary to interpret it otherwise. The Holy Father answered that we are to conform to the general rule of the fast. For my part Ι think it is best not to take it, so Ι abstain from asking fοr it. If you should think otherwise, I would conform to your views and might ask it for both dioceses.39

Amat’s reluctance to use the privileges given by Rome were prompted by his own rather severe interpretation of canonical discipline.

Near the end of June, when his business affairs had been fοr the most part transacted, Bishop Amat departed fοr Spain and his native Barcelona. It was a pleasant visit and a highly gratifying one fοr a new spirit of religious zeal was evident in Spain, bringing with it some of the [p.136] former idealism which Amat so greatly admired. He appealed for funds in many familiar churches and everywhere sought clerical recruits especially among the candidates of religious communities. His travels were successful for he had more than enough money to defray his own expenses and those of the others whom he brought back to the United States.

During his absence from Rome, the Sacred Congregation de Propaganda Fide handed down its decision allowing the transfer of his see to Los Ángeles where it was said, “considerable numbers [had] set-tled...in the lower part of the country in consequence of the great fertility of climate.”40 The decision was dated July 8, and retained the historic Monterey in the title.41


1SBMA, Quoted in Joseph A. Thompson, O.F.M., El Gran Capitan (Los Angeles, 1961), p. 221-222.

2Ôhe Dublin Review, VÉ (New Series) (January-April, 1856), 28.

3ÁPF, Joseph S. Alemany to Propaganda Fide, San Francisco, n.d.

4New York Freeman’s Journal mid Catholic Register, December 22, 1855.

5ÁPF, Thadcleus Arnat to Cardinal Barnabo, San Francisco, January 18, 1856. 6Cathïlic Telegraph and Advocate, December 29, 1855.

7Ôhïmas Denis McSweeney, cathedral on California Street (Fresno, 1952), Ñ. 37. 8Thaddeus Agnat, C.M., Exhortacion Pastoral (Los Angeles, 1856), ì. 4. 9Énterestingly enough, Archbishop Alemany appointed Agnat Vicar General of the Archdiocese of San Francisco on November 23, 1855, a position that he most probably occupied for the next quarter century. The author stumbled across a note to this effect in the Archives of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, “Liber A, Diocesis Sancti Frnncisci in California Superioribzis,” H-5, Fol. 15. 10In the Mexican period, the capital had been shifted from Monterey to San Diego, Santa Barbara, or Los Angeles at the caprice of the governors. At the beginning of the American period, the military governors stationed themselves at Monterey. But the sudden importance of the mining areas seemed to dictate a more centrally located point and in 1854 the legislature designated Sacramento as the capital of the state.

11Santa Barbara Gazette, December 6, 1855.

12December 22, 1855.

13Ánnals de la Propagation de la Foi (1858), ì. 67. Translated from the French by Brother V. Edmund, F.S.C. The letter was written from Copiapo, Chile on June 20, 1856.

14Âïyle Workman, The City That Grew (Los Angeles, 1936), p. 16.

15The Cash Book used by Bishop A.rnat indicates that he spent $1,395 in 1856 [p.137] and $2,961 in 1857 for the uupkccp of the seminary at Santa Barbara, a consider-

able outlay for such a struggling diocese.

16Finbar Kenneally, Ï.F.M., The Catholic Seminaries of CaliforçÑôÑia as Educational

Institutions (Toronto, 1956), ì. 6.

17Árchiíes of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles (hereafter referred to as AALA),

“Libro Bo radon” ì. 26.

18Viz., Vincent Llover and Dominic Serrano.

19SÂÌÁ, III, 84, Decree, Rome, March 28, 1856.

20Santa Barbara Gazette, May 22, 1856.

21 Reginald Yzendoorn, SS.CC., I-Iistouy of the Catholic Mission in the Hawaiian Islands (Honolulu, 1927), p. 187.

22 Viz., Henrique Penelon.

23Çarris Newmark, Sixty Years in Southern California (New York, 1930), ì. 293.

2451 Clamor Publico, December 13, 1856.

25Ar.’LÁ, Circular, Los Angeles, September 5, 1857. Later known as the

Archconfraternity of Saint Vibiana, the society was set up in 1857 to collect

funds fora new cathedral.

26San Francisco Bulletin, June 14, 1858.

27Remi Nadeau, Los Angeles From Mission to Modern City (New Õïrk, 1960), ì. 43.

28San Diego I-Ierald, December 5, 1857.

29The Los Angeles Section of the San Francisco Bulletin, June 28, 1858.

30Áénat had requested the resignation of Father González Rúbio when the latter

became superior of the Apostolic College at Santa Barbara. Cf. SBMA, III, 123,

Los Angeles, September 24, 1858.

31ÁÁLÁ, Propagation de la Foi to Thaddeus Amat, Paris, March 18, 1858.

32San Francisco Call, October 3, 1858.

33SÂÌÁ, III, 127, Francisco Caro to Friars, New Õïrk, October 29, 1858.

34ÁÁLÁ, Thaddeus Agnat to Cardinal Barnabo, Paris, December 29, 1858.

35 [7/z., Our Lady of Guadalupe whose feast day was observed on December 12th.

36Åõõgene O’Connell to David Moriarty, San Francisco, June 15, 1853. Quoted in

John Tracy Ellis, Documents of American Catholic History (Milwaukee, 1956), p.


37In an audience granted on January 23, Pope Pius IX ruled that the old calendar

was to continue in force as to feasts and fasts. Regarding abstinence, it was per-

mitted to use the bulla cruciata in the Diocese of Monterey.

38ÁÁLÁ, Thaddeus Agnat to Blasius Raho, Rome, April 1, 1859.

39ÁÁLÁ, Thaddeus Arnat to Joseph S. Alemany, Rome, June 7, 1859.

40William Gleeson, Histoiy of the Catholic Church in Califòrnia (San Francisco,

1872), II, 269.

41ÁÁ Á. Decretrum Íï. 40, Rome, July 3, 1859. [p.138]

[13] The Franciscan Controversies

During much of Bishop Amat’s time in California, there was a notable lack of harmony between the diocesan curia and the Franciscan friars at Santa Barbara. It was a period of transition and the difficulties between the two factions are understandable, happening as they did in an era when delineation of ecclesial jurisdiction was poorly defined.

Although Monterey had been designated as the city of his residence, Amat never lived there, and he seems to have determined at an early date on Santa Barbara as the center of his diocese. In any event, he took up his residence in February of 1856 at the old mission. The facilities were not very much unproved from the previous decade, and this, added to the obvious advantage of having a more centralized location, induced the bishop to propose to the Franciscans that they exchange their foundation1 in the city for that of the old mission, assuring them he would grant them the perpetual use2 of the mission, its adjoining living quarters, a vineyard αnd two gardens.3

The friars were understandably reluctant and replied that Our Lady of Sorrows had been canonically erected as a college αnd could not be dismembered without explicit permission of the Holy See. Nonetheless, Amat insisted on an immediate transfer, promising to write to Propaganda Fide, giving an explanation both to the pope and to the Franciscan minister general, from whom he received formal approval on July 6. In the meantime, however, the bishop went ahead with the exchange and appointed Father Blasius Raho, C.íi., to the pastorate of Our Lady of Sorrows Church. Anxious that the matter be handled dis-  [p.139]*

creetly and with as little publicity as possible, the bishop advised Father Raho to adhere closely to the schedule of religious functions previously followed by the friars and to fall in with the local customs familiar to the people.

In his subsequent report to Rome,4 Bishop Amat contended that the friars had been imprudent in their public utterances concerning the loss of their city parish and its transferal to diocesan administration, an event which was beginning to have adverse effects on public opinion in Santa Barbara. Amat pointed out that he had assumed the mortgage on the house and had not requested the return of funds already spent by the friars from the accounts of Santa Ines College.5 It was the bishop’s contention that the exchange was in the best interests of the Franciscans themselves since in his judgment there had been an undue amount of contact between the novices and the laity in their former location. At the mission the young students would be, as he said, “at a healthy distance from the town.”6 Amat obviously considered the transaction a fair one fοr he pointed out that by canon law he was entitled to designate any church within his diocese as his official residence. However, that the bishop had by no means 211 responsible parties on his side was evident from the fact that others besides the Franciscans and their friends, notably Archbishop Alemany of San Francisco, contended fοr many years that the parish should be restored to the friars.

The agent of the United States government for Indian affairs had approachéd Bishop Amar and asked for several priests to take charge of the natives living around the San Luis Rey area. Knowing their history in California and their successes in that highly specialized work, Amat proposed this project to the friars as one worthy of their consideration. The proposal was declined with a show of feeling that intimated a suspicion that the bishop was trying to drive them from the diocese. In their behalf, it must be said, there were only four friars at the mission at this time and even the loss of one would have necessitated the discontinuance of their college, which was both their novitiate and major seminary.

The Catholics of Santa Barbara were becoming increasingly aware of the poor relations between the bishop and the friars, and were inclined to side with the latter. For a century the people had known Only the Franciscans and they were quite naturally attached to them. This was not a rare situation since it also existed in parts of Mexico with a similar historical background. One supporter of the Franciscans made this point to the bishop: [p.140] Your Excellency, how can you expect the people to act differently when it is to the Franciscans that we owe what we are in our religious, civil and social life? How can you expect the people to have an equally good opinion of the religious and secular clergy since concerning the first we know from the tradition of our fathers and from our own observations their virtues of every kind ...7

That all was not harmonious with the people at Santa Barbara is obvious from other sources. One prominent lawyer noted in his diary that

We have never known such meanness as exists in this settlement. Even the magistrates in the tribunal of Justice cannot be counted upon and the disposition to steal, to cheat, of fraud, of lying, of violence, of intrigue, of abuse, of confidence are most common and prevalent and predominate to an extent that is hard to believe.8

Abuses were so extensive that the bishop was forced to forbid midnight Mass at Christmas time because of so many public disorders.9 The issuance of a pastoral letter by Amat on September 16, 1856, came at the end of a long series of personal pleas on his part and it was obviously aimed at the local populace of Santa Barbara whose abuses were condemned in no uncertain terms. After noting the happiness brought him on his recent parochial visitation, the bishop sadly commented that

Our joy has been diminished by our observance of the great dangers that threaten and surround us; such as are capable of infecting a great part of society if their progress is not checked.10

Amat concluded his ten-page pastoral by assuring his people of a “continued prayer on his part fora lasting peace and contentment.”

Meanwhile the letters of the Prefect of Propaganda, Alessandro Cardinal Barnabo arrived officially authorizing the property exchange that Amat had requested. But by this time the bishop felt obliged to appeal again to Rome and to the minister general of the Franciscans. Amat’s letter to the prefect11 told of abuses then prevalent among the friars at Santa Barbara, but did not explain their nature. He outlined what he thought should be the dispositions of the friars and concluded with a request for additional Franciscans to accept the post offered by the government at San Luis Rey. In his letter to the minister general, Amat suggested that the establishment at Santa Barbara be abandoned, a plan which he thought would bring an end to the controversy as well as to what were termed “certain scandals” then ravaging the city where”a veritable schism has arisen.”12  [p.141] Unfortunately, the situation deteriorated so rapidly that Bishop Amat felt compelled to send one of his close advisors, Father Cajetan Sorrentini, to Rome with a detailed account of all that had happened along with certain proposed remedies. A letter addressed to Pope Pius IΧ13 was given to Sorrentini containing, among other things, an outline of the disturbances and their seriousness. At Rome, Sorrentini gave the papers to Cardinal Barnabo, who examined them carefully before submitting them to the Holy Father. The accusations were spelled out clearly and the friars were charged with contradicting and discrediting the person of the bishop, of absolving unworthy and unrepentant persons, of neglecting the salvation of souls and of fomenting absurd superstitions among the people. The entire tone of the document, however, was vague. Certainly the friars had not openly and publicly attacked the bishop, although stories to this effect may have reached Amat from people misunderstanding the type of relationship that often exists between the secular and regular clergy. Also it must b pointed out that the friars had

no parochial obligations once their transfer had been effected. The mission was a good distance out of town and was nut a parish church at this time. Regarding the superstitions, Annat had in mind the friars practice of selling burial shrouds to the faithful, which the latter frequently misinterpreted as being “their key to heaven,” and this in spite of the friars’ insistence to the contrary.

At Rome the cardinal prefect had informed the Franciscan minister general  of the charges and he quickly sent to Santa Barbara for a detailed answer from the friars. In the meantime, the general seems to have taken a decided dislike to Sorrentini,14 whom he had known years earlier in the holy lands, and whom he accused of being anti-Franciscan. 15

As metropolitan of the ecclesiastical Province of San Francisco, Archbishop Alemany was apprised of the situation by the friars, and as a fellow mendicant his sympathies inclined him to assist them in any “way he could. His own involvement may have been motivated by his great respect for Fray González Rubio, who had served him as vicar general when Alemany was Bishop of Monterey. In any event, his actions indicated a desire to patch up the situation as quickly as possible.16 He sent a letter to the minister general 17 which had a marked effect in favor of the Franciscans in Santa Barbara, and the Prefect of Propaganda sent a copy of this letter to Amat at about the same time Sorrentini was presenting his case to the Roman Curia. Previous to the reception of Alemany’s letter, Barnabo and the Franciscan general were practically agreed that the *[p.142]* Santa Barbara fathers might well give place to others with, as it was expressed, “even greater zeal fοr the salvation of souls.”18 Alemany’s communication, however, caused the whole matter to be restudied at greater length, much to the dismay of Amat, who was anxious fοr a rapid settlement.

It was the advice of the Archbishop of San Francisco that the minister general appoint a visitor to go to California to study the situation at first hand. This advice was accepted and Father Francisco Caro, a Franciscan then stationed at Saint Joseph’s Church, Rossville, Staten Island, New York, was named apostolic visitor. Caro arrived by steamer in Santa Barbara on August 26, 1858,19 and was conducted to the mission where the normal liturgical functions attached to visitations were carried out. The visitor proceeded with his investigation and in the late summer of 1858 made a preliminary report to the minister general which concluded with the observation that “the Franciscans of California enjoy a fine rep-utation...and are worthy of the highest praise.”70

Bishop Amat was furious with the findings of the Caro report when he read them. He had already become highly incensed at what he considered the unorthodox and imprudent manner of Cαrο’s activities during the visitation. Asa matter of fact, there is evidence fοr believing that the delicate mission had been entrusted to a man of little discretion. Caro had gone first to San Francisco where he had talked at great length with many persons, most of whom knew little or nothing about matters in Santa Barbara and nothing of the priests. Anonymous letters denouncing Bishop Arnat were sent to the visitor and were accepted by him as evidence which, needless to say, was contrary to the proper procedure in cases of this nature. In Amat’s opinion, the visitor was far from impartial and, in fact, in his judgment Caro seemed to have settled the dispute before ever coming to the actual scene of the disturbance.21 Even the Franciscan chronicler noted that “the coming of the visitor general stirred up a hornet’s nest in California.”22

Up to this time Amat had been considering, for the sake of peace, allowing the friars to remain at Santa Barbara, providing that they would promise to adhere strictly to the diocesan regulations which they were not then doing. But any thought along these lines were dispelled when he heard that Father Caro had begun collecting signatures on a document attesting to the character of the friars and, it was asserted, even coercing certain individuals to sign against their convictions. Cαrο’s imprudence was further indicated when Arnat produced a written asser-  [p.143] tion by one of Santa Barbara’s leading citizens claiming he had been asked “without any explanation”23 to sign a petition attesting to the honesty of the friars.

At this point the negotiations broke down and the visitor angrily announced to Amat that he had not come to California to hear anything against his own community, which, he claimed, had been unjustly delated to Rome. Amat immediately telegraphed Archbishop Alernany to come to Santa Barbara, repeating his desire to see the matter settled and mentioning the “tumult which is existing among the people and the threat of schism.”24 The archbishop responded at once and upon reaching Santa Barbara inquired of the visitor his reasons fοr the recent outbreak of antipathy toward the bishop. The evidence that Alemany had assembled, although at first denied, ultimately compelled Caro to admit his predispositions toward the friars. Some time before, Father Sorrentini had returned to the diocese and had made his report to the bishop from which Ainat concluded that no real solution could be found until he personally went to Rome and presented the matter to Propaganda. He decided upon this course, but before leaving revoked the diocesan faculties from the entire Franciscan community in Santa Barbara,25 an action he took reluctantly, but out of his conviction that it was unsafe to allow the friars to continue their ministry under existing circumstances. His reasons fοr this rather drastic action were later given in Rome.26 Amat maintained that there were only three friars at Santa Barbara. Thus they did not constitute a canonical entity and were, therefore, subject to the. ordinary of the diocese by virtue of a decision of the Sacred Congregation of the Council on June 4, 1625. He thought their actions warranted this procedure since he had no recourse by civil law. Repeatedly his verbal admonitions had been ignored and he- feared that open rebellion might arise in his absence if action were not taken.

Soon after his arrival in the Eternal City, the Bishop of Monterey saw the Cardinal Prefect of Propaganda and presented his case. While acknowledging his great respect fοr the Franciscan pioneers in his diocese, he lamented the moral decline that had become evident in recent years. The bishop’s grievances embraced the following points:

(1)            The friars were admitting youngsters to Holy Communion without any instructions whatsoever;

(2)            All types of public sinners were being given the sacraments, even those known to be burglars, thieves, etc.;

(4)       There had been a widespread dissipation of church goods to those unworthy of such; [p.144] The first bishop, Francisco Garcia Diego y Moreno, had been shamefully treated by the friars during his residence at the mission in Santa Barbara;

(5)       Calumnies had been directed toward the bishop and his curia;

(6)       The friars had been unreceptive of all correction on the part of the bishop;

(7)       False indulgences were being granted;

(8)       The friars refused to care for needy Indians;

(9)       The friars had been begging in the diocese without the proper ecclesiastical permission;

(10)    Finally, they had waged a systematic warfare between themselves and the bishop.27

Cardinal Barnabo was anxious to have Bishop Amat confer with the Franciscan minister general, the Very Reverend Bernardino de Montefranco, but the latter would agree to a meeting only if, as a previous condition, the friars would be restored their faculties. This, Amat absolutely refused to do for, as he said, “the simple reason that my conscience will not allow it.”28 Finally, however, the prefect was able to bring about a meeting between the two litigants in the course of which Amat said that he and his clergy had been threatened with all types of reprisals as a result of the controversy.29 He recommended to the cardinal two alternatives, either of which would be perfectly agreeable to him. Namely, “either the Franciscans leave the diocese or he would leave the diocese to the Franciscans.”30

In defense of the friars, the minister generαl stated that his priests had always taught the theology of Saint Alphonsus Liguori which he presumed was approved by the Church, and he maintained that the friars not only taught this theology but they lived it. Moreover, he referred to the earlier recommendation of Archbishop Alemany and the testimony of Father Caro as indicative of the worth of his community at Santa Barbara. He also claimed that the testimony of Father Sorrentini was unworthy of consideration since he was a traditional foe of the order. No specific denials of the other charges are on file, although the minister generαl in all likelihood had something to say in defense of the remaining accusations. He did claim that Anat’s basic intentions for wanting the friars moved from Santa Barbara was his desire to secure the mission for use as his own seminary.31

Bishop Amat placed little value on Alemany’s defense of the friars since he alleged that the kindly archbishop had scant knowledge of Santa [p.145] Barbara, never having spent more than a few days there himself. IIe pointed out that when the first bishop, Francisco Garcia Diego y Moreno, arrived in Santa Barbara to take up his residence in 1841, he had been subjected to innumerable discourtesies and inconveniences.32 His health was poor and the friars allegedly allowed him to die of hunger in the small quarters of the mission where he was forced to live. This last accusation is certainly not true, but there was evidence that the people of Santa Barbara had little time fοr their bishop, Franciscan though he was, and that they allowed his hopes and dreams fοr the diocese to remain as a monument to the frailty of human speculation.33

During the course of the Roman negotiations the Franciscan minister general offered to accept Mission San Luis Rey and to staff it with Italian friars if Amat would αllοw the ones at Santa Barbara to remain at their post until their reputation had been restored, after which time they would retire to Mexico. But this arrangement, Amat refused to accept.34 Barnabo then decided to bring the matter directly to the pope and made arrangements fοr separate audiences for the minister general and Amat. The two sides were presented to Pius IX who promised the litigants that a decision would be handed down as soon as possible. Father Bernardino”strove to vindicate the rights of the College” and later reported that “the whole curia spared itself no labor in this matter.”35 Amat again suggested the action that he thought should be taken, offering several alternatives; one tha the Franciscans be transferred to San Luis Rey where 3,000 Catholic Indians were going without the sacraments; another that an impartial apostolic visitor be named; finally, that the Franciscans withdrew completely from his diocese. In addition the bishop made it clear that he had no intentions of leaving Rome until a decision was reached, a fact which he hoped would hasten the final action. And once again he reiterated his willingness “to lay his mitre at the feet of Your I-Ioliness”36 if such be necessary to restore peace to the diocese.

The decision was rendered on February 13, 1860.37 It stipulated that the friars were to be given back their diocesan faculties on condition that their superior and his subjects should “humbly and obediently” make such a request to the bishop. In addition, the minister general was told to take immediate action to correct the abuses in question at Santa Barbara. Reports of the corrective measures were to be filed with the proper congregation as soon as possible. [p.146] Almost immediately after the solution of the principal controversy, a second quarrel between the bishop and the friars arose over the interpretation of the word collegium and the canonical status of the apostolic college at Santa Barbara. At the outset, the Franciscans had the choice of establishing either a convent or a college. If it were to be a college, then it would be an autonomous institution whose superior had ordinary jurisdiction much like a provincial; whereas, if it were to be a convent, the superior would have only limited powers and would be subject in certain matters to the local bishop. Amat contended that the Santa Barbara foundation was a convent and not a college and was, therefore, subject to his jurisdiction. This contention was denied by the friars who considered their establishment an apostolic college, which, it would seem from the evidence, was actually the case. In 1851, Bishop Alemany of Monterey had petitioned the Holy See on behalf of the Dominicans and Franciscans that “at least one convent or college of each of these Orders be established for the missions of the diocese and that a Novitiate be granted to them.” Pius IX had acceded to the request and on February 29, 1852,38 the official document was issued. Alemany had also asked for approval from the Franciscan minister general and in return, he was given “all the faculties necessary for the purpose of establishing a hospice or college at Mission Santa Barbara or at any other place and authority to receive and invest novices according to the circumstances of the new establishment.”39 The permission, granted by the delegate general, Father Antonio di Rignano, also stipulated that the friars could conduct their own private elections for superiors.

As soon as these official documents were received from Rome, the bishop called a meeting at Santa Barbara, which opened on January 5, 1853. There, it was resolved that “this Mission should be turned into a hospice and that the Reverend Fray Jose Jimenο, a religious of Saint Francis should be the superior.”40 The document attesting to this agreement was signed by Bishop Joseph Sadoc Alemany; Fray González Rúbío, vicar general; Fray Jesus Orruno, guardian of the Apostolic College of San Fernando in Mexico City; Fray Jose Joaquin Jimenο, prefect of the mission of California and Fray Francisco Sanchez, comisario, who had come to California with Bishop Garcia Diego many years earlier. On the following day, Alemany granted his own formal authorization for the establishment.41

Three months later, Alemany handed over to the Franciscans the mission at Santa Barbara for the purpose of opening an apostolic college “in such a way, however, that the very Rev. Fr. Gonzalez Rúbio remain pas-  [p.147] ter of the congregation as long as he may desire...”42 Unfortunately, the old mission buildings proved utterly unsuitable fοr the friars and they were forced to ask Alernany’s permission to purchase a more promising site, preferably within the city. The bishop agreed and thus a location was found and a college inaugurated on July 23, 1854, at State and Figueroa Streets in downtown Santa Barbara. It was Alemany’s wish that the friars make the college facilities available to the townspeople in order to serve the double purpose of being close to the spiritual needs of the people and of securing from them a revenue sufficient for their maintenance.43

With the transfer of Alemariy to San Francisco in 1853, the college lost its principal benefactor, fοr the new bishop was noticeably unsympathetic from the very beginning. Amat’s attitude may have been motivated by the thought that the Franciscans were seeking immunity from his jurisdiction, a privilege which earlier apostolic colleges in Mexico and South America had enjoyed by virtue of their charters. As matters turned out, Amat wrote Alemany on once occasion offering the opinion that the friars were acting “above and beyond” the laws of the diocese in

manner he could not tolerate.44 It is not immediately clear how Amat felt he could press this claim, because the friars went to great lengths to convince him that they had a canonically erected college at Santa Barbara. Amat was shown all the documents in the mission archives attesting to the foundations juridical status. But he remained unimpressed and merely replied, “the evidence is lacking!” As a matter of fact, it was generally accepted in Rome, Zacatecas and Mexico City that the intention of the founders was to erect a genuine and fully outfitted apostolic college with all the privileges and immunities enjoyed thereby.

In the meantime, Archbishop Alemany let it be known in late August of 1861 that he had received an apostolic brief delegating him to arbitrate the contentions between the friars and the bishop which he hoped could be done on an impartial basis. “The delicate difficulty,” as he put it, “has fallen into my humble hands.”45 In retrospect, it would seem that Rome made a poor selection in Alernany since it was he who had been instrumental in bringing about the foundation of the college in the first place, and he could scarcely be expected, therefore, to be objective. His respect fοr Fray González Rúbio and the “other founders of our diocese” was a widely known fact. Ina letter to Bishop Amat, Alemany outlined his approach to the problem, although at this time he seems to have lacked certain of the necessary documents. He said, [p.148] Now my good brother, at those early days I lived nowhere and everywhere, and it was very difficult to keep all records very accurate. Can anyone suppose...that I would not grant them what they wanted? and this was my meaning in entering the record.46

In other words, Alemany acknowledged that it had been his intention to allow the friars to begin an apostolic college when the original request was made.

Soon after a visit paid to Santa Barbara in January, 1862, the archbishop wrote Amat, “I must confess that my opinion of the goodness of the Fathers of Santa Barbara, and of their good regard for you, was much strengthened at my last visit to that place.”47 He urged Ainat to re-examine carefully the generally good reputation of the fathers, what they had suffered and what they deserved as the founders of the diocese. He ended his letter with the plea that peace would soon come about. Bishop Amat, however, felt it necessary to ignore the disputed prerogatives of the college until definitive word arrived from the Holy See. He was unable, therefore, to ordain any Franciscan students, maintaining as he did that their dismissorial letters were invalid, since the superior of the college did not have ordinary jurisdiction.

In an effort to arrive at a clearer understanding of the dispute, Archbishop Alemany sent Anat a copy of the original permission he had given to the friars to erect a college along with the following observation:

I know it was always a question of a missionary college and for that reason I urged the guradian of San Fernando to come up with me all the way from Mexico. I had no other intention than to carry on their views.48

Amat’s response was surprising, considering that he had apparently seen identical documentation from the mission archives. He wrote:

I feel thankful to you for such a document, [would that] I had it two years ago! I had always learned from the writings of the Franciscan Fathers themselves that the nature of an Apostolic College is that it cannot be transferred but by the authority of the Holy See and you granted them said faculty with the condition that ‘hac inutili considerata, in alio loco designando in hac Diocesi,’ may be transferred and still all the difficulty that has existed between me and them came from having transferred them.., although this was done by the authority of the Holy See.49

The bishop went on to point out that the friars would seem to have [p.149] been given the authority to establish the house in the mission, but not in
the town
where they actually did found the college. The greatest insight
of the whole entangled dispute, perhaps, was Amat’s opinion that,

They intended to have their house independent even from their Minister General, who avowed that he never had any communication from the RR Franciscans from California or Mexico until I had recourse to them.50

Both of these statements were obviously unfounded, fοr it is doubtful that the Franciscans ever tried to establish themselves as an independent authority; in fact, a procedure of this type would never have been tolerated. Nor did the friars act without the knowledge of their general, as was evidenced by earlier documentation.

The controversy dragged on for years. But due to the kindly moderation of the metropolitan there were no further violent outbreaks on either side. In the winter of 1876 and 1877 there was some correspondence between Alemany and Amat relative to the question; the archbishop suggested, as he had done on many previous occasions, that the parish in the town of Santa Barbara be returned to the friars. It was Alemany’s contention that the Franciscan college at Santa Barbara was financially ruining the friars. Actually, Amat had advanced a large sum of money to the Franciscans in January, 1876, but notwithstanding, the archbishop also thought that “when Padre Antonio Jimeno agreed to retain the mission and give up the parish church of Our Lady of Sorrows he ilkely exceeded his powers.” The archbishop felt that the friars could support themselves if they were given back the parish and allowed to solicit alms.

The Franciscan-Amat controversies certainly do not form one of the brighter chapters in the history of the Catholic Church in California. They seemed to owe their origin to a genuine misunderstanding on the part of Bishop Amat which the passage of time seemed Only to increase.51 Individual actions were misinterpreted and exaggerated out of perspective by both parties, and it would be unfair to place the blame wholly on either side fοr these unhappy events. In fairness to Arnat, however, it must be said that the existing documents sustain his contentions, especially in regard to the earlier charges made by the bishop, fοr no evidence has been discovered that the friars attempted any more than a blanket denial of the accusations.52

As an epilogue to the disputes, it is pleasant to add that rancor and personal feeling would seem to have speedily disappeared on both sides. In fact, there is abundant evidence that Amat had kindly personal feelings [p.150] toward the frairs and they toward him. He went out of his way on several occasions to make his views as clear and concise as possible “so that you will understand that my action is not the result of any lack of esteem for your Community...but rather a sense of principle and duty.”53 Some years later when they were beset with financial difficulties the bishop borrowed $17,000 from the Hibernian Bank in his own name and used the reputation of his office to help the community through a difficult time.54 And the year before his death, Amat’s name was enrolled in the Franciscan Mass book by Fray Joseph Romo who referred to him “as the worthy bishop of Monterey-Los Angeles.”55


1Α new church had been built and dedicated on July 29, 1855 and it became the first parish in Santa Barbara. In fact, it succeeded the functions previously carried out at the Presidio chapel.

2It should be noted that Arnat wanted the title to Our Lady of Sorrows Church but wished to grant only the perpetual use of the mission property to the friars, an arrangement that would not seem to have been an adequate quid pro quo. 3Unfortunately, this property, large though it may have been, was never sufficient to support the friars.

4ΑΑLΑ, Thaddeus Amat to Cardinal Barnabo, n.p., April 4, 1859.

5ΑΑLΑ, Ristretto con Sommario (a document presented to the Sacred Congregation de Propaganda Fide), Paris, February 31, 1860, μ. 3.


7SΒMΑ, III, 112, Testimony of Pablo de la Guerra, Santa Barbara, 1858.

8”Diary of Judge Charles S. Huse,” Quoted in Maynard J. Geiger, Santa Barbara Mission (Unpublished), Chapter 3, p. 12.

9Mαynard J. Geiger, OEM., “The Apostolic College of Our Lady of Sorrows, Santa Barbara, California (1853-1885),” ProvincialAnnais, XIΙ (July, 1949), 6. 10Τhaddeus Amat, C.M., Exhortαιίοn Pastoral (Santa Barbara, 1856), μ. 1.

11Dated October 11, 1856.

12ΑΑLΑ, Ristretto, p. 1.

13ΑΑLΑ, Thaddeus Amat to Pius IX, n.p., August 12, 1857.

14ÁΑLΑ, Ristretto, p. 2. This could hardly be denied. Father Cajetan Sοrrentini had spent three years in the Holy Lands before joining Bishop Amat in 1854. Born at Rome on August 7, 1815 Sοrrentini remained a member of the Roman clergy up to the time of his death at Salinas, June 30, 1893. He once told Pablo de la Guerra that he had been sent to the Holy Lands as a secret “visitor” of the Franciscans by Pius IX. Suspecting their affiliation with the Masons, he reported his findings to Rome. In later years Sοrrentini displayed an openly hostile [p.151] attitude toward anything Franciscan and may very well have been the driving

force behind the whole Amat-Franciscan controversy.

15Á testimonial of Pablo de la Guerra, taken in 1858, notes that “I have never

heard from one of them a single word which in any way would becloud or

injure the high respect due the bishop nor against his person nor against the

respect due the secular clergy...”

16Álemany is reported to have said, “The illustrious Bishop Amat is well inten-

tioned but according to what you write, it appears that in his manner of think-

ing he is in error concerning the condition, object and privileges...”

17ÁÁLÁ, Joseph S. Alemany to Minister General, n.p., July 3, 1858.

18ÁÁLÁ, Relation, n.p., n.d.

19Santa Barbara Gazette, Áiégust 26, 1858.

20ÁÁLÁ, Cardinal Barnabo to Thaddeus Amat, certified in Relation, Rome,

September 30, 1858.

21ÁÁLÁ, Thaddeus Amat to Cardinal Barnabo, np., 1858.

22Maynard J. Geiger, O.F.M., “The Apostolic College of Our Lady of Sorrows,”

Provincial Annals, XIÉ (October, 1948), 47.

23ÁÁ A Daniel Hill statement, Santa Barbara September 6, 1858.

24ÁÁLÁ, Relation, np., n.d.

25/bid., September 24, 1858.

26ÁÁLÁ, Ristretto, ì. 7.

27Ébid., p. 6.

28ÉÁLA, Relation, np., August 17, 1859.

29AALÁ, Ristretto, ì. 2.


31lbid., ìì. 8-9.

32This statement was true enough. On one occasion when the bishop’s carriage

overturned and penned him within, a large crowd of villagers turned and

walked away leaving the aged prelate trapped for some hours. See page 46.

33A1fred Robinson, Life in California (New York, 1846), ì. 239.

34çÁLÁ, Ristretto, ì. 5.

35SBÌÁ, III, 160, Bernardino de Montefranco to González Rúbiï, Rome, March

20, 1860.

36ÁÁLÁ, Relation, np., n.d.

37ÁÁLÁ, Thaddeus Arnat to Joseph S. Alemany, Los Angeles, September 6, 1861.

38SÂÌÁ, II. 1669, Joseìh S. Alemany to Pius É×, np., February 29, 1852.

39SÂÌÁ, II, 1673, Delegate-Minister General to Joseph S. Alemany, Rome, April

1, 1852.

40Zeñhryin Engelhardt, O.F.M., Missions and Missionaries of California (San

Francisco, 1912), IV, 703.

41SÂÌÁ, IÉÉ, I, Joseph S. Alemany to Franciscans, Santa Barbara, January 6,


42SÂ1’,4Á, III, 8, Joseph S. Alemany to Joaquin Jimeno, San Francisco, April 18,

1853. [p.152]

43SBMΑ, III, 40, Statement of González Rúbiο, Santa Barbara, July 23, 1854. `AALA, Thaddeus Amat to Joseph S. Alemany,n.p., September 8, 1861.

45ΑΑLΑ, Joseph S. Alemany to Thaddeus Amat, San Francisco, August 27, 1861. 46ΑΑLΑ, Joseph S. Alemany to Thaddeus Amat, San Francisco, September 22, 1861.

47ÁΑLΑ, Joseph S. Alernany to Thaddeus Amat, San Francisco, February 28, 1862.

48ΑΑLΑ, Joseph S. Alemany to Thaddeus Arnat, San Francisco, April 10, 1862. 49ΑÁLΑ, Thaddeus Arnat to Joseph S. Alemany, Los Angeles, April 22, 1862. 5olbid.

51Τhat there were those whose selfish interests were furthered by the unpleasant controversy is hardly deniable and the respected Pablo de la Guerra ventured the opinion that “here we are confronted with a plan concocted and pursued by some who have attempted to dispose the bishop unfavorably to the Reverend Franciscan Fathers.” SBMA, III, 112, Testimonial, Santa Barbara, 1858.

52Án eleven page letter written to the Franciscan Minister General in 1883 by a member of the community at Santa Barbara outlines in great detail the poor state of discipline at the mission. In referring to this letter some years ago, the eminent Franciscan historian, Maynard J. Geiger, observed that it was “both comic and tragic. Comic because of the strange, rare style, and ungrammatical sentences of the man who wrote it; tragic because of the fact that there was at least a basis for some of the things he stated...” Cf. SBMA, III, 663, Bonaventure Fox to Minister General, Santa Barbara, December 17, 1883.

53SBMΑ, III, Thaddeus Arnat to Jose Romo, Los Angeles, April 22, 1873.

54SBMΑ, III, 534, Promissory note of Jose Romo to Thaddeus Amat, Santa Barbara, January 1, 1878.

55Εven those who disagreed with the bishop characterized him as “a just man, hard-working and active, and a bishop zealous in the fulfillment of his episcopal duties.” Cf. SBMA, III, 1112, Testimonial, Santa Barbara, 1858. [p.153]

 [14] The Pious Fund of the Californias

Soon after the hostilities between the United States and Mexico had been concluded, the United States Congress passed legislation establishing a Commission to settle private land titles in the State of California previously granted by Mexico. Those claims judged valid were recognized as such by the American Government. It was in accordance with this legislation that Bishop Joseph Sadoc Alemany presented his request that all Church property then in possession of religious persons or institutions be legally confirmed.

     It was also in 1851 that the California State Legislature appointed a Committee to invcstigatc the subjcct of the Pious Fund. Their final report, inconclusive as it was, related only that there had been such a Fund at one time consisting of large amounts of securities.

At the first Synod held in the Diocese of Monterey, which commenced on March 19, 1852,1 the priests in attendance urged Bishop Alemany to examine the possibility of making a settlement with the Mexican Government on the Pious Fund. The next year, the Bishop attended the First Plenary Council of Baltimore where he received similar advice:

I conferred with the Archbishop of Baltimore and other prelates on the large debt due from Mexico to our Church and mission in California.2

The Bishop also discussed the matter with Chief Justice Roger Taney who suggested that he present his claim “before the United States Land Commission in California empowered by Congress to determine all kinds of land claims in the State.”

At the express request of the American hierarchy, Bishop Alemany [p.154] then personally journeyed to Mexico City where he vainly attempted to obtain redress from the openly hostile Government:

I demanded that satisfaction be made to our Church in California, that as successor to Bishop Garcia Diego, I justly demanded for my missions and for my diocese; and that they should cease also to oppose my administration in Lower California.3

The determination of the Dominican Bishop is obvious from his entries in the Libró Borrador:

During July and August I continued to demand of the Mexican Government that they pay, but after many delays they notified me they could not accede to my demands and so I left the capital.4

No further action was taken by the Bishop until late in 1855 when he turned over all his available documentation to his attorney, John Thomas Doyle, who was to figure prominently in the complicated legislation for the next forty-five years.

The existence of such a Fund in that country was known to all the old inhabitants of the State, although none appeared to have any definite information about it, and even a legislative investigation in 1851 had failed to bring anything to light about it. I saw no probable way to obtain anything from Mexico for it until another claims commission should be made with the country and advised the Archbishop to wait in hope of such.5

In the meantime, a Metropolitan Province had been erected with its seat at San Francisco, and the Archbishop of San Francisco continued to act on behalf of Bishop Amat in the litigation pertaining to the Pious Fund.

The Archbishop took no action until the spring of 1857, at which time he again called on Mr. Doyle and proposed to engage his services, along with those of Mr. Eugene Casserly in an effort to bring about a settlement of the case.

Mr. Doyle proceeded to draw up an informe. The earlier correspondence between General Valencia, one-time Administrator of the Fund and Don Pedro Ramirez, lawyer of the Right Reverend Francisco Garcia Diego y Moreno, O.F.M., first Bishop of Both Californias, which the Archbishop found among the papers of his predecessor, provided much of the source material needed for later briefs. [p.155] And here Don Pedro Rarnirez’s methodical discharge of duty proved of incalculable value to me. His “lnstruccion Circumstanncia,” named each piece of property, urban and rural, which he delivered over...These names enabled me to identify the property and trace its acquisition.. .in the succeeding eleven years, I picked up the material of the history.6

The political ferment in Mexico in those days made formal submission of the case a practical impossibility. However, Doyle did file a letter with the Secretary of State on July 20, 1859, alerting the American Government of the Church’s claimn.7

Meanwhile in 1868, Doyle’s business associate, Eugene Casserly was elected to the United States Senate representing California, an event which subsequently proved of great assistance to the litigation. in July 4th, at a Convention between the United States and Mexico, the long-awaited American and Mexican Mixed Commission was set up to settle claims of citizens of either country against the other that had arisen during the interval of February 3rd, 1848 and February 1st, 1869.

Down to that time (Casserly’s election to the Senate) I had, after every session of Congress, examined the laws and treaties to see if any convention for claims had been concluded with Mexico, but after the election of my associate to the Senate, I naturally relied on him for such information; but he seems to have forgotten in the multiplicity of political business all about the Pious Fund, and I was ignorant of the convention of 1868 until the 27th of March, 1870, when I casually saw mentioned in a New York paper that Wednesday, the 31st of that month, would be the last day fοr presenting claims to the American and Mexican Mixed Commission, sitting in Washington.$

Mr. Doyle acted quickly as we see from his own narrative:

The Pious Fund as a case in my charge had so long appeared a hopeless one.. .1 sοοn got hold of the Convention of July 4th, 1868...Dernands made under it were limited to injuries to persons or property committed by either Republic on the citizens of the other, since the date of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, February 2, 1848. It was sοοn clear that the wrong done in seizing the Pious Fund αnd taking it into the public Treasury in 1842 could not be made a subject of reclamation under the Convention... I determined to waive all claims fοr the property of the Fund, αnd to treat Santa Anas decree as a bins fide purchase of it...and demand dam-  [p.156] ages for the nonpayment of the installments of the interest accrued by the treaty of Guadalupe-Hídalgo.9

Archbishop Alemany and Bishop Amat were both in Rome attending the Vatican Council, a fact which necessitated Doyle’s using the epikein clause which allowed him to proceed with the case, but on his own authority.

Mr. Doyle immediately sent Senator Casserly a telegram authorizing him to act for the archbishop:

Present to Joint Commission sitting in Washington a claim by Archbishop Alernany and Bishop Arnat, successors of Francisco Garcia Diego, Bishop of Californias, on behalf of themselves and all interested, for the income of proceeds of property belonging to Pious Fund of the Missions of California...This claim first became due American citizens by treaty of Querétaro, whereby both trustees and beneficiaries became American...All rents and proceeds received since February 2, 1848 fall within Convention of July 4th, 1868; prior spoliations released. Thursday is last day.10

Senator Casserly, in accordance with the directives made in this message, submitted the claim to the Mixed Commission in time to obtain a hearing. Since Doyle had acted upon his own initiative, and not according to the terms of his earlier agreement with the bishops, he had considered it necessary to have his telegram countersigned by the Very Reverend James Croke, Vicar General of the San Francisco Archdiocese. As a matter of fact, Doyle wrote later that “the clients were entirely satisfied with my proceedings and Archbishop Alemany expressed cordially his gratification at ít.”11

Doyle gathered the evidence together for presentation to the Commission by Nathaniel Wilson and Philip Phillips who were acting for Senator Casserly. Father Hugh Gallagher, who was in Washington and who had power of attorney for the California bishops, verified the Memorial and it was subsequently filed before the Commission.

The Memorial was heavily documented with statistical information relevant to the Church in the Californias. It emphasized that after the purchase of Upper California in 1848, Mexico had failed to make a single payment from the accumulated interest of the Pious Fund as pledged by Santa Ana in 1842.12

Mexico was defended by the brilliant lawyer, Caleb Cushing who asked immediately for dismissal of the charges, a move analogous to that made in a common court of law to non-suit a plantiff on the opening of his [p.157] counsel. This legal maneuver was justified on the following grounds:

(1)      The act of incorporation of petitioners as corporators sole did not authorize them to claim property beyond the limit of the State of California;

(2)      The petitioners showed no legal title in or to the Pious Fund;

(3)      The petitioners had a legal remedy in the courts of Mexico, which they were bound to pursue and exhaust before coming here;

(4)      The injuries complained of in this case were done before the treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, 1848. The Commission therefore, had no jurisdiction with the claim .13

Cushing wanted the case dismissed immediately but this motion was denied by the Court. Actually, “Mr. Cushing’s motion to dismiss was never formally passed to my knowledge,” according to Doyle.

The claim of the bishops of California pointed out that there had accrued to the Roman Catholics of California on October 24th, 1848, and on that day every succeeding year to February 1st, 1869, an obligation on the part of the Mexican Government to pay an annual interest on the Pious Fund. The American case concluded with the following observation:

Certainly a more equitable claim could not be presented for consideration. A fund contributed by Catholics, in various countries for converting to the Catholic faith the Indians of California, is taken possession of by the Mexican government and used for its own purposes, on the understanding that it would make an annual payment as a substitute thereof. The work to which this fund was dedicated by the donors remains uncompleted; there are Indians in California not yet gathered into the bosom of the Church. The proper representatives of that Church now call upon the Mexican Government for those annual payments, that they may carry out the benevolent purpose of those who contributed of their private property the means for its accomplishment; and we may say, using the mildest terms, that it does not become the integrity or dignity of Mexico, that she should seek, through legal subtleties, to avoid the fulfillment of an obligation incurred under such circumstances.14

Additional evidence was offered between March 1st, 1873 and the following October 30th. The case was placed before the Commission for a decision on May 19th, 1875. The American Commissioner, William Wadsworth, filed claims for $904,700.79 while his Mexican counterpoint, [p.158] De Zamacona, strenuously denied that any funds were due the claim. The Mixed Commission, having reached a deadlock, submitted the case to an umpire, Sir Edward Thornton, British Ambassador to the United States.

Both parties submitted new evidence to the Arbitrator who handed down his decision on November 11, 1875, in favor of the claimants. He fixed the value of the Pious Fund at $1,433,033 at the time of its sale in 1842. He awarded the amount of $904,700.7915 (amended October 24th, 1876 to $904,070.79)16 in Mexican gold, which was twenty-one years interest at the rate of $43,080.99 per annum, or 6% of one half the capitalized value of the Pious Fund. Sir Edward decreed an equal amount to the ecclesiastical officials in Baja California.

After a careful examination of the data furnished, with regard to the yearly amount of the interest, the Umpire is constrained to adopt the views of the Commissioner of the United States.

There is no doubt that the Mexican Government must have in its possession all the documents and all the accounts relative to the sale of the property belonging to the Pious Fund and the proceeds thereof; yet those have not been produced, and the only inference that can be drawn from silence upon this subject is that the amounts of the proceeds, actually received into the Treasury, was at least not less than it is claimed to be.17

The subject of res judicata, on which the Mexican Government based its case, was not allowed by the Commission for several reasons, some of which can be summarized thusly:

(1)            The Mixed Commission did not have the right to make a judgment on this case which it proceeded to do;

(2)            The Mixed Commission was entitled to interpret the Convention of 1868 and its rulings;

(3)            Mexico waived any right to object to the jurisdiction of the Mixed Commission by entering upon the trial without reservations;

(4)            The principal of res judicata applies to arbitral decisions and to the findings of international commissions.

In accordance with the decision handed down by Sir Edward Thornton, Mexico made the first installment payment on January 31st, 1877.

At the request of Archbishop Alemany, Bishop Amat informed the Holy See about the Pious Fund litigation early in 1859. He explained in a letter to Cardinal Barnabo the needs of the Church in California and [p.159] the legalities then contemplated fοr recovery of the Fund from Mexico. Bishop Arnat asked the Prefect of the Congregation of Propaganda Fide to tell the Holy Father of the action and secure his approva1.18

There is no available evidence that the pope encouraged the bishops to proceed with their claims. At that particular time, the relations between the Holy See and Mexico were rapidly deteriorating and a statement from Pope Pius would only have infuriated an already hostile Government.

Archbishop Alemany, as early as December 19th, 1875, thought it wise to ask the Holy See fοr a directive which would facilitate an equitable distribution of the Pious Fund, if and when a favorable verdict was rendered:

I think it proper to ask the Holy See for some kind of general faculty to use what we may receive, first and principally fοr the Indians, their Christian education αnd any aid required fοr them; then a good portion might be devoted to our schools, asylums αnd colleges according to their need, and some might be given to the churches, particularly those that most need it. And I would suggest that each Bishop act then with some advice of his consultors and keep an account, so that hereafter no one may blame us, as if we had abused the Fund.19

Shortly after the decision had been handed down, the Archbishop wrote again to Bishop Amat regarding the apportionment of monies:

Every Bishop naturally loves his Diocese, sees the wants and desires to make provision to meet them, αnd no doubt each of us might wish to have a large share to meet his necessities. But as the Fund was not only for the conversions of the Indians, but also for that of the pagans and also for the maintenance of Christians in the Californias and if it should be difficult to estimate the various wants of each Diocese, to carry out those objectives, and as Utah Territory with the exception of a small portion of the south part of the Colorado river, formed part of the Californias, and yet is not part of my Diocese, I would therefore propose that whatever be received after giving a large donation to the Franciscan and Jesuit Fathers, be equally divided between the four places, viz., the three

Dioceses of this Province αnd the Territory of      h20

The proposals ultimately drawn up by the archbishop αnd his two suffragans were submitted to Rome fοr consideration. On March 7th, 1877, His Eminence, Alexander Cardinal Franchi presented the decision of his [p.160] consultors for approval by Pope Pius IX. The proposals can be summarized briefly.

$26,000 was to be paid to the heirs of Jose Antonio Aguirre, in payment for a loan made in 1842; $24,000 was to go to the Archbishop of Oregon City (now Portland) for missions in his province, (especially the Vicariate of Idaho); $40,000 was to be divided equally between the Fathers of the Order of Saint Francis and those of the Society of Jesus; and of the remainder, seven equal parts were to be made, of which one was to be assigned in perpetuity to the missions of Utah; and the other six were to be divided equally among the three bishops of the Province of San Francisco.2 É


IÁÁLÁ, “Libro Boriwdoi;” ì. 275 (entry fïr March 10).

2Ébid., p. 275 (entry fïr May 18); Peter Guilday, History of the Councils of

Baltimore, (New York, 1932), p. 177.

3lbid., p. 275 (envy for July).

`Ébid., p. 276 (entry for 1852).

5John T. Doyle, The Case of the Pious Fundl of California in the International

Arbitral Court (San Francisco, 1906), p. 3.

()Sister Mary Imelda Quinn, “The Case of the Pious Fund of California in the

International Court 0f the Hague, 1902” (unpublished thesis, Loyola University,

Los Angeles, 1935), p. 30.

7John T. Doyle, Memorial of the Claims of the Califïr Baia Bishops (San Francisco,

1871), p. 11.

$John T. Doyle, The Case of the Pious Fund of California in the International

Arbitral Court, ì. 5.

9Quoted in Sister Mary Irnelda Quinn, cp. cit., p. 31.

10Jïhn T Doyle, The Case of the Pious Fund of California in the International

Arbitral Court, ì. 6.

1 1Ibid., p. 6.

12The Memorial is included in a series of fourteen pamphlets printed between

1871 and 1880 and issued under the title, Some Accounts of the Pious Fund of

California (San Francisco). This valuable book contains briefs, arguments,

memorials and other papers relating to the history of the case.

13Cf. Brief of P. Phillips and N. Wilson in Reply to the Motion to Dismiss the Petition

(San Francisco, 1871) fïr the full text of the dismissal motion.

1` Ébid., a quotation of the umpire in the case of Isaac Moses, the 24th of April,

1871, with the conclusion added by Phillips and Wilson. [p.161]

15Ρn equal amount went to Baja California, for in the words of the umpire, “there can be little doubt that Lower California needs the beneficial assistance of the Pious Fund as much as, and even more...”

16The amendment was necessary due to a mathematical error in the figures submitted by the accountants to Sir Edward Thornton.

17Sir Edward Thornton, Decision of the Umpire (San Francisco, 1871), μ. 6. 18ΑΑLΑ, “Diocese of Monterey and Los Αngeles, Ronan Documents, Decrees,

and Faculties, 1896,” p. 36, entry No. 45, Thaddeus Amat to Cardinal Barnabo,

Los Angeles, n.d.

19ΑΑLΑ, Joseph S. Alemany to Thaddeus Arnat, San Francisco, December 19, 1876.

20AΑLΑ, Joseph S. Alemany to Thaddeus Amat, San Francisco, December 20, 1876.

21AJ&,Α, “Diocese (ut supra)...,” μ. 93, March 4, 1877. [p.162]

[15] Internal Diocesan Expansion

It was late in 1855 that the decision relating to California Catholic property interests was made by the United States Land Commission. By this decision the Church had restored to it the titles of missions, cemeteries and certain adjacent lands and gardens.1 In its verdict the court ruled that the Mexican governors αnd their mission administrators lacked the authority to dispose of church buildings, the priest’s residence and the few surrounding acres. Although the favorable verdict was not unexpected, nevertheless, it gave new hope fοr restoration of divine worship and immediate establishment of regular parish life in the larger centers of population. Of the twenty-one missions, sixteen, stretching from San Diego in the south to Santa Cruz αnd San Juan Bautista in the north, were in the Diocese of Monterey. Arnat was thus the principal beneficiary of a decision that owed its success to the labors of Archbishop Alemany who had been pressing the claims since his arrival in California.2

The judgement of the commission was rendered “without prejudice” to the interests of third parties, that is to say, it was a decision of right as between the bishops of California on the one hand and on the other of those who held the properties by grant, sale or lease after the missions had been secularized, and that particularly in the years immediately preceding American occupation in California. For more than two deades the occasional claims to these properties had caused a great deal of litigation which, with few exceptions, had an issue favorable to the bishops. Unfortunately, the defense of the Church’s titles was a heavy burden at a time when the revenue of the diocese was urgently needed fοr other types of apostolic work. The decision of the commission served to reca-  [p.163]*

pitulate the principles laid down in all the law books regarding the right to property by dedication. Former legal status was re-emphasized, namely, that while the naked title was in the government, the usufruct constituted a right to the estate which would never have been violated in justice. Church property in Mexican times was known as a class of property standing by itself in legal nomenclature and governed by laws not applicable to other estates. Its intention was to protect and perpetuate its use to the benefit of the Church.3

Most of the restored missions were badly damaged by years of neglect and a few were in ruins. Their restoration to ecclesiastical title was timely, however, not only for their usefulness in present needs, but as evidence of the spirit of justice which moved the United States Government to act favorably in this matter. In the late 1850’s and early 1860’s Presidents Buchanan and Lincoln were to sign several patents which completed the formal process of recognition of the proprietary rights of the Catholic Church to these historic landmarks.

There were only sixteen churches in the Diocese of Monterey in 1854 when Thaddeus Amat cane to California, and five of these were ruined missions. By the time of his death a quarter century later, the indefatigable Vincentian had raised that number to include thirty churches, eight public chapels, an equal number of oratories and twenty-six mission stations, most 0f which were at least frame buildings.

First of the churches authorized by Amat was that of San Salvador in the Jurupa Mountain range near present-day Riverside. In its earliest days the little church was cared for by the priests at San Gabriel. Late in 1857 plans were made for a church at Montecito near Santa Barbara. Sixteen acres were acquired from Dona Alaya in 1857 and on March lst4 the bishop personally presided at cornerstone laying ceremonies bestowing the title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on the new edifice.

The old mission church at Santa Cruz suffered considerable damage by earthquakes in 1840 and 1857 and in February of that latter year the southwest corner of the building was so weakened by the winter rains that it was no longer safe for public use. Despite the fact that 1857 found the Diocese of Monterey in a precarious financial condition, Bishop Amat made plans for a new church in the area and went there on July 5th 5 for the initial ceremonies. Designed for a capacity of 350 persons, the building was erected by Walters and Beck of Santa Cruz. So diligently did the construction company and Father Benito Capdevila work that the completed edifice was ready for dedication on July 14, 1858. The bishop was present for the occasion and gave the church an Anglicized version [p.164] of its former title, the Exaltation of the Hily Cross.

The City of Anaheim was established in 1857 by a group of German settlers although there were likely few if any Catholics in the immediate area for some years after. In 1858, however, Don Bernardo Yorba “ordered the erection of a church in the locality now known as Yorba.” Shortly before his death later in the year, Yorba deeded the partially completed adobe church to the Diocese of Monterey-Los Angeles. Bishop Thaddeus Amat conferred the title of San Antonio de Padua on the new foundation which was blessed on April 29, 1860 by Father Blas Raho, C.M., the Vicar General. In subsequent years the church became a mission to Saint Boniface and in 1875 received its first pastor in the person of the Reverend Victor Fauron.6

Parochial beginnings in Visalia also date from 1860 when a temporary structure was put up under the patronage of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, a title later shortened to Saint Mary’s. As the governmental seat of Tulare County, Visalia had long needed its own church facilities. Saint Joseph’s Chapel at nearby Havilah City was erected in 1862 to succeed the crumbling mission station of San Emigdio. Known throughout the state as one of the leading areas for high grade ore, the city was heavily populated in the 1860’s but after 1879 most of its people moved down from the hill regions into the valley.

Catholics in San Bernardino had been clamoring for a church for some years. Now almost deserted by its early Mormon settlers, the recent development of mining in and around the city, particularly in Holombe Valley, had brought new colonizers to the area. Bishop Amat and his close advisor, Judge Benjamin Hayes, visited the desert city and were impressed by the apparent need for ecclesiastical facilities. The little church at Agua Mensa erected in 1853, overlooking the Santa Ana River, had been destroyed by flood as had the even smaller chapel at Jurupa. The townspeople were anxious to build a central church at San Bernardino which would serve the needs of the whole area. Later that summer, on July 7th, Father Raho journeyed out to inspect the site and celebrated Holy Mass for the Catholic inhabitants. Hayes recorded the trip in his diary:

I must long remember the wearisome canon from Holcombe Valley to the mouth, from the visit I made with Rev. Father Raho shortly before his death, to Holcombe. It was then full of miners, but they were poor. Their pious contributions aided one of his dearest objects, the repair of the church at Los Angeles, which had been injured by the rains of January. There is a marked significance [p.165] in the gilt inscription placed on its front.?

A temporary church was in operation by 1863 and plans made fir the establishment of additional stations at San Jacinto and Temascal. Tragedy struck on the night of October 2, 1866 when fire, possibly of an incendiary nature, destroyed the Church. The act caused such general indignation that on October 6th, a mass meeting was held in the courthouse presided over by Judge Shulett Clark.8 Father Peter Verdaguer, the pastor, described the extent of the damage and a committee of three was named to urge a suitable reward fοr the apprehension of the culprit, and another committee of seven members headed a campaign for the rebuilding. When the bishop was informed of the action taken, he was most grateful to the generous people of San Bernardino and heartily endorsed their action. By 1870 funds had been collected by Father Thomas Donohue fοr a large new building and on July 9, 1871 Bishop Anat dedicated the Church of Saint Bernardine of Sienna. Chroniclers noted that he

confirmed thirty-five in the church at Agua Mensa. That evening
solemn vespers and benediction was presided over by the Bishop...`

The first records of a Catholic Church in Gilroy date from November 12, 1854 when Archbishop Alemany dedicated a chapel to Saint Martin. With the arrival of Father Thomas Hudson in 1864 plans were made fοr a new building and through the hearty support and cooperation of his parishioners Saint Mary’s Church was ready for use in 1866.10

A modest little church was dedicated at modern Wilmington on November 29, 1865 under the patronage of Saint Peter. 11 The next year saw plans materialize fοr a church of Saint Vincent de Paul in Los Angeles. A cornerstone was set in place in July of 1866 but the unfinished building was gutted by fire soon thereafter.12

The Church of Our Lady of Sorrows at Santa Barbara, which had been dedicated on July 29, 1855, as successor to the old presidio chapel, also succumbed to fire in August of 1865. Fortunately the glass and metal case housing the relics of Saint Vibiana escaped unharmed. The adjoining presbytery was saved but the extensive damage amounted to over $6,000 and only through the kindness of Archbishop Alemany was it possible to raise funds fοr rebuilding the church. Alemany commented editorially that “the people of Santa Barbara have suffered terribly by last year’s drought,” a fact which “justifies them in appealing to our liberality” 13 Appealing to Propagation de la Foi in Paris, Amat told the director that with all its troubles “surely the Council has no poorer diocese [p.166] with which to deal.”14

When the centennial of the first mission in the state was held in San Diego on July 18, 1869 Bishop Amat preached both in English and Spanish at a Mass celebrated by the Reverend Maurice O’Brien, C.M., of Saint Vincent’s College. Immediately after Vespers the bishop laid the cornerstone of the new Saint Joseph’s Church. 15 Three years later, on April 20, 1872, Old Town was destroyed by fire and the pastor, Father Anthony Ubach decided to relocate the church on a mesa west of town. A frame edifice was dedicated by Coadjutor Bishop Francis Mora on January 31, 1875.

On August 30, 1872 Amat offered the friars at Santa Barbara the orphan asylum and church in the Pajaro Valley near Watsonville. The original foundation there had been made in 1854 and was known as Our Lady Help of Christians but from 1857 onwards it went under the title of Immaculate Heart. The friars formally accepted charge of the parish and Saint Francis Orphanage for Boys 16 on January 7, 1874. The following year, a chapel to Our Lady of Mount Carmel was put into operation at Aptos, near Santa Cruz.17

Although its history goes back as far as 1861, parochial beginnings at Watsonville date only from May 9, 1875. On that date Bishop Mora “dedicated the parochial church of this town ... under the invocation of Saint Patrick.”

Property was acquired for a church at Castroville in November of 1865 and a cemetery in 1873. Originally cared for by priests from Monterey, it was only in 1869 that Father Hugh Curran went to Castroville as the first resident pastor. He built a small chapel which, in later years, became the sacristy of the large church. Ceremonies were held on October 3, 1875 in the largely Irish agricultural community to formally inaugurate the recently completed edifice.

Yet with all the emphasis on material construction, Amat never allowed these things to interfere with the spiritual life of his people as was evident from the following newspaper account of the annual Corpus Christi procession for 1865:

The old-time practice in Southern California settlements of keeping up the Feast of Corpus  Christi was observed with the usual ceremonies and by crowds of natives and other Catholics in all the old Mission parishes on Tuesday, June 15th. This is the time of the year when His Reverence, the Bishop of Monterey is on his tour of confirmation, and the California children are put through a severe course on the “doctrine” by their mothers and the parish priests, of [p.167] which there are some 20 filling the seats of the old padres between Santa Cruz and San Diego.18

Amat was no less efficient than his predecessor and for administrative purposes, he divided the diocese into twenty districts, or areas with resident pastors. Using these parishes as centers, the limited number of priests could handle upwards of forty-five additional missionary stations or chapels over the vast expanse of the diocese. Even with this minute attention to detail, Amat foresaw the eventual necessity of forming a new jurisdiction in the northern part of his territory. Speaking, fοr instance, of Pajaro Valley, the bishop commented in 1866 that “within a few years another Bishop will certainly be established and forma new diocese.” 19

The Indians of California had been pretty much ground to pieces between the Spanish Conquest from the south up the coast, and the Anglos from the east and north across the mountains and over the desert. The pitiful condition of these beleaguered people has been described as the result of fierce attack in which “never before in history has a people been swept away with such terrible swiftness.”20 The normally peaceful attitude of the California native made him an easy prey to the greed of unscrupulous exploiters, a fact which accounts fοr their almost total lack of resistence to the seizure of their territory.

That depravity had ruined even the lives of the state’s 15,000 Christian Indians21 was noted in an account penned from Los Angeles shortly after

rhd „‚-‚.‚ οf ß`,1;F., .ter., the 7Τ.

Poor Indians of California, how abandoned they are and how deplorable is their lot. Contact with civilization daily ruins their race more αnd more, particularly because of that great agent of destruction which is called whiskey. There are whites who kill Indians just to try their pistols. Almost every week our little village witnesses from eight to ten murders; but it is during the night between Saturday and Sunday when the most abominable crimes are committed. Many times I have had to hear the confessions of some of these mortally wounded victims.222

From the outset, Arnat was deeply concerned about the natives, their poor living conditions, their maltreatment αnd most of all their spiritual direction which he acknowledged had often been overlooked. He told one of his correspondents that

I have already taken steps toward obtaining the establishment of a religious community, either in San Luis Rey or in some other point more central to the Indians, whose object would be to attend [p.168]  [p.169] to the civilization of the same; and another of the Sisters 0f Charity to perform the same duty toward the Indian females; the only means by which, in my estimation, we can effect a real and lasting good, especially if we can obtain assistance from the Superintendent for I must confess, that I feel myself unable to perfect this...23

Bishop Amat meanwhile had been asked by an agent of the United States Government for Indian Affairs for several priests to take charge of the 3,000 natives living around the San Luis Rey area. Knowing something of the history of California and the successes of the Franciscans in that highly specialized work, Amat suggested the project to the friars at Santa Barbara for their consideration. His proposal was declined though and it was some time before he could fill the need of the southern part of his diocese. Those natives living in and around San Luis Rey had, at least, nominal homes, something which could not be said of the other areas of the state. In one report it was pointed out that,

To the Missions they can never go again, with hope of finding a home. The successors of the Fathers are there, for a priest is stationed at all except two, I believe. Any Sunday a few Indians may still be seen near the altar, summoned by the chimes that once pealed over a smiling multitude gathered for worship or the harmless diversions wherein their happy hours passed away. The rest linger there in their straggling huts of brush or tale, trying to get a meagre subsistence out of the small patches not yet taken up by the whites—ill clothed, in filth and wretchedness, without food half the year, save what is stolen. 24

Commenting on the natives of Los Angeles, John Bartlett said he observed more Indians “about this place than any part of California” he had visited. “They were chiefly Mission Indians, that is those who had been connected with the missions, and derived their support from them until the suppression of those establishments.” 2SSοme thought, however, that regression to the earlier program Was not the answer. And even Nilson later noted in his official report, “there are many well-meaning men, I know, who favor the idea of restoring them (the Indians) to the Missions—a knowledge of the country forbids the idea: the measure is impractícable.i26

Nonetheless, an act of Congress on March 3, 1853, authorized the gathering of Ιndίαns into reservations and the “United States Government found it imperative for saving the very lives of the surviving Indians to adopt the methods of the Franciscan friars, the very mis-  [p.170] sίοn system which Father Junipero Serra and his brethren wisely introduced in 1770 for saving the souls of the natives.” 27 Of course there were differences in the two systems; under mission rule, the natives were treated as children which was never the case on the Federal Reservations where the Indians were regarded as mere orphans and treated accordingly.

Establishment of reservations did not solve all or even a majority of the Indians problems. That they were frequently ill-cared for by government officials can hardly be denied. Father Anthony Ubach at San Diego reported in 1873 that

...Ι have been seven years in this place and therefore amongst them as they form a large part of my congregation and during all this period of time, no Indian Agent or Commissioner has even come down among them to see how they get along. 28

Ubach’s plea for honest and capable agents was based on the practical contention that “many thousands of dollars would be saved to the National Government if good honorable men would be appointed as its Indian Agents.”

When the question of governmental assistance came up for reappraisal in 1875, a long report was addressed by a special commissioner to the Department of the Interior urging governmental action to avert utter starvation from the neglected charges. Credit in the report was given to what little Catholic missionary activity had been possible, and the corn-missioner freely stated that “it is an undeniable fact that to this day the Roman Catholic priests have a strong influence over the Mission Indians, which influence might be exerted for their benefit if the Government would do its duty to the Indians.” 29Obviously then, the Church was still a vital part of the native culture even though it was not often able to provide as much material assistance as might have been desired.

And certainly if the Church found itself unable to lighten the blows of secular indifference toward the California natives, the cause cannot be placed at the feet of the Bishop of Monterey-Los Angeles. Lack of personnel, paucity of funds and generalized apathy on the part of the state’s white population combined to make this aspect of Amat’s episcopate something less than a total success. Another generation would carry on this noble work in the mid-1870’s when the Bureau of Catholic Ιndίan Missions was set up in Washington to coordinate Catholic endeavors in this field on a national level. [p.171] NOTES TO THE TEXT

1An entry in the Libro Bïrraélïr for December 28 mentions that the United States District Attorney appealed the decision. A later note on November 26, 1856 states that the appeal was dismissed by the United States Government. 2Sìecifécally mentioned in the verdict were Missions Sán Diego, Sán Luis Rey, Sán Juan Capistrano, Sán Gabriel, Sán Buenaventura and Santa Barbara. See the Chronicle, December 22, 1855, fora complete transcript of the decision. 3Jacksïn H. Ralston, Foreign Relations of the United States, Appendix II, 1902 (Washington, 1903), 420. A thorough discussion is contained in Jackson’s work on the legal aspects of the case.

4Zephyrin Engelhardt, Ï.F.M., Santa Barbara Mission (San Francisco, 1923), p. 403.

SAALA, “Libro Gobierno,” p 32.

6Donald Montrose, The Making of n Parish (Anaheim, 1961), p. 35.

7Âenjamin J. Hayes, Pioneer Notes (Los Angeles, 1929), p. 278.

Q ÑF TI 1 1                        1     Washington,


Arp’, ~ nac~c~eus A~î~at to Propagation de ~a Foi,    February 8, 1867.

9Condensed frïm the San Bernardino Guardian, June 28, 1871.

10Gilroy Gazette, June 14, 1907.

IÁÁLÁ, “Libra Gobierno,” p. 52.

ß2Present-day Saint Vincent’s Parish dates only frïm 1887.

13San Francisco Bulletin, August 30, 1865.

14ÁÁLÁ Thaddeus Amat to Propagation de la Foi, Los Angeles, October 24, 1865.

15Á urne chapel was erected at “Siabtown” (later Cambria Pines) in 1869. It was

minced Santa Rusa.

16Ìáynárd J. Geiger, O.F.M., “The Apostolic College of Our Lady of Sorrows,

Santa Barbara, California,” Provincial Annals XV (April, 1953), 74.

17Ôaken frïm the Register 0f Baptisms, Vol. I at Watsonville.

18Quoted frïm the San Francisco Bulletin, July 15, 1865.

19ÁÁLÁ, Thaddeus Amat to Stephen Ryan, Los Angeles, March 15, 1866.

20Á report to the Government submitted in 1877 by Stephen Powers. Quoted in

Carey McWilliams, op. cit., p. 41.

21This figure is based on estimates made in 1848. Cf. SBMA, Jose de la Guerra

to John Hughes, Santa Barbara, April 18, 1849. Quoted in Joseph A.

Thompson, O.EM., op. cit., p. 223.

22Ådmïçd Venisse to n.n., Copiapo, Chile, June 20, 1856. Quoted in Annales de

1a  Propagation de la Foi (Paris, 1858), p. 62.

23ÁÁLÁ, Thaddeus Agnat to George Fisher, Santa Barbara, October 10, 1856.

24”The B. D. Wilson Report,” Indians of Southern California in 1852 (San Marino,

1952), p. 25. Edited by John W. Caughy.

‘-Person! Narrative (New York, 1854), II, 82. [p.172]

26”The Â. D. Wilson Report,” op. cit., ì. 41.

27Messages énd Documents, 33rd Congress, 1st Session, Senate Document No. I., 1853-1854, Part I, ì. 476.

28ÁÁLA, Ánthïny Ubach to Thaddeus Agnat, San Diego, July 27, 1873. 29Árchiíes of the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions, Charles A. Wetmore to E. P. Smith, Washington, January 9, 1875. [p.173]

[16] Religious and Educational Foundations

The Daughters Of Charity

Most of the immigrants to California in the Gold-Rush Days were young. Nor were there great numbers of women in the early years. In the mining districts, fοr example, only 2% of the population was female while the number of women in the rest of the state probably dial not exceed 8%. Hence children, what few there were, provided little concern from a social point of view because of their very scarcity. It was not uncommon, however, to see orphans scattered throughout the area, children whose parents were either lost at sea or killed in the cholera epidemics. The annals of San Francisco note that the fatherless and motherless children, though few in number, were left “to be tossed about in this great maelstrom of passion”1 without any apparent concern by the city’s populace. However, the problem did not go altogether unnoticed and by August of 1852, five Daughters of Charity had been brought to San Francisco by Father John Maginnis and they soon had in operation the Roman Catholic Orphanage of that city.

Concern fοr the welfare of its youngsters was voiced in the southland too. As early as 1851, “public sentiment was already aroused on the possibility of obtaining a group of Sisters of Mercy to take up educational work there, provided their material needs were suitably net.” 2Τhe local newspaper declared that such an establishment “would confer more real benefit on this community than any other single measure.”3 But it was to be another four years before an establishment could be made.

Soon after his consecration, Bishop Amat must have received word about the needs of Los Angeles fοr almost immediately he set out on a [p.174] quest fοr nuns. Uppermost in his mind, obviously, was a foundation of the Daughters of Charity with whom he had worked throughout his life. So confident was the bishop about obtaining the Daughters that he had little doubt that their superiors would agree to his request fοr a California establishment. On December 23, 1853 he pleaded fοr funds from Propagation de la Foi “ti help defray the travelling expenses of the nuns to California.”4 He went to France the following September but later admitted to the Prefect of Propaganda Fide that “they have no Sisters to give me.”5

When it became clear that he would not be able to secure religious in Europe, Amat considered the possibility of obtaining nuns from the recently affiliated Daughters of Charity at Emmitsburg, Maryland. Writing to the Very Reverend Francis Burlando, C.i., American Director of the Daughters, Amat notes that

I shall leave Havre with four novices for our Congregation, three of my clergymen and three Postulants fοr the Sisterhood as I could not get Sisters either in France or in Spain owing to the few number they have for the present establishments. Ι took three young ladies in Spain6 to be Sisters, and the Council of the Sisters at Paris has decided they will invest the Sisters at San Francisco and they will be formed there fοr a while to cone after to Monterey.

The bishop further outlined his plans of bringing the three postulants to Emrnitsburg’s Novitiate for several weeks to familiarize them with the American way of life and the English language. Amat asked Burlando for three additional nuns to accompany him to San Francisco noting that “I shall not leave Emmitsburg without them ... I must have then.”7

The small group sailed on May 19th fοr the United States and arrived in New York in about four weeks. Amat sent the novices and postulants to Emmitsburg and it was envisioned that Father Hugh Gallagher would accompany the women on to San Francisco when their training period was completed.3 Journeying through Perryville to Saint Louis, one newspaper printed his observations in its columns.

Informed of the destitute state of my diocese ... I directed my views to establish in Monterey9 the Sisters of Charity, to take care of all the unfortunate human beings many of whom found their misery where they expected to find plenty of gold.10

Delayed for some weeks in the east on business, Amat eventually decided to return to Emmitsburg and personally conduct the Sisters to California. [p.175] On October 20, 1855 Amat and his party sailed frοm New York to the Isthmus at Aspinwall. Their voyage was remarkably prosperous and one nun notes that there was “not even a whitecap on the water.” t l Early on the morning of Wednesday, November 14, the Pacific Mail Company’s steamship, John C. Stephens, reached her wharf at San Francisco after a two-week journey frοm Panama. The Sisters were warmly welcomed by their confreres at San Francisco who had been in the Bay City for almost three years.

Los Angeles Orphanage

Annat’s proposal to open an orphanage in Los Angeles met with the immediate approval of that city’s civic leaders and a meeting was called fοr Thursday, December 16, 1855 to work out the necessary details for such an undertaking. The first order of business was the raising of funds to house the nuns who would staff the institution and in this regard a committee `vas formed to canvass the city for subscriptions. Prominent among those participating in the preparations was John G. Downey who was to become California’s Governor five years Inter.12 A native of Ireland and a life-long Catholic, Downey had operated the only drugstore between San Francisco and San Diego and by 1855 was among the largest property-holders in the city. Downey’s interest in the project did much to further the cause and was only one of a long series of examples of his charitable interests.

 Chosen to lead the establishment of Sisters in Los Angeles was Sister Mary Scholastica Logsdon, a native of Maryland who had been associated in her childhood with another California pioneer, J. De Barth Shorb. A member of the Daughters of Charity since 1839, she was eminently qualified fοr the task fοr, as οne historian noted,

Every pioneer knows how far away California seemed in those days when no railway stretched connecting bands of steel across the great continent; when οne heard strange and vague reports of the primitive life of the Far West; when “Prairie Schooners” led οne through the terrors of Indian attack “across the plains,” or a long voyage by steamer brought one a wearisome journey via the Isthmus of Panama. I repeat, it required a staunch heart to venture into this unknown world, and, above all, it required a courage inspired by the faith of Sister Scholastica, fοr women to undertake this journey that they might minister to those in need.14

Sister Scholastica and her five companions disembarked in San Francisco in November of 1855 and delayed in the Bay City Only long [p.176] enough fοr the bishop to arrange for their housing at Los Angeles. They reached the southland “sooner than expected, for the Bishop who left us in San Francisco, wrote fοr us to come down in the next steamer which he thought would leave at a later date; but we hurried off taking passage on the next boat.”15 Their arrival at San Pedro on the coastwise ship Sea Biτd was duly recorded by the local press:

Six Sisters of Charity arrived in this city last Saturday, January 6, 1856...three are from the United States and three from Spain, consequently, both languages will be taught in school.”16

The missionary activity which the Daughters of Charity were to inaugurate began with anything but solemnity as can be seen by a description of their first impressions:

The rumbling of the heavy Phineas Banning stagecoach, the pounding of the horses’ hoofs, the barking of dogs, and finally, the boom of the town’s cannon—such were the heralds announcing the arrival in Southern California of the first Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. The day, January 6, 1856, was uneventful in the Los Angeles pueblo of less than nine thousand people save fοr the advent of these six blue-clad sisters from Emmitsburg, Maryland.

The coachman reined the horses to a stop and quickly jumped down to open the door. Six Daughters of Charity emerged, bearing the meagre belongings with which they had shared the bumpy ten-hour ride from San Pedro. The leader of the little band, Sister Mary Scholastíca Logsdon, and her companions, Sisters: Ann Gillen, Clara Sisnero, Angelita Mumbardo, Marie Corsina, and Francisca Fernandez, gazed wonderingly and not a little skeptically at their new environment. It was late afternoon. The few Indians and Spaniards on the dusty street eyed the newcomers with curiosity. One politely escorted them to the Mission Chruch, where they were kindly received by the good priest, Father Anacletus.17

News of their arrival was quickly sent to Bishop Amat who was on confirmation tour at San Gabriel. A close friend of the Bishop’s, Don Ignacio del Valle, former mayor or alcalde of Los Angeles, turned over his home to the sisters and “received us as if we were angels.” The committee had confined itself to fund raising and up to this point had made no specific plans fοr a definite house fοr the nuns, thinking it wiser to let them select a place which satisfied their personal wants and needs.

When we arrived at Los Angeles, the house was not purchased, [p.177] as the gentlemen commissioned to attend to the matter, awaited the Bishop’s coming to determine which would be most suitable to the Sisters.18

There were several alternatives fοr housing the sisters and when Arnat returned two days later, a number of places were inspected. One respected member of the small community noted in his diary that his wife,

Emily took much interest in the introduction of the Sisters of Saint Vincent into this city. She and I accompanied them, after their arrival, in their rounds among the different houses offered fοr their selection. She encouraged them in what their own good taste and sagacity dictated, in the places they were urged to accept and their final choice of the beautiful grounds of Hon. B. D. Wilson.19

Their selection of the twelve acre orchard and vineyard surrounding the lovely home of Benjamin David Wilson (Don Benito) was a wise one. The home was one of the “first frame buildings in El Pueblo and it faced the Alameda where lacy Street now intersects Alameda.”

In her memoirs, Sister Scholastics notes that,

The place was purchased at once, and four days after we were conducted to our new home where, with our dear orphans we are quite comfortable. We have an excellent gardener and in a few days “‘e shall have a woman to cook fοr us.20

The civic leaders saw in the advent of the Sisters the beginnings of a new development in education and community service. As one historian observed: “...immediately they formed an important adjunct to the Church in matters pertaining to religion, charity and education.”21 Another observer noted that, “when their wooden building was erected, on the site where the Union Station now stands, the first institute and Orphan Asylum south of San Francisco “‘as opened.”22

The Daughters opened their day school and home for orphans with seven youngsters, a small number but one which was destined to grow as the years moved on. By June 7, 1856, there “‘ere 120 sons and daughters of the first families of Los Angeles, Catholic, Protestant and Jew and the Sisters seemed “‘ell satisfied in their new surroundings in spite of the obvious disadvantages which were described by one writer in most unattractive terms:

It was to a primitive town that the Sisters came, primitive in society, business and government. Its three thousand inhabitants had among them many restless and reckless characters, disgruntled by Mexicans and depraved Indians, “‘hose number was augmented by [p.178] criminals driven from the north by the vigilantes.23

Annual Orphan fairs were inaugurated by the nuns, the first of which was held in October of 1857. One chronicler notes that,

Socially, fοr many years, the biggest events were the fairs that were given for the support of the Sisters of Charity and their good work. The date of the fairs was always set fοr “steamer day,” which meant the day that the boat came from San Francisco.24

With the proceeds from their annual Fairs, the Sisters were able to remain at their posts and in later years became the most respected religious community in all the southland.

Sisters At Santa Barbara

In May of 1856, Arnat wrote to Burlando fοr an additional “twenty sisters for five establishments...in the most important places of the Diocese.”25 That fall the first extension of the Daughters took place when a second group of nuns left Enunitsburg “to open a school where English could be taught in Santa Barbara in the new State of California.26 Tragedy struck in Panama where one of the five nuns succumbed to tropical fever. The four remaining Sisters went on to San Francisco, arriving ultimately at Santa Barbara on December 28th where they were eagerly received by Father James Vila.

Through the kindness of E J. Maguire, the Sisters were lodged temporarily in the historic adobe on State Street at Carillo, reputed to have served at one time as the headquarters of General John C. Fremont, until their school was completed. Within a short time after its opening at Las Cienequitas on January 3, 1857, neglected and orphaned Indian youngsters were gathered in from the area on oxcarts, wagons, donkeys, ponies and on foot to attend the first English speaking school in the area, Saint Vincent’s Institution. The original purpose of the bishop was to provide the security of a home and a school for those children between the ages of three αnd sixteen. From the very beginning, the foundation was successful and received the utmost cooperation from the inhabitants of Santa Barbara where the school was relocated in January of 1858.

As the oldest charitable institution in Santa Barbara, Saint Vincent’s school struggled along for the next seventeen years. In 1873 a larger piece of land was acquired αnd work commenced on a two story brick edifice. Completed the next year, the new building burned to the ground within a few months. It was rebuilt and by November of 1874 the Sisters were able to move into their new quarters. [p.179] Los Angeles Infirmary

A third contingent of Daughters of Charity arrived in San Francisco on January 6, 1858 to staff the southland’s new “county hospital.” There had been no such facilities in Los Ángeles during the 1850s and it was only on May 29, 1858 that the city witnessed the opening of its first medical dis-pensaiy in the home of Dοn Cristobal Aguilar, a small adobe building at Bath and Alameda streets near the Plaza. The Sisters subsequently purchased property from Dοn Luis Arenas on Chavez Lane in the early 1860’s and moved into the two story building. There was no water in the four room house and all linen had to be carried to the river bank to be washed. Nonetheless the Daughters were ready to announce on June 21st of 1869 that their Los Angeles Infirmary had been incorporated.

Sisters of Charity would respectfully announce to the suffering members of the community, that, having completed a large, commodious, well ventilated building fοr the use of the County Patients, they can now accommodate a number of both male and female Patients with Private Rooms, where they shall receive the care and attentive solicitude of the devoted Sisters.27

Their new location, the gift of Prudent Beaudry, was on Sunset Boulevard near the street bearing the donor’s name.28

Other Foundations

In 1861 Father Anthony Ubach entreated the nuns to open an orphanage and school at San Juan Bautista.29 The tiny village had grown to some importance as the site of an exchange station on the route between San Francisco and Los Angeles and needed the services of the sisters fοr its increased population. Classes were held in the long room back of the sacristies, while the Sisters themselves occupied the cloister or monastery of the mission.30 As many as 120 day pupils and thirty-five orphans were attached to the mission at one time.

The financially precarious condition of the Diocese of Monterey-Los Angeles prevented a more rapid growth of its educational program. In 1861 the resourceful Zachariah Montgomery had introduced the first of many bills in the state legislature3 Ι to provide that schools with a mini-muni of thirty children and established by parents or guardians be given the right to qualify as public schools, with religious instruction and catechism taught as an appendage but controlled by the parents. Although subsequently one unfriendly source stated that there was “imminent danger of its passage,” the bill was roundly defeated in spite of the fact that [p.180] public schools would not begin flourishing for some years in California.32 Regardless of this setback, however, the Daughters of Charity managed to set up an orphanage and school for girls at Santa Cruz in 1862. It was felt that the towns growth, which rated for it a charter from the state in 1866, warranted a school and although the town was not located on one of the main arteries of trade, its remarkably quick expansion would seem to have justified the action. Αn old adobe building, formerly the Eagle Hotel, which had belonged to the early mission, served as the first school house, and three sisters were allotted for the new foundation which brought joy to the heart of all those concerned for the youngsters of the area.

Communications with Paris and Emmitsburg were anything but rapid and Bishop Amat seems to have wanted a separate province of the Daughters of Charity set up in the west at an early date. His intentions in that regard were apparently misunderstood as an attempt to establish his own diocesan community and he was forced to reiterate to Burlando that “I would send them away from my diocese if they would attempt to be independent.” Amat went on to point out that “it will be necessary, in the course of time, to have in California a novitiate of the Sisters of Charity, and to form out of it a new Province, as has been done in Mexico....” Vocations were exceedingly scarce and Amat believed “you will not get any young lady from this...{area} to make her Novitiate either in Emmitsburg or in Mexico.”33

The matter was submitted at Paris to the Superior General and his council late the next year and on November 29, 1858 the request was granted.34 A seminary (or novitiate) was opened at Los Angeles Orphanage in May of 1861 and lasted until October of 1870 when it was closed for lack of financial means and a dearth of vocations.

Immaculate Heart Sisters

Bishop Amat’s disappointment at not obtaining larger numbers of Daughters of Charity forced him to look elsewhere for additional religious women to fill the growing needs of California. Attention soon focused on his native Catalonia and the Congregacion de las Hijas del Ssmo. e Inmado. Corazon de Maria. The small town of Obi had witnessed the foundation of this community on July 2, 1848 when Canon Joaquin Masmitja gathered together a congregation to engage in cate-chetical instruction to youngsters not able to obtain formal schooling.

On his way to the First Vatican Council in November of 1869,35 the bishop approached Canon Masmitja on the subject of pointing out the [p.181] tremendous need for sisters in the vast California mission. Amat felt confidant that with a beginning of five or six women, augmented in time by native volunteers, the tide of secularism in the Golden State could be turned in the Church’s favor. Masmitja was not at first too impressed by the proposal and Amat went on to Rome. There he contacted Archbishop Anthony Claret about his plans and found in the future saint a true friend. Claret was enthusiastic about the American apostolate and was known to have stated that were it not that “I am an old man.. .1 would fly there myself.” He even went so far as to prophesy that America “in the near future will give more saints to heaven than all Europe.”36

Having lent encouragement to Masmitja’s foundation some twenty-five years earlier, Claret was able to influence the canon to act favorably on Amat’s plea. By the middle of February, 1870 ten nuns were preparing to leave for California and spending their time learning English at Gerona. Amat had hoped to arrive at Olot in September but was prevented from doing so by the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War.37

The bishop returned to the United States and waited until the next July when he sent his vicar general, Father Francis Mora to bring the sisters from Olot. The contingent of ten nuns and Father Mora left Gerona, appropriately enough, on the feast of Our Lady of the Angels and went directly to Liverpool and then on to New York and San Francisco where they arrived on the 31st of August.38

Records of the Immaculate Heart community reveal that

...on the third day of September (1871) they were accompanied to Gilroy by the Most Illustrious Bishop Amat, who left them in the house there, that is four choir sisters, and one of obedience and the other five were taken to San Juan Bautista.39

The convent at Gilroy, about a mile from the city on land adjacent to Saint Mary’s Church, was destined for the novitiate. In 1873 the novitiate was moved to San Juan Bautista and in 1878 to San Luis Obispo. The probable motive for placing five of the nuns at San Juan Bautista instead of Los Angeles as previously agreed, “was Father Cyprian Rubio’s interest in the re-establishment of the San Juan Bautista Orphanage which had been abandoned about 1869 by the Daughters of Charity”`t° because of a misunderstanding with Rubio. In any event school opened again on September 11, 1871 and carried on the work of the Daughters for another generation. The sisters supported their orphanage through contributions of money, food and other supplies and by fees charged from the day school. A boarding institution functioned briefly but was later closed at the behest of Bishop Mora. [p.182] The sisters’ convent at Gilroy stood in the middle of an uncultivated, treeless fifteen acre oasis. Crammed within the two-story frame building were two classrooms, two music rooms, several poorly lighted dormitories and a kitchen and dining room. An academy and a private day school soon opened at Gilroy with an enrollment of upwards of thirty-five pupils. Boarding accommodations were quickly readied and the increase in students continued despite the distance from town.

A block of land in San Luis Obispo had been given to the diocese in 1857 by Don Dolores Herrera for a convent. After clearing title to the land in 1872, the bishop heeded pleas from the town’s inhabitants and allowed a school to be opened there. Several years passed and on August 2, 1876 the foundation was taken over by the sisters under the title of Immaculate Heart Academy. The infant school received hearty support from all sides and one glowing newspaper reporter noted in the year that “the institution is not second to any similar one in the state.”41

Church Educational Problems In California

There had been very little of an educational nature going on when California came into the Union in 1850. But the expanding population in the subsequent five years witnessed the allotting of public funds to all schools, denominational and otherwise, so much so that between 1850 and 1855 all education in the state, except that in San Francisco, was under church direction. However, as the Legislature began to fill up with members born in states where the ideas of Horace Mann were in the ascendency, the attitude towards private schools quickly changed.

Sincere advocates of a state monopoly in educational affairs gradually found themselves allied with those critics of the Church who characterized the role of Catholic schools as propaganda mills of “popish plots.” One such “progressive thinker” was D. R. Ashley of Monterey who led a campaign in the Legislature to deny public funds to sectarian schools. Ashley received endorsement from several sources, one of which was the public press:

Everyone knows that as all denominations stand related to the great question of public schools, the only motive for such an act is to pander to the Catholic population who are unwilling to have their children receive an American popular education ... They dare not have their children mingle freely with freeborn Americans.42

The Ashley bill, as passed into law on May 3, 1855, provided that “no portion of the Common School Fund...nor of the moneys raised by the State tax or specially appropriated for the support of the common schools [p.183] shall be diverted to any other object or purpose.”43 Passage of the bill was due, in no small measure, to Know Nothingism which was then strong, especially in Northern California.

In the Diocese of Monterey, already in shaky financial condition, the Ashley Bill tended to stall the growth of a diocesan school system. Almost all the state’s Protestant elementary schools “closed their doors for lack of funds or became secularized public schools and Catholic schools are fighting to make ends meet to remain open.”44

Early in 1861, Archbishop Alemany and Bishop Amat were among fifty-four ministers to sign a petition seeking revisions to the Ashley Bill. This action was carried forward by 7achariah Montgomery who, on March 29th, introduced legislation to grant public funds for religious schools on a pro rata basis. His bill provided that “no religion is to be taught unless such be the will of said parents... and in no event shall religious instruction lessen the five hours of secular education.”45 But pitted against such outspoken opponents as John Swett and John Confess who maintained that the proposal “was imported ... by the advocates of Catholicism and is in direct antagonism to our American system of common schools,”46 Montgomery’s efforts were eventually frustrated. One authority observed that the “bill was identified as-strictly Catholic stratagem and Protestantism and the common schools were again identified as the same thing.”47

The defeat of Montgomery’s bill was a major set-back for private education since the “Catholic schools had fora long time shared in the public school funds.”48 The new legislation received this editorial comment from San Francisco:

In the new School Law passed by the last Legislature and now in force, I find the following section: ‘No books, tracts or papers shall be used or introduced in any schools established under the provisions of this Act!49

In the same paper, a question was sent to the editor asking whether this ruling prohibited the reading of the Bible at school, or if the law forbade teaching religion before or after the normal school day begins. The response indicated that the law was not explicit on these points and would probably need testing in the courts.

Before the coming of the Americans, most children were educated at home or in private schools. There is no evidence of any school in Los Angeles between 1846 and 1849, a fact reflected in the illiteracy ratio for the city which passed the 60% rate.50

The Picpus Fathers opened a small school in Los Angeles as early as [p.184] March of 1851.51 Known only as the “Boarding and Day School at Los Αngeles,” there were three priests attached to the institution which limped along until the summer of 1853 when it was closed and the Fathers recalled to the Sandwich Islands. On August 10, 1856 Bishop Amat and Father Blas Raho reopened the school in a rented adobe building under the title of Saint Vincent’s College.52 The earlier institution had benefited by a code passed on July 9, 1851 by the City Council providing a sum of about $50 per month toward “the support of any educational institution in the city, provided that all the rudiments of the English and Spanish languages be taught therein.”53 There are no extant records of the school and no indication as to how long it survived. The curtailment of public assistance by statewide legislation in 1856 greatly hampered its activities and it is believed that the small school had a very short existence. Nor is there evidence of any connection between this institution and the later college of the same name although both were under Vincentian auspices.

The school was revived a third time in March of 1867 when the Vincentian Fathers moved their college from the plaza to its new site on Sixth Street. Bishop Amat engaged the Brothers of Saint Francis,54 recently arrived from the Diocese of Brooklyn, to utilize the old college quarters for a small primary school. Under the title of Saint Mary’s Parochial School, the institution received little or no mention in the early chronicles because of its insignificance in relation to the larger Saint Vincent’s. Under a somewhat misleading caption “Institute of the Christian Brothers,” the following notice appeared in the Los Αngeles Star announcing the school’s activities:

In the old adobe building, formerly the Lugo House, east of the Plaza, in Los Angeles, is located the School of the Christian Brothers. This institution is under the auspices of the Bishop of the Catholic Church and is immediately presided over by two Franciscan monks {sic}. It affords gratuitous education to male children of all ages, denominations and nations, Hebrew, African, Chinese who otherwise cannot attend school for want of means.55

Saint Mary’s continued on for about six years, sometimes referred to only as “the parochial school.” Classes were taught in Spanish, still the predominate language in the southland. Local annals are silent on the longevity of Saint Mary’s but it failed to appear in the Catholic Directory after 1874.

Despite the legal obstacles involved in setting up and financing a Catholic school system, Bishop Amat consistently advocated the erection [p.185]

This is the facade of the Church of San Miguel ale Puerto in Barcelona after which the cathedral at Los Angeles was modlelled. [p.186]


This is the facade of Saint Vibiana’s Cathedral as renovated in 1922-1924. [p.187] of parochial educational units and even incorporated a provision along these lines into the statutes of the diocese directing pastors to “watch carefully over those youngsters who attend public schools...”56

It had been Amat’s desire to see a school established in every parish of the diocese, since that seemed the only practical way of educating the youngsters in their catechism. In sorne areas, the plan was plainly not workable but in Santa Barbara, for instance, where the bishop had lived for some years, he was especially anxious that a school be erected which he hoped would raise the uncommonly low standard of living. A col-legeS7 for boys was, therefore, opened at the mission on March 2, 1868, in the interest of encouraging vocations to the Franciscans whose numbers were declining. In addition, the friars and Amat both knew that although the great majority of seminary students did not persevere through the entire course, it would enable those who left the college to attain a higher type of work within the community. The college functioned for about eleven years and achieved some success in providing higher education for certain of the local youngsters, although, unfortunately, few if any vocations were realized. The purpose of the college was stated in its prospectus for 1872-1873:

The object of this institution is to give a good English and classic education at the lowest possible cost—a want of which has long been felt in California. To cultivate the heart no less than to develop the intellect and physical powers of the students is a duty the Fathers keep constantly in mind.

The setting of the college was one of its more appealing aspects, nestled as it was on a plateau about 250 feet above the town with a beautiful view of the sea in the distance. The institution was governed by what was termed a “venerable and much-esteemed Catholic priest, once the President of the Catholic Missions; who has lived in the country since 1833 and is well known to the old pioneers from Sonoma to Arizona, a most unselfish kind-hearted old philosopher.”58 In the years after 1874 “it suffered from a dwindling student body and from increasing financial embarrassment”59 and it closed its doors May 31, 1877. [p.188] NOTES TO THE TEXT

1Quoted in Mary Stanton, “Institutional Care of California Children, 1769-

1925,” Acadenzy Scrapbook II (January 1952), 226-227.

2Henry Winifred Splitter, “Los Ángeles Educational Beginnings, “ Southern

California Historical Society Quarterly XXXIÉI (June, 1951), 103.

3Los Ángeles Stn; July 12, 1851.

4ÁÁLÁ, Thaddeus Amat to Berard Des Glajeux, Rome, December 23, 1853.

5ÁÁLÁ, Thaddeus Amat to Cardinal Barnabo, Marseille, September 16, 1854.

6Ámat obtained the postulants at Barcelona’s Juventudes de la Medella Milagrosa.

7ÁÁLÁ, Thaddeus Amat to Francis Burlando, Paris, May 7, 1855.

8ÁÁLÁ, Thaddeus Arnat to Francis Burlando, Pittsburgh, June 24, 1855.

9Ôhe bishop is referring to his diocese, not the city.

l°The Leader; July 21, 1855.

11ÁÁLÁ, n.n. to Charles Conroy, Saint Joseph, Missouri, September 17, 1951.

12I.e. on January 4, 1860.

3Cf. Hubert H. Bancroft, Chronicles of the Builders (San Francisco, 1892), II, 128.

14W. H. Workman, “Sister Scholastics,” Historical Society of Southern

California AnnualV (1902), 257.

15Árchives of Maryvale (hereafter referred to as AM), Extract from the “Life of

Sister Scholastics Logsdon,” Annals, p. I.

16Å1 Clamor Publico, January 12, 1856.

170ne Hundred Years of Service (Los Ángeles, 1956), p. 12.

1815.211, Extract, p. 2.

19Benjamín J. Hayes, op. cit., p. 172.

20ÁM Extract, p. 2. The house cost $8,000.

21Harris Newmark, op. cit., p. 189.

22Mary Stanton, “The Development of Institutional Care of Children in California

from 1769 to 1925,” The Social Service Review (September, 1951), p. 323.

23William E. North, Catholic Education in Southern California (Washington, 1930),

p. 126.

24Bïyle Workman, op. cit., p. 43.

25ÁÁLÁ, Thaddeus Amat to Francis Burlando, Santa Cruz, May 30, 1856.

26Mary Stanton, “The Development of Institutional Care of Children in

California from 1769 to 1925,” Academy Scrapbook, II (January, 1952), 227-228.

27Los Ángeles Star, October 2, 1869.

28Boyle Workman, op. cit., p. 59.

29Zephyrin Engelhardt, O.F.M., Mission San Juan Bautista (San Francisco, 931),

p. 107.

30Ámat had obtained four additional Spanish nuns from Europe in 1860 and with

these was able to exchange personnel with Emmitsburg.

31John Sweet, History of the Public School System of California (San Francisco,

1876), p. 31. [p.189] 32Cf. James T. Booth, Church Educational Problems in the State of Cahfernin (Rome,

1960) for the background.

33ÁÁLÁ, Thaddeus Amat to Francis Burlando, Santa Cruz, May 30, 1856.

34ÁÌÌ, “Registre....,” II, 261.

35Tomas liguer y Musqueras, Biïgrnfaa...D. joaquuin Masmitja y de Puig (Gerona,

1952), ì. 347.

36Quïted in Sister Marietta, I.H.M., “The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of

Mary,” (Los Ángeles, 1948), ì. 13.

37Tïmas liguer, op. cit., p. 351.

38Ìarianï Agular, Historic, de la Congregacion de las Hijas del Ssmo e Inmado

Corazon de Maria, (Barcelona, 1909), p. 199.

39ÁÁLÁ, Legal statement, Reply to the Reverend Hieronymous Bailli, Los

Angeles, n.d., p. 5.

40Sister M. Reginald Baggot, I.H.ivl., “The California Institute of the Sisters of

the Most Ilily and Immaculate Heart if the Blessed Virgin Mary,” (Los

Angeles, 1937), ì. 17.

41San Luis Obispo Tribune, December 23, 1876.

42The Pacific, lay 4, 1855.

43Statutes 0f 1855, Sec. 23, ì. 229.

441ark J. Hurley, Church-State Relationships in Education in California

(Washington, 1948), ì. 29.

45Califïrnia State journal (Sacramento, 1862), ì. 480.

46Sacramentï Daily Union, April 13, 1861.

47James T. Booth, op. cit., ì. 37.

48Richard Gabel, Public Funds for Chrirrh and. Private Srhnnls (WW7oòhingtnn, 1937)

p. 469.

49San Francisco Chronicle, July 5, 1855.

50Williarn Warren Ferrier, Ninety Pears of Education in Californ’a (Berkeley, 1937),

p. 260.

5tQuïted in Charles C. Conroy, “The Picpus School in Los Angeles,” Academy

Scrapbook, II (November, 1951), 165.

52Henry Winifred Splitter, “Los Ángeles Educational Beginnings,” Academy

Scrapbook, II (December, 1951), 193.

53Reginald Yzendoorn, SS.CC., op. cit., ì. 187.

54The Brothers had left their native Diocese of Brooklyn in 1863 without the

knowledge or authorization of their ordinary.

55July 26, 1870.

56Cïnstitntiones Latae et Promulgatae (San Francisco, 1862), pp. 21-22.

57It was known as the Colegio Franciscano.

58The venerable and much esteemed priest was Father Gonzales Rubio. Cf. San

Francisco Bulletin, April 13, 1868.

591aynard J. Geiger, O.EM., The Franciscan Boy’s College, Academy Scrapbook,

I, 195. [p.190]

[17] Catholic Collegiate Training

Until fairly recent times, the Catholic bishop who does not think in terms of having his own seminary is the exception, fοr otherwise he has no secure manner of providing priests to care fοr his flock and to staff his diocesan institutions. There were two attempts made in the early Catholic history of Southern California to fill this need. Neither achieved the precise goal originally intended, but both made sizeable contributions to the development of Catholic life in the new ecclesiastical jurisdiction.

Formal education in California had been unknown before the arrival in 1794, of Governor Diego de Borica. Education, what little there was, remained sporadic and ill-organized fοr as one historian has said, the “Franciscans came to California not as schoolmen but as apostles,” and in their roles as missionaries “their main concern was to awaken the soporific minds of their Indian neophytes to an appreciation of the divine, imponderable truths of Christianity.”1 Nonetheless, “every Mission was almost as much a school as a church ... for every well developed Mission was a great industrial establishment with an industrial school at the center.”2 However, with the advent of the colorful Borica, commonly referred to as the father of the public schools of California,3 a concerted attempt was made to establish schools so that literacy might prevail in the presidiοs and pueblos. But the governor’s constant proddings had little effect and as has been said, he bemoaned the apathy into which he too was forced to sink.4

In the decades between 1820 and 1840 the accomplishments were no more encouraging and educational efforts were to remain a haphazard affair until after the American conquest, with one notable exception. [p.191] Manuel Micheltorena, described as a “genial gentleman who was in many ways deserving of a better fortune than fate accorded him as ruler of the Californias...,” cane to the province as governor in 1842 and had in mind the fostering of education as a training in the recognition of vocational, moral and intellectual virtues. He wasted no time in seeing that schools were opened at Sαn Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Monterey, Sαn Jose, San Francisco and Sonoma, all with a specific and strict curriculum. Article 10 of his Reglamento prescribed that “for the patroness of these schools the Most Holy Virgin of Guadalupe shall be adopted, and her image shall be given an appropriate place in each school.” 6Μicheltorena’s educational activity earned for the governor the evaluation that “the chief merit of his administration was the great encouragement he gave to schools αnd to education.” Unfortunately, this patron of learning lost his office on February 22, 1845, for his unwillingness to enforce the confiscatory law directed against the mission chain.

Nonetheless, it was during Micheltπrena’.ς tenure as governor that the first diocesan seminary in the new Diocese of Both Californias was opened in 1842 in several rooms of the old mission buildings at Santa Barbara. It was only a temporary arrangement αnd as the number of students increased and the facilities became inadequate, Bishop Garcia Diego decided to erect a new seminary adjacent to Santa Ines Mission. Soon after submitting a formal petition for a land grant to Micheltorena, the generous governor granted the request.7 The original grant consisted of six square leagues which was augmented several months later to include a vast tract of 35,499 acres. This was a considerable piece of land even in those days and it was officially transferred to the bishop in April of 1845, under the title Rancho Canada de los Pinos, or in English, the College Ranch. In a constitution,$ drawn up by the bishop to govern the administration of the institution, the new seminary, which was also the first college in California,9 was pledged to accept students other than those preparing for the priesthood, with a preference for orphans and the poor. Unfortunately, the seminary never developed as had been hoped and the bishop did not disguise his disappointment when he stated,

...for the seminary, which with wretched means I have started, offers no hope of prosperity. The attendance is reduced to a small number of boys, whom with some hardship I must clothe αnd feed, and the education, for want of professors and funds, cannot be as thorough as I might wish.10

Chief among the reasons for the seminary’s failure was the extreme poverty of the Church, along with the absence of an educational tradition [p.192] in California and the political unrest then prevalent.11

In 1850, while Father Gonzales Rubio was administrator of the diocese, the seminary was confided to the care of the Picpus Fathers,12 then exiled from their missions in the Sandwich Islands. They altered and broadened somewhat the original purposes of the college as was indicated in the entry in the Catholic ‚4hn,aΈiac for 1851 which read,” ... a college has been commenced at Santa Ines about four hundred miles from San Francisco.” There was not even any mention of the seminary. Soon after Bishop Joseph Sadoc Alemany’s arrival in 1851, and the transfer of the Picpus Fathers to Los Angeles, Father Eugene O’Connell, a professor at All Hallows College, Dublin, became Rector of Santa Ines College and following his tenure there was a succession of short-term superiors. When the diocese was divided in 1853, the fortunes of the seminary improved temporarily. Father Cyprian Rubio became superior and during his regime the student enrollment rose to a peak of twenty-five. Rubio used venous ingenious methods to boost the enrollment, among which were advertisements in the local newspapers such as the following:

This institution, established with the object to educate youths who have some disposition for the ecclesiastical state, has offered great services to the community giving a knowledge of the sciences to youths whο otherwise would be deprived of the great treasure of human knowledge. 13

However, despite the fact that parts of the ranch were under cultivation, and other areas used for the raising of cattle, the deficits continued to plague the institution, not only because of operational costs but also because of the necessity for a series of major repairs. Moreover, Santa Ines was operated jointly by Archbishop Alemany and Bishop Thaddeus Amat whο frequently disagreed about administrative policies. Governor Micheltorena’s grant had carried with it certain legal reservations among which was a stipulation that if and when there was a split in the original ecclesiastical jurisdiction, the college would become provincial, that is, it would serve the needs of the several diocesan divisions resulting from the split. Further, it was stated that all operating expenses would be shared on a piό-rata basis, that is, by all the parties involved in the divisions of the earlier jurisdiction. Hence one-fifth of these expenses were to be paid by the Vicar Apostolic of Baja California, two-fifths by the Bishop of Monterey and two-fifths by the Archbishop of San Francisco. This arrangement was certainly not an equitable one for Alemany since the majority of students at that time were from the Diocese of Monterey. Moreover, there is no evidence that the Vicar Apostolic of Baja [p.193] California14 was ever able to meet his part of this indebtedness. It was understandable, therefore, that Alemany complained to Amat that “it is your diocese that has derived the entire benefit from the college in the education given in it since you were made bishop.”15 A clause in the original grant had stated, however, that the college could be discontinued with the permission of the government. And even though there had been a change of sovereignty, apparently there would have been little objection to the sale of the property on the part of the new United States government, provided a suitable buyer could be found. These legal minutiae did not at first appeal to Alemany since he thought the Church had a definite obligation to respect the obvious intentions of the Mexican governor. As he told Amat early in 1857, “I do not think the property could be retained or defended in favor of the Church if the object of the grant was not carried out.”ι6

To complicate matters further, Alemany and Amat were unable to agree on a practical plan for disposing of the property should a prospective buyer be found. The archbishop insisted that the college be moved from the mission to the nearby ranch buildings of San Isidro, a mile and a half from its present location. After much delay, a temporary agreement was drawn up in the summer of 1860 between the two ordinaries which embodied the following provisions:

(1)                   Very Rev. J. Croke shall be the administrator of the College to be kept at San isidro;

(2)                   He shall be authorized to spend what will be necessary in his judgement for fixing up for the purpose said house of San Isidro, not exceeding in such expense the sum of one thousand dollars;

(3)                   He shall be authorized to appoint an honest man capable of teaching the english branches and to employ a few servants indispensable for the keeping of said house;

(4)                   No expense for repairs, or other things, except to meet the above shall be incurred above three hundred dollars without the express consent of the parties or their agents;

(5)Each bishop interested shall place in the hands of V. Rev. J. Croke till proportion be better ascertained, the following sums...17

Further, the archbishop wished to have only an elementary day school at San Isidro if and when the move became feasible. “It is clear to my mind,” he told Amat, “that with due permission the college should be moved to another locality, leaving a good school for the present place.”18 But this suggestion was utterly unacceptable to Bishop Amat who [p.194] promptly countered in language that left no doubt about his stand:

I most humbly beg you, Most Rev. Sir, not to imagine that there can be a simple day school at Santa Ines. It must of necessity be a boarding school or college, fοr that place is still a wilderness, and there was never, since I am here, a single day school as far as I know.19

Amat went on to say that, with the approval of the Holy See, he would take the cattle fοr his share in the college ranch. He readily acknowledged that the value of the land far exceeded that of the cattle, but he added, “I value more highly the cattle than the ranch with the obligation of keeping the college.”20

Ultimately the proposal for a day school was abandoned by Alemany but he continued, nevertheless, to favor moving the site of the college to San Isidro, on the same property, unless a more suitable location could be found; and in the same vein he advised Amat that he would not be accountable for any future maintenance expenses incurred without his approval. It was at this juncture that Bishop Amat felt compelled to withdraw completely from the administration of the college and to appeal the case to Rome. In the summer of 1862 he informed the archbishop:

Since you have made up your mind to establish the college of Santa Ines in San Isidro Ranch where I know it cannot go on well without great expense; and placed, as it must be in said locality out of the inspection of the clergymen of Santa Ines; I, therefore, by these presents, make a formal renunciation of the administration of said college, and I will give notice of the same as soon as possible to the present president of the college that he may apply to you fοr the direction until it shall be transferred.21

Amat’s decision was deeply disquieting to the Archbishop of San Francisco. As a matter of fact, earlier that year, Alemany had agreed to submit the question to arbitration and names of several impartial churchmen had been suggested, among them the Archbishop of Baltimore and the Archbishop of Oregon City. The two disputants finally settled on the Jesuit rector of Saint Ignatius College in San Francisco, the Reverend Nicolas Congiato. The latter’s decision, dated August 12, came after Amat’s withdrawal and, therefore, was not binding on either party. Father Congiato stated:

...whereas all the difficulties existing between their Lordships the Archbishop and the Bishops of California, in relation to the Ranch and College of Santa Ines, have been referred to Rome for final decision, the Right Rev. Bishop of Monterey has no right to [p.195] demand at present of the Most Rev. Archbishop of San Francisco the payment of his pro-rata of the expenses made by the aforesaid Right Reverend Bishop of Monterey for repairing certain buildings used as a college.22

The decision reflected Amat’s appeal which had not yet been acted upon at Rome. Word from Alessandro Barnabo, Cardinal Prefect of Propaganda, was delayed until March 21, 1863, when Alemany informed his suffragan of the tentative official Roman decision, which stated that “the administration be confided to the Bishop of Monterey or to another person, if it will be more pleasing, to be chosen in accordance with the above mentioned Bishop and with the Vicar of Lower California, and let the income be divided pro-rata of the co-ownership according to the form of the decision of the same congregation.”23 The ruling was happily received by Bishop Amat as was indicated when he told the Archbishop:

I consider the decision of His Eminence.., as an act of justice to me, having been forced, merely for the sake of peace, to abandon the administration of the College Ranch which gave occasion to some inhabitants of this place to suspect my honesty in said admin-istration.24

Rome’s final judgement was received on August 3,25 and advised against selling the ranch until a more thorough investigation could be made concerning the value of the land. The decision of Propaganda was capable of several interpretations, although it would seem to have been a decided victory fοr Bishop Amat in that the original status quo was to be continued indefinitely. In the meantime Father Croke had given over the administration of the college to a group of Franciscan Third Order Brothers who had cone to California from New York against the advice of the Right Reverend John Loughlin, Bishop of Brooklyn.26 The Brothers had been temporarily sheltered at Santa Barbara Mission by the generous Father Rubio who, at the time, was unaware of their recent trouble in the east. Croke had also consented to the moving of the college “from the Mission buildings to the old house near the river.”27 The litigation in this case remained unsolved during Bishop Amat’s lifetime and it lingered for some years after his death. That both bishops had been anxious fοr a solution was, of course, true and one can see it reflected in Amat’s words when he told the archbishop:

As to the management of the College for the future, which I renounced, only to be freed from the difficulties you had raised, and which have been settled by the Holy See, I have no difficulty to [p.196] leave it in your hands, I am sure it will be well attended...28

The college continued to function at San Isidro although it never really prospered.

Meanwhile, in 1853, Archbishop Alemany opened a small seminary at Mission Dolores in San Francisco and thereafter he had no need to look to the college for vocations for his archdiocese. When the Franciscan Brothers withdrew in 1877, Alemany, still acting as the administrator of this “extra territorial” holding, handed over the institution to the Christian Brothers who governed it until it was closed in 1882. But for some years previous to this, most of the students had been from San Francisco and Bishop Amat had little if any contact with the institution. The Franciscan chronicler summarized the rather colorful history of the college in this way:

...the 33 years of the College’s existence was a transition period between the glorious days of old when saintly and industrious friars reaped a rich harvest of souls and the modern far-flung province that has passed its Second Spring.29

Saint Vincent’s College

From his earliest days in California, Bishop Amat had envisioned a seminary staffed by his own community, and the difficulties he experienced with Santa Ines College served to increase the bishop’s hopes in that direction. However, the recent expansion of the Vincentians’ American province into Mexico had greatly dispersed its already meager membership and the bishop was compelled to put off his Seminary plan for many years. But if it was not feasible for the Vincentians to undertake the operation of a seminary they were to be identified with religious education in the diocese in other ways as the years progressed. Soon after his appointment to Los Angeles in 1856, Father Blasius Raho, C.M. reopened the school for boys established by the Picpus Fathers in 1851, despite the fact that the city council had voted to withdraw all subsidies to private schools.30 The institution was moderately successful and was known as Saint Vincent’s College,31 a title not to be identified with the later establishment32 bearing that name.

In the spring of 1861, Amat had sent four students to- Saint Vincent’s College at Cape Girardeau, Missouri, for seminary training. The college had suffered a loss in enrollment during the troubled times of the Civil War and was desirous of increasing its student body by enlisting boys from the entire country. With this in mind, the Víncentian provincial, [p.197] Stephen V. Ryan, C.M. sent out letters to a number of bishops. His report33 mentioned that there were then only twenty-nine seminarians, eighteen having been raised to the dignity of the priesthood in addition to what was described as the “four prepared and sent fοr ordination to the Right Reverend Bishop of Monterey.” Ryan’s letter provided Amat with an ideal opportunity fοr opening negotiations about the Vincentíans establishing a college or seminary in the Diocese of Monterey-Los Αngeles. The bishop made known his wishes to Father Ryan34 in the spring of 1863 and the latter’s reply was optimistic:

“after much reflection and consideration, I think it may be the will of God that we send to your distant mission two or three confreres, who may be able to commence an establishment of this Congregation there and attend to the spiritual needs of the sisters...35

Ordinarily Amat made his visitations in the northern part of his diocese in the summer and this, no doubt, was the reason fοr his delay in answering Ryan’s letter. In answer to his letter in October, he received the following reply:

I was long awaiting your reply and, seeing that it did not come, I gave a temporary mission to two of the confreres intended fοr you, and the third, Mr. Burlando, manifested so great a reluctance to go such a distance that the Superior General is unwilling to press him, so that we will have ro look around fur a suitaúie person to ill his place.., and hence we will not be able to send you the confreres until next spring.36

But in late December, Father Ryan made it known that, contrary to expectations, he would be able to send “the long promised colony to found a house of the Congregation and take the direction of the good Sisters.37 Ryan instructed Father John Asmuth then at Baltimore to obtain information from the Sisters of Charity and to proceed, with Father John Beakey, to Los Angeles. The third member of the party, Father J. Pyggott, was then very ill and in the end was replaced by Father Michael Rubi. Asmuth was designated superior. The priests reached Los Αngeles in March of 186438 where they found the place sorely afflicted by an extreme and disastrous drought, a fact which undoubtedly influenced the tone of their reports to Father Ryan. In addition there arose a difficulty regarding the terms upon which Bishop Amat proposed to establish their new foundation. Father Asmuth’s instructions, at least as he understood them, were to accept the foundation only if the title to the property was vested absolutely in the Congregation of the Mission. The [p.198] bishop, on the other hand, quoted the diocesan statutes to the contrary and cited two letters from Cardinal Barnabo to the same effect. The negotiations became deadlocked since Asmuth felt himself unable to meet the bishop’s terms and accordingly, the fathers left Los Angeles and Father Asmuth passed on to his provincial the news of this development.

In May of the sane year, the three Vincentians were in San Francisco where they again met Amat who was there on business. On this occasion he offered them perpetual use of the diocesan acreage in Pajaro Valley near Watsonville, but again he was unsuccessful in altering their views. The matter remained in abeyance until August during which time the Vincentians entered upon negotiations with Bishop Eugene O’Connell of Grass Valley fοr a settlement in the latter’s diocese. Meanwhile the fathers occupied their time giving missions in the prosperous mining camps of Nevada and on August 4, Father Asmuth, with the provincial’s approval, notified Arnat of their intention of locating in the Diocese of Grass Valley.

Meanwhile Amat had sent his views of the case to Father Ryan, but his letter did not reach the provincial until midway through the summer. Ryan replied that he had no knowledge of either the special statutes of the diocese or of the views of Propaganda regarding the tenure of property. He mentioned, however, that he did not regard this development as an insuperable obstacle. He said:

But the location and prospects of success αnd future usefulness at the different points in Your Lordship’s diocese, visited αnd examined by those personally and deeply interested, were far from encouraging. Hence I have written to our good confreres to settle themselves in any eligible position in San Francisco or any neighboring diocese, wheresoever they may find the greatest facilities to carry out the works of the Community, to establish a little Seminary or a house fοr missions, retreats, etc. and to attend to the direction of the Sisters of Charity. A central and quickly populated locality with facilities of communication and of easy access is certainly preferable to a remote and sparsely settled country.39

In his lengthy reply Amat reiterated his position in the matter of the property and expressed his regret that the congregation could not accept his offer fοr the direction of a petit setninaire in Los Angeles. In enlarging upon the advantages of Pajaro as a site for the seminary, he said:

Any other community, knowing the place, would immediately accept it; the Jesuits would hasten to it with satisfaction, as they have also offered to accept the place which I proposed to our confr-  [p.199] eres here in Los Angeles, which cannot fail, although poor today as there is no town or city in California so much favored with water fοr irrigation, the principal element wanted in California.”40

Pajaro, the bishop thought, would soon be connected with San Francisco by rail. He also offered the fathers a parish in nearby Watsonville where a church was already under construction, until such a time as they might be able to finance themselves in their own house. The region, settled mainly by Irish Catholics, was one of rich land, asily irrigated. He remained optimistic that the Vincentians would ultimately accept his offer either of Pajaro of Los Αngeles. This last letter seems to have reopened the whole question, fοr on December 3, Ryan wrote again, saying that he had communicated with Father Asmuth with the result that “if anything should turn up to prevent their establishment where they now propose to settle, I think he might very well accept Pajaro Valley, provided they have a guaranty of a secure and permanent house.”41

The upshot of all this was the return, in the spring of 1865, of the Vincentians to Los Angeles. Without relinquishing his idea of a minor seminary he went along with their plans to open a school for boys and an announcement was duly made to this effect. In April, Amat called together a group of representative men to discuss plans for establishing a college, and on May 2, a ways-and-means committee was suggested and approved. Support came from outside the Catholic community and as one local historian has said:

Soon afterward, the ladies of the community, at a fair suggested and guided by Mrs. Rose Newmark, an incident pleasantly reminding one of the charming tolerance then existing among Los Angeles citizens, secured several hundred dollars for the desired educational fund.42

A formal agreement between the Vincentian Fathers and Bishop Amat with reference to educational work in the diocese was signed on May 9, 1865.43 The bishop reserved the right to place his seminarians in the college—which it was said, was being established “under the tutelage of the priests of the Congregation of the Mission, according to their rules.” And, if in the future, it should seem advisable to introduce lay students, the seminary part of the enterprise could be handed over to different instructors.44 The fathers were also given permission on June 13, to collect funds throughout the diocese to erect and support the college. Amat noted that by virtue of an oral agreement with Father Asmuth, the Vincentians would not open their chapel fοr public use, lest the parish church be affected. With regard to this latter point, the bishop left himself free to act in the future as seemed best to him. Under the caption [p.200] “Collegiate Action” the Los Angeles correspondent of the Alta California wrote:

The citizens of this place have been awakened to the necessity as well as the benefits that will flow from the founding of a college in the southern part of California. Meetings have been held ... to cooperate with the Bishop ... in securing the aid necessary to carry out the idea. The evenness of the temperature of this place ... will be appreciated by students and their guardians.` 5

And on August 5 the following advertisement appeared in the local paper:


At the request of the Right Rev. Bishop, the Priests of the Congregation of the Mission are about to open a Select School in Los Angeles, for the education of the boys of this city and the surrounding country. They contemplate building a College as soon as the necessary funds shall be obtained. For the present they have rented LUGO HOUSE ON THE PLAZA. School will be opened in this house on or about the 17th day of August.46

The college got under way in early September in the rented adobe house of Don Vicente Lugo with Father Asmnuth as superior and president. The existence of the college was, indeed precarious, for it was soon jeopardized by a lack of funds as well as by deaths on its faculty. Within a year both Father Asmuth and Father Beakey died and the Vincentians were on the verge of closing the college when in 1866 the munificence of Mr. O. W. Childs47 provided a tract of nine acres48 south of Sixth Street running almost to Eighth. Father James McGill, the president, immediately drew up plans fora new college building which he envisioned for the northwest corner of the property, that is, at Sixth and Hill Streets. A handsome two-story brick structure was quickly erected with, as it was said, “contributions from the county and city and from prominent citizens... “49 Faculty and students moved into their new quarters early in March and on Sunday, March 17, 1867, the new college was dedicated by Father Rubi, in the absence of Bishop Annat who was in Washington on diocesan business. A solemn Mass was celebrated and a sermon on the value of a good education was preached by Father Rubi. According to one account, “a large concourse of citizens from the city and county assembled to witness the ceremonies,”s° a fact which must have gratified the fathers who would perhaps, see here the effect of their influence in the city. The following week’s paper dedicated an editorial to [p.201] the college where, it was said, the city’s “sons can be elegantly educated whilst their physical energies are being fully developed.”

“We feel no hesitation in saying that nowhere on the Pacific coast, will parents or guardians find a more desirable institution in every requisite particular for the education of those under their charge than the one to which we refer. The gentlemen who are in charge of the College of Saint Vincent αre well known to us, and we assert that no more accomplished scholars and gentlemen can be found in any institution in or out of the state of California.51

A charter from the State of California was granted to the college on August 15, 1869, empowering it to confer certain degrees and to function as a university. Soon thereafter, Amat proudly communicated this happy news to Archbishop Alemany:

We have much pleasure in being able to state, that this institution has obtained its charter, in accordance with the proceedings which we published some time ago, and that Saint Vincent’s is now duly authorized to confer degrees for scholarship, issue diplomas, and to do all and everything pertaining to a college of first class standing”52

The college continued to prosper in subsequent years and proved to be one of the most stablizing features of Catholic life in Los Angeles. Its graduates still serve the state and one of its more notable sons recently completed two terms as Governor o California.  During a visit to Los Angeles in 1876, the Archduke Ludwig Salvador left a quaint description of the collegc when he said:

The Catholic College of Saint Vmcents is situated in the west end of town in a pleasant garden. It is a large, ugly building, with seven windows and a gable, in front surmounted by a cross and ball. Through the building runs a central corridor. On the second floor αre the dormitories. The College also contains a library and a small chapel. From the terrace, an excellent view may be had over the city of Los Angeles. Out in the garden is a vine covered pergola where the boys gather. In front of the house stands a small fountain. This institution has three classes with the enrollment last year of some seventy students. Of course, the majority αre Catholics.53

Amat’s personal dedication to the cause of a sound and balanced Catholic education and its necessity in his diocese are evident in all his actions and more concretely in his own written words:

In an affair of so great importance, Catholic parents are to be [p.202] seriously admonished daily more and more to watch over their children and diligently see and assiduously labor to secure for them a thorough Catholic education. Let them... generously offer their goods that Catholic and parochial schools may, with the least possible delay, be erected and supported.54

The bishop’s zeal in promoting education within the diocese spoke for itself. When he arrived in the see in 1855, there was but one struggling college; when he died in 1878, there were two colleges, six academies, nine parochial schools and five orphanages,55 an impressive total for a diocese that boasted of barely 34,000 Catholic people.


1William Å. North, op. cit., ì. 13.

2Çerbert E. Bolton, “The Mission as a Frontier Institution,” American Historical Review, XXIÉÉ (October, 1917), 45.

3Theïdïre H. Hittell, History of California, (Sán Francisco, 1896), II, 595. 4Ìárk J. Hurley, , op. cit., p. xii.

5Charles Å. Chapman, A History of California (New York, 1921), p. 480. 6Theodore H. Hittell, ,op. cit., II, 341.

7Æephryin Engelhardt, OEM., Mission Santa Ines (Santa Barbara, 1932), ì. 51. 8SBMÁ, II, Constitutions, Santa Ines, May 4, 1844.

9Á fact pointedly overlooked in Ferrier’s study. A small college, established by William Hartnell at Mission San Carlos in 1834, was described as “the first established in California” in Yzendoorn’s study.

10ÁÁLÁ, “Libro Borrador;”Representacion, September 27, 1843.

11Finbar Kenneally, O.F.M., , op. cit., ì. 6.

12Reginald Yzendoorn, SS.CC., , op. cit., ì. 189.

13Å1 Clangor Publico, September 26, 1857.

14There are no available records of payments by the Vicar of Baja California. As a matter of fact, there is no evidence that Baja California even had a vicar before 1874. Bishop Francisco Escalante governed the area between 1856 and 1872 but his canonical status has yet to be determined. Cf. the author’s Pioneer Catholicism in the Californias (Van Nuys, 1961), p. 16 for a brief sketch of Baja California’s episcopal history.

1SÁÁLÁ, Joseph S. Alemany to Thaddeus Amat, Sán Francisco, May 24, 1861. 16ÁÁLÁ, Joseph S. Alemany to Thaddeus Amat, San Francisco, March 20, 1857. »Aleéçáçy memorandum, n.p, July 5, 1860. Reverende Janes Croke was a priest of the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

18ÁÁLÁ, Joseph S. Alernany to Thaddeus Amat, San Francisco, July 18, 1861. 19ÁÁLÁ, Thaddeus Amat to Joseph S. Alemany, Santa Barbara, July 22, 1861. 2°AALÁ, Thaddeus Amat to Joseph S. Alemany, San Francisco, October 15, [p.203] 21AALÁ, Thaddeus Arnat to Joseph S. Alemany, Santa Ines, July 12, 1862. 22AÁLÁ, Decision of Arbitrator, San Francisco, August 12, 1862.

23ÁÁLÁ, Joseph S. Alemany to Thaddeus Amat, San Francisco, June 2, 1863. 24ÁALÁ, Thaddeus Agnat to Joseph S. Alemany, San Luis Obispo, June 26, 1863. 25”Pro nun non expedire et interim exguirendas infórrnationes super- valore fundi et an

commodari chvisionem admittat.” AALA, Joseph S. Alemany to Thaddeus Arnat,

San Francisco, October 9, 1862.

26Æeìhryin Engelhardt, O.F.M., Mission Santa Ines (Santa Barbara, 1932), p. 102. 27ÁÁLÁ, James Croke to Racca, n.p., October 16, 1862.

28AÁLÁ, Thaddeus Arnat tï Joseph S. Alemany, Los Angeles, October 21, 1862. 29Ñrïíincé.d Ámôðle (Santa Barbara Province, California), II (October, 1948). p. 53. 30Çarris Newmark, op. cit., ì. 105.

31Aôuat’s account statements may be found in North, op. cit., ì. 115.

32William A. Spalding, History and Reminiscences of Los Ángeles City and County, California (Los Angeles, n.d.), ì. 135.

33ÁÁLÁ, Steìhen Ryan to Thaddeus Amat, Cañe Girardeau, December 15, 1862. 34Ryan afterward became Bishop of Buffalo and was consecrated on November 3, 1863.

35ÁÁLÁ, Stephen Ryan to Thaddeus Agnat, Saint Louis, July 10, 1863.

3GÁÁLÁ, Stephen Ryan tï Thaddeus Amat, Saint Louis, November 18, 1863. 37ÁÁLÁ, Steìhen Ryan to Thaddeus Amat, Saint Louis, December 30, 1863. 38Father Asmuth suffered a violent hemorrhage on the voyage from Panama to San Francisco and arrived in a very feeble condition.

39Ë Á7 iC.,...1.,,.. D..,.,                     T’b.,.ëd,,.., Á.., . Q,.;... ô     Ä..,»... Q 1864

40ÁÁLÁ, Thaddeus Amat to Steìhen Ryan, n.p., October 13, 1864.

41ÁÁLÁ, Stephen Ryan to Thaddeus Agnat, Cape Girardeau, December 3, 1864.

42Harris Newmark, op. cit., ì. 112.

43ÁÁLÁ, Documents signed May 9, 1865 at Los Angeles.

44There’vas rio seminary formally established in Los Angeles until 1927 when

Los Ángeles College opened under the guidance of the ÍÉncentian Fathers. In

1939 the Congregation of the Mission took charge of Saint John’s Seminary at

Camarillo, California. In addition to their own minor seminary at Montebello,

the Vincentians also staff the new senior seminary of the archdiocese at

Camarillo, opened in 1961.

45June 13, 1865 (under date of June 4).

46Lïs Angeles News, August 5, 1865.

47ÁÁLÁ, James McGill to Thaddeus Amat, Los Angeles, June 19, 1866.

48William A. Spalding, op. cit., ì. 171.

49Jïseìhine Hessel, “The History of the Catholic Church in Los Angeles,” (Los

Angeles, 1937), p. 30.

50Los Angeles Daily News, March 19, 1867.

51/bid., April 2, 1867.

52AALÁ, Thaddeus Amat to Joseph S. Álemáçy, n.p., n.d. [p.204]

53Ludwig Salvador, Los Angeles in the Slime Seventies (Los Angeles, 1929), μ. 130.

54Thaddeus Amat, C.M., Pastoral Letter (Los Angeles, 1869), μ. 18.

55SΠιllier’s Catholic Directory fir 1878 (New York, 1878), p. 312. [p.205]

[18] Cathedral for California’s Southland

Saint Vibiana’s Cathedral is the oldest and most durable of the many V churches dotting the Los Αngeles skyline. Seventy-two years after Bishop Thomas J. Conaty received permission from Pope Pius X fοr its demolition, the Mother-Church for the People of God in California’s southland still houses the “cathedra” or chair from which Peter’s representative presides over his flock.

What is surely the area’s most distinctive house-of-worship has probably been its most controversial. In 1874, a group of stoics maintained that it should never be built; in 1922, a cluster of radicals complained that it needn’t be enlarged and in the 1970s, a handful of puritans argued that it could not be restored. In every case, there was protest against further expenditure of money on the “idolatry of structures.”

Yet, the cost of religion is clearly legitimate. λ nation that expends hundreds of thousands on pets, millions on cosmetics and cigarettes and billions fοr filling stations and supermarkets surely has room in its economy for noble places to worship its God.

The building, maintenance and restoration of churches is a vital part of the Christian apostolate. Surely no society in all of recorded history so desperately needs points of repose αnd rest, places of silence αnd peace or centers of worship and community life than does that of the 1970s.

In his decree of April 27, 1840, establishing the Diocese of Both Californias, Pope Gregory XVI stipulated that “the principal church in the said territory of San Diego be raised and elevated to the honor αnd dignity of a cathedral.”1 Thus, by papal directive, the old Mission of San Diego de Αlcalá bears the distinction of being the “premier church” of the Pacific Slope. [p.206] The honor proved to be strictly titular, however, for upon his arrival in San Diego, Bishop Francisco Garcia Diego y Moreno was so disappointed with the meagre number of inhabitants and tht total lack of resources, that he decided to locate the episcopal seat of the diocese at Santa Barbara. “For the time being the mission church was his pro-Cathedral and the mission living quarters his hospice.”2

Three weeks after taking up his residence at Santa Barbara, the prelate issued a Pastoral Letter announcing plans fοr several ambitious projects, including the building of a Cathedral.3 Unfortunately, the confiscation of the Pious Fund, coupled with the utter lack of other financial revenues, caused his dreams to remain “fοr some years as monuments of the frailty of human speculations.” 4

The title of the ecclesial jurisdiction was changed on November 20, 1849, to Monterey.s With the coming of Bishop Joseph Sadoc Alernany to that city, in 1851, the old presidia chapel of San Carlos Borromeo became the pro-Cathedral and functioned in that capacity until the erection of Saint May’s, in San Francisco, some years later.

Meanwhile, on July 29, 1853, a metropolitan district had been created for the Church in California and Alemany advanced to the Archbishopric of San Francisco. Named to succeed him, in the now geographically reduced Diocese of Monterey, was Thaddeus Arnat, C.M.6

Though the official episcopal seat and title of the southland jurisdiction remained at Monterey, Bishop Amat preferred the more centrally-located Santa Barbara. He arrived there in December, 1855, and during his initial months lived at the old mission. Early the following year, the bishop and the Franciscans exchanged abodes and Amat moved his curia to the parish of Our Lady of Sorrows, closer to the center of the city.

In mid-spring, a local newspaper reported that it was “the intention of Bishop Amat to commence soon the erection of a cathedral in Santa Barbara, near the site of the present chapel.” 7 Upon its dedication, on July 29, 1855, the new edifice was designated the pro-Cathedral fοr the Diocese of Monterey.

A Cathedral For Los Αngeles

Far-sighted man that he was, Amat asked officals at the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda Fide fοr permission to move his residence to Los Angeles, and to make that city the canonical center of ecclesial activities for Southern California. Pope Pius IX approved the request on July 8, 1859,8 and with that the historic Asistencia de Nuestra Se ιοra de los Angeles became the diocesan pro-Cathedral. [p.207] It was almost a decade before the bishop could turn his attention to the erection of a permanent Mother-Church for the Southland. An occasion presented itself, in 1868, when Ozro W. Childs donated a generous-sized parcel of land fïr that purpose on the west side of Main Street, a little north of Sixth.9 Part of the property extended westward to Spring Street and afforded “ample room for the large church which was to adorn it.”10 In the spring of 1868, Bishop Amat appointed an advisory committee to solicit funds for the cathedral which would be named, by a personal wish of Pope Pius IX, in honor of Saint Vibiana.11 By the end of the year, enough pledges had been received to justify the drawing up of preliminary plans.

Financial prospects fïr California were encouraging ín 1869. The transcontinental railway in the north was completed during May. A line was built from Los Angeles to Wilmington and the prospects fïr further roadbeds were promising. The city’s water supply was ample and, a smallpox scare notwithstanding, money was fairly plentiful. Land speculation was rife and, fïr a short time, reached “boom” proportions. Interest in the proposed Cathedral was manifested in many areas. One newspaper reported that “the Catholics contemplate building a cathedral at a cost of about forty thousand dollars. Yesterday morning a paper was circulated and about five thousand dollars subscribed in a little time.”12

The first official announcement was read from diocesan pulpits on June 6th. Bishop Amat described the initial stages “toward commencing our Cathedral Church in honor of our Patroness, Saint Vibiana, whose sacred remains we received through the liberality of Our Holy Father, Pius IX, with the express understanding, not to say command, that they should be deposited within its walls.” The Vincentian prelate expected “that every one of our faithful children in Christ will hasten with generosity to assist us in bringing it to a speedy and perfect completion.”13

Preparatory plans were hurried along so the bishop could put the cornerstone in place prior to leaving fïr Rome and Vatican Council I. On October 3, 1869, a long procession slowly moved down Main Street to the music of the United States Military Band from Drum Barracks. Bishop Amat, accompanied by several priests, rode in a carriage; the Sisters of Charity with their students walked along the sidewalk followed by a large crowd of the faithful and friends of the Church. After reaching the prospective site, a Pontifical Mass was offered. The area destined fïr the main altar14 was then blessed. At the conclusion of the memorable panegyric preached by Father James Magill, president of Saint Vincent’s cathedral.15

Coins, newspapers and a formal decree, together with other items of historical interest were sealed in a lead box αnd deposited within the cavity of a Folsom granite stone. A Los Angeles newspaper reported that the event occasioned “the largest assemblage drawn together here, and must have amounted to nearly 3,000 persons.” The account went on to describe the proposed cathedral as “cruciform, 116 feet wide, 262 feet long, the transept (or cross) 168 feet.” The cost was estimated at $100,000.16

After Amat’s departure fοr the Eternal City, however, work on the building bogged down and was soon suspended altogether. Hard times had overtaken the city. The possibility of a silk-culture dimmed, and business ventures slid to an unprecedented low. There was also a rather prevalent view that the cathedral site was “too far out of town,”17 inasmuch as the southern boundary of the city was generally considered to be at Sixth and Main streets. A further negative factor was Saint Vincent’s College, with its private chapel, only two blocks away. Though the Congregation of the Mission had agreed not to open their chapel fοr public worship, many influential people felt that it was extravagant to build another church so close to existing facilities.

Shortly after the bishop’s return from Rome, a new site was selected further north, yet considerably removed from the Plaza area. Amat had acquired an attractive piece of property with a small stream running through it, from Amiel Caνallier,18 in August of 1858. Approval of bids fοr clearing those grounds was granted in May, 1871.

In order to adapt the original plans along more modest lines, E. F. Kysor, one of the city’s earliest professional architects, designed a considerably smaller church than the one initially planned. Again, the general outline was suggested by the Baroque Spanish style of San Miguel del Mar, the parochial church in Barcelona which Amat had attended as a youngster.19 Kysor’s specifications called for a structure eighty-two feet wide αnd 178 in depth.

Little if any work was done until late 1872, when the foundation was poured. The edifice gradually began taking shape, but after “the walls had been erected,20 the funds ran out, αnd the cathedral had no roof.”21 In the absence of Amat, Coadjutor Bishop Francis Mora approached Louis Mesmer, an experienced builder, and asked him “to undertake the building of the cathedral.”22 Mr. Mesmer took charge during the winter of 1874-1875 and “inaugurated a renewal of the work by bringing to it an [p.211] energy which never flagged until the great structure was ready for divine services.”23

Announcing resumption of the work, one journalist reported that Bishop Mora had purchased 300,000 bricks “to he used in the completion of the new cathedral.” He further stated that “every bricklayer that can be found in the city will be employed. It is intended to have the roof on the building in ninety days at the farthest.” Estimated cost of the Cathedral was put at $80,000.24

When young Joseph Mesmer returned from Europe, he joined his father in the construction project. The youth, who had inherited much of his father’s initiative, was likewise “favored with exceptional broadness of vision” and he tirelessly applied himself “to helping his father in the successful completion of the enterprise.”25 By the end of June, 1875, the edifice had been roofed.

One of the giant bells from Mission San Juan Capistrano, cast in Massachusetts in 1828, was blessed on July 4th,26 and, on the following day, a fund-raising festival was staged inside the shell of the building. Á group of enthusiastic ladies sponsored the gala affair at which several thousand visitors participated.27

On Sunday afternoon, January 2, 1876, the foundation stone of the high altar was blessed28 and set in place.29 A month later, a reporter described the cupola of the new church as “without exception, the most graceful specimen of architecture in California.” As “a marvel of symmetrical beauty and comely shapeliness,” he said that “the eye just naturally lingers on it and never tires of admiring its elegance and handsome proportions.”30

In subsequent weeks, the work of completing the edifice was accelerated. “The interior decorating was done by Bishop Mora’s nephew3 1 in a most finished and artistic manner.”32 The masonry work was executed by the firm of Burns & Collins, while that of carpentry was consigned to Godfrey Hargitt. A distinctive feature of the new church was its front railing, along the line of the street. It was constructed from blocks of artifaced stone by Messrs. Busbard αnd Hamilton, who operated the first stone factory in Los Angeles.33

In one of the earliest and most vivid portrayals of the Cathedral, John Albert Wilson recorded that

From the ground to the finial—in the front elevation—the height is sixty feet. A window contributed by the parish of Santa Cruz forms the central ornament of the facade. On each side of this window are niches, where the figures of St. Peter αnd St. Paul [p.212] stand. On each 0f the upper walls are pedestals, on which αre placed images of the four Evangelists. The main porth is supported on each side by twin iron columns. The main entrance is nine by fourteen feet; there αre also two lesser exits in front and seven other doors on the sides and rear of the building. Each side of the structure has six large windows of stained glass. There αre also smaller windows in the front. The southern end of the building merges into a tower one hundred and forty feet from the ground. The bell tower is eighty-two feet from the floor line.

Noting that “it would be impossible to describe in detail the interior decoration,” the same writer went on to say that

the church is elegantly furnished,34 and can seat three thousand people, without inconvenient crowding. The walls are painted in imitation of marble; the ceiling is adorned with tasteful decorations. The chancel is thirty feet in depth; on the left is the bishop’s seat under a canopy—on each side of the altar αre placed life-size figures of St. Patrick and St. Emigidius; minor altars are placed at the terminations of the side aisles. The pulpit is placed near the floor by a winding staircase.

The commentator concluded his remarks by opining that the new Cathedral was “one of the finest furnished houses of worship in California.”35

Another observer of later vintage noted that “the interior features seven slender corinthian columns, a vaulted plaster ceiling, and the usual side aisles common to the Basilica type of church buildings. The wood columns are fluted, and painted in imitation of marble. Frescoe work on the ceiling and about the interior was the work of Alexander Zins, which featured `Greco-Mosaics.’ “36

The near-finished cathedral was indeed an attractive house of worship. A prominent member of European royalty, who personally visited the edifice just before its completion, described it as a “stately brick building with three naves.” Architecturally, it suggested to him the Renaissance. He noted that the main floor was “surrounded by a gable, the two side portals by broken arches. At the sides, the church has eight supporting columns; at the rear is an octagonal-shaped tower, surmounted by a belfry.”37

Initial services were held within the new diocesan Mother-Church on April 9th. The palms were blessed for Holy Week, after which a solemn liturgy of thanksgiving was offered in the presence of the city’s leading dignitaries. The spacious Cathedral handily accomodated the immense throng gathered for that joyous occasion. [p.213]

This carefiélly-drawn lire-sketch portraying the interior of Saint Íibiana’s Cathedral appeared in a book about the American hierarchy. [p.214] Colorful consecration ceremonies were scheduled fοr April 30th, as part of the city’s observance for the centennial year of American independence. At Amat’s behest, the Most Reverend Joseph Sadoc Alemany, Metropolitan Archbishop of San Francisco, presided at the historic event. The noted Jesuit Indian-priest, Father James Bouchard “gave a graphic description of the ceremonies of consecration, and illustrated in a lucid manner all the symbols and mysteries of the magnificent spectacle. He spoke of the building of the Temple of Solomon, and cοιηρared the work of erecting a modern Tabernacle of God; he made a fervent appeal on behalf of religion and religious works, and adjured his hearers to turn from the sinful ways of the world and consecrate their souls to God.”38

At the subsequent dinner fοr notable personages and benefactors, Archbishop Alemany reminisced about the foundation of the California missions,39 saluting the “early trials of our Christian Fathers in redeeming from savagery our fair and prosperous state.”40 It was those pioneers whom the Dominican prelate credited for planting the seed that had blossomed forth into Saint Vibiana’s Cathedral.

The city named fοr Nuestra Senora de los Angeles had reason to be proud of its cathedral raised in the very shadows of San Gabriel mission, just 105 years after the inauguration of that missionary foundation. A contemporary chronicler was quite accurate in referring to the “large and handsome cathedral” as “the finest church building outside of San Francisco. “41

Patronage Of Saint Vibiana

At the very time when California’s soil was yielding up its richest deposits of gold to anxious prospectors, a treasure of quite another kind was unearthed in a subterranean canyon of far-away Rome.

Early in 1851, Pope Pius ΙX had purchased a vineyard on the outskirts of Rome directly above an extensive net-work of catacombs that had gone unexplored for almost a thousand years. Excavation of the area was entrusted by the Holy Father to the Pontifical Commission fοr Sacred Archeology which, at that time, was under the direction of the famous Giovanni Battista de Rossi.

Late in 1853, excavations were made in the vast necropolis of Pretextatus, to the left of the Appian Way, in that portion of the catacombs known as San Sisto. In the locality of Bonfiglioli, about a mile from the Porta di San Sebastiano, workmen discovered an ancient entrance to the cemetery, in almost complete ruin. On December 9,42 a vault was unearthed containing a number of vials filled with aromatic [p.215] spices, along with quite a few marble tablets with discernable epitaphs. Among the unbroken sepulchres was that of a certain “Vibiana.” To the left and adjoining her tomb was a rose-colored crystal vase purportedly containing dried blood.

An inscribed marble tablet, seventy centimeters long and thirty wide, sealed the sepulchre. The plaque was unbroken, although cracked in several places. When workmen attempted to remove the tablet, the arch, weakened by the excavations, collapsed and partially buried the tomb. After the debris had been cleared away, they uncovered the skeleton of a young woman, apparently put to death in a violent fashion. The date of the maiden’s demise, as well as other information about her person, could not be determined. However, from surrounding epitaphs archeologists conjectured that the youthful person had lived in the third century. The inscription read: Anιnine innocenti adque pudicae Vibinne in pace D. Ρ : K St. (to the soul of the innocent and pure Vibiana, laid away the day before the kalends of September [August 31]). At the end of the inscription was a wreath of laurel, a character similar to the letter “Q” with foliate ornaments, an emblem commonly used by early Christians as a code symbolizing martyrdom.

After the relics had been carefully removed from the catacombs, Pope Pius IX ordered a hurried investigation to ascertain whether the designation “virgin and martyr” could be applied to the newly-discovered Vihiana. Within a few weeks, a favorable decision was reached and “equivalent canonization” was bestowed on the third-century witness to the Faith.

In February, 1854, shortly after their authentic character had been officially established, “the precious relics of the illustrious Virgin and glorious Martyr”43 were exposed for public veneration. As one writer put it:

The process of her canonization may have been quick, in accordance with the discipline of the ancient church, yet her name and fame were blotted out of the memory of men until God’s own time for revealing her existence had appeared. There is no record of her life and martyrdom in the books in which such records are kept. The book of the Acts of the Martyrs is silent about her. The tablet which lay near her resting place, and the phial of blood are the mute witnesses of her existence and sanctity.”44

Public enthusiasm for the recently “proclaimed” virgin and martyr was manifested not only in the Eternal City, but in adjacent areas as well. A number of prominent ecclesiastics unsuccessfully petitioned -the pope for custody of the relics.45 It remained for the freshly-consecrated Bishop of [p.216]

This sketch of Saint Vibiana’s G’atheilral and its a’ joining rectory was distributed as a supplement to the Brooklyn Catholic News, September 25, 1887. [p.217] Monterey to win the privilege, almost without asking.46 When Thaddeus Amat was received by the Holy Father, on March 18, 1854, the pontiff conferred the precious relics of Saint Vibiana on Monterey’s new ordinary47 with the express stipulation that a cathedral be erected in her honor.48

The authentic document by which the Holy Father’s Vicar General entrusted the relics to the prelate noted that the Pope was giving to

The Most Illustrious Bishop of Monterey, Thaddeus Arnat, the body of the maiden, Saint Víbiana, unearthed by mandate of Pius IX on December 9, 1853, from the Cemetery of Pretestato (San Sisto) along with a vial of her blood and also a marble slab bearing the inscription ‘to the soul of the innocent and pure Vibiana, laid away the day before the Kalends of September.’ We hereby affix to the wooden container our engraved testimonial, a chaplet of red colored silk which is attached to our sea1.49

After securely packing the relics in wooden crates, Bishop Amat and his traveling companions left for the United States. They sailed from Havre on May 19, and, after a routine three week crossing, arrived safely in New York. In mid-October, the prelate sailed aboard the Aspiinwall for Colon City, on Limon Bay, in north central Panama. The voyage to the isthmus was remarkably calm and there was “not even a white cap on the waters.”50 Transferring to the Pacific Mail Company’s steamship, John C. Stephens, the party left Panama on November 1 and, two weeks later, reached San Francisco.”

After a short stay in the Bay City, Bishop Amat set out for Monterey. He then continued south on the coasting schooner, Powhattan. According to one account, barely had the ship “reached the high seas when it seemed as though all the furies of the lower world had conspired to prevent the sacred relic from entering the diocese in which it was destined to be enshrined.”52 Violent gales tossed the little vessel constantly, but in spite of the angry waters, the Powhattan arrived safely at Santa Barbara on December 2. The following Tuesday, Feast of Santa Barbara, the relics, encased in their artistically-designed reliquary with a golden crown, were borne in solemn procession to the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows5 3 where a special shrine had been prepared to the right of the main altar. The local newspaper, taking note of the ceremonies, hoped that the relics might “possess a miraculous influence, in which case that town will become a resort.”54

On March 28, 1856, Pope Pius IX granted the privilege of a special feast for Saint Víbiana in the Diocese of Monterey and declared the “virgin and martyr” principal patroness of the southland’s ecclesiastical juris-


diction. Two years later, Bishop Amat asked fοr and received papal approbation for the Association of Saint Vibiana. Pius ΙX prefaced his remarks about the new society with these words:

Since a pious society of the faithful of both sexes has been canonically erected in the Diocese of Monterey, under the title of Saint Vibiana, patroness of the diocese, and will be attached to the church where Our venerable brother, the present Bishop of Monterey, has informed Us will be built in honor of this saint and martyr, ‘We grant the following indulgences in order that this society may grow in influence and numbers:

(1)       A plenary indulgence to those who join the Society now and in the future, on the day of their entry if they have confessed and received Iloly Communion;

(2)       A plenary indulgence to those at the point of death who receive the Sacraments; or if this is impossible, at least invoke the Name of Jesus or say it in their hearts;

(3)       A plenary indulgence to all members of the Society on the feast day of the Saint, provided that they receive the Sacraments, either in the church of St. Vibiana or in their own parish church, and that they pray for the peace of Christian peoples, the extirpation of heresy, and the exaltation of Holy Mother the Church;

(4)       A plenary indulgence may be gained under the same conditions on any day of the Octave of the Saint, and also once a month on a day of one’s own choosing;

(5)       A partial indulgence of 100 days fοr any good work performed with a contrite heart.SS

Bishop Amat had several aims in mind when he set up the society, among which were raising funds to help defray the building of the cathedral and the enrolling of all members in memorial books for which monthly Masses would be said at the shrine itself.56 Further interest and approval came on August 17, 1862, when Rome granted permission to transfer the solemnity of Saint Vibiana to the Sunday immediately following her feast day.57 In December of the following year, authorization was obtained to insert into the diocesan breviary supplement an historical account of Vibiana’s discovery in the catacombs of the Eternal City.58

On the afternoon of August 23, 1863,59 the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows was totally destroyed by fire. The tiny shrine housing the earthly [p.220] remains of Vibiana was also consumed, but the relics of the saint, reposing in a glass and metal case, escaped unharmed.60 Although the reliquary was badly singed and the glass broken, no part of the relics, encased in a wax figure and clothed in silk garments, exhibited any effect of the conflagration. This seemingly miraculous event created wide commotion and did much to increase popular devotion to the diocesan patroness.

No provisions were made in the new church for a permanent shrine and, in 1868, the relics were brought to Los Αngeles and placed in the Old Plaza Church of Nuestra Sefiora de los Αngeles, where they remained for the next eight years.61 The final disposition of the relics occurred in 1876, when the cathedral dedicated to Vibiana’s honor was solemnly consecrated by Archbishop Joseph Sadoc Alemany of San Francisco.

A solemn procession of translating the remains of Saint Vibiana from Our Lady of the Angels Church to the Cathedral started from the Plaza at six o’clock in the evening, headed by the Mexican brass band. Several of the city’s societies joined in the procession, followed by more than 200 children, all dressed in white. Father John Basso carried the metropolitan cross, followed by sixteen priests chanting the Litany of the Saints. The shrine itself was borne by four priests, vested in albs and red stoles. Archbishop Alemany and Bishop Mora cane behind the shrine and the aging Bishop Amat, exhausted by the long and tiring ceremonials, rode in a carriage. As soon as the procession reached the Cathedral, the relics were deposited in the middle of the sanctuary and “a most eloquent and impressive sermon in Spanish” was delivered by Archbishop Alemany. At the end of archbishop’s remarks, the clergy sang the Te Deum, after which Father Joachim Adam delivered a short talk in English. The ceremony ended with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Early the next morning, the crystal and gilt casket containing the relics of Saint Vibiana was raised to its place in a niche above the high altar, in the tower, where it remains to the present.62

Over the ensuing decades, Catholics in California’s southland have regarded “the tablet which lay near her resting place, and the phial of blood” as “mute witnesses of her existence and sanctity.”63 While attributing the same equivalent canonization to Vibiana as have the Roman decrees issued at different times, the various panegyrics delivered on her personó4 have traditionally acknowledged that historically “there is no formal definition of her saintship ... “ Rather, “the Church of the nineteenth century accepted the verdict of the Church of the third centu-  [p.221] ry in assigning to the pure and chaste Vébiana a place in the roll of canonized saints.”65

At the time of the golden jubilee of Saint Víbiana’s Cathedral, in 1926, one writer had this to say about the diocesan patroness:

The body of the saint who is the patroness of the Cathedral and the diocese was given to this far-distant part of the Lord’s vineyard in the days before the church was built. It was reverently brought to these shores from its resting place in the darkness of the Ronan Catacombs to be enshrined at last, here in our midst, with becoming pomp and ceremony. There, in the niche high above the main altar of the cathedral her relics have rested in peace for half a century, while from her heavenly home this gentle maiden has watched over the destinies of a now great diocese and lent a ready ear to those who have sought her intercession. It is much to be regretted that we have not developed a strong devotion to the sainted patroness of our diocese and its principal church. We can have no doubt that she will be anxious to intercede for us, her spiritual children, in a very special manner.66


1Árchives of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles (hereafter referred to as AALA),

Gregory XV to Francisco Garcia Diego, O.EM., Rome, April 27, 1840.

‘Maynard J. Geiger, O.F.M., Santa Barbara Mission 1782-1965 (Santa Barbara,

1965), ì. 121.

3ÁÁLÁ, Francisco Garcia Diego y Moreno, Ï.F.M., Pastoral Letter; Santa

Barbara, February 4, 1842.

`Alfred Robinson, Life in Califorma (Oakland, 1947), ì. 124.

5Francis J. Weber, Joseph Saa’oc 4lemnny. Çm$ñnger of a New Era (Los Angeles,

1973), p. 23.

6For a biographical sketch of the Vincentian prelate, see Francis J. Weber,

California’s Reluctant Prelate. The Life and Times of Right Reverend Thaddeus

An;nt, C.M., (1811-1878) (Los Angeles, 1964).

7Santa Barbara Gazette, May 22, 1856.

8ÁÁLÁ, Decretum No. 40, Rome, July 3, 1859.

9Francis J. Weber, Readings in Califbrnia Catholic History (Los Angeles, 1967).

ì. 179.

10Charles C. Conroy, The Tidings, April 27, 1951.

I See Thaddeus Amat, C.M., ÁsïcÐcron de Santa liviana, lírgen y Mdrtir

(Barcelona, 1860), p. 1.

12Los Angeles Republican, April 15, 1869. [p.222]

This is the earliest known photograph of the interior of Saint Vibiann’s Cathedral in Los Angeles.

13Quïted in the Alta, June 15, 1869.

14Lïs Ángeles Daily News, October 5, 1869.

15For the full text, see the Los Ángeles Stai; October 7, 1869.

16Lïs Ángeles Star; October 7, 1869.

17Ìaurice H. Newmark and Marco R. Newmark (eds.), Sixty Years in Southern

California, 1853-1913, Containing the Reminiscences of Harris Newmark (Los

Angeles, 1970), p. 490.

18See Deed Book, Los Ángeles City Clerk’s Office, Vol. IV, ì. 204.

19Ôhe Church of San Miguel del Mar, located in the Puerto de Barcelona, was

dedicated on October 3, 1755. See Sebastian Coll, Sermo” que en la dedicaciün

del Temple de San Miguel del Mar (Barcelona, 1755). The building was damaged

by a severe earthquake toward the end of the last century, which necessitated a

great deal of renovation and alteration of design on the historic edifice. Today

there are notable discrepancies in the stateliness of the exterior from the mag-

nificent proportions of the interior.

20The walls were eighteen inches thick with shallow buttresses.

21Lïs Ángeles Star; March 31, 1875.

22Iiltcr ßew with Joseph Mcsmcr, The Tidings, September 4, 1931.

23Los Angeles Examiner, April 10, 1875.

24Los Angeles Stai; March 31, 1875.

25Fernand Loyer and Charles Beaudreau (eds.), Le Guide Fraiicais De Los Angeles

et Du Sud De La Californie (Los Ángeles, 1932), ì. 65.

26Fraiiuis J. Weber, Califoi iiu’’s Reluctant Prelate, p. 166.

27Lïs Ángeles Express, July 6, 1875.

28When finished, the altar fronted a Corinthian pediment of exquisite finish, sur-

rounded with a cerueean field studded with gold stars.

29Lïs Angeles Express, December 31, 1875.

30lbid., February 11, 1876.

31This is probably a reference to the nephew of Bishop Thaddeus Agnat, C.M.,

namely, Joaquin N. Amat.

32Interview with Joseph Mesmer, The Tidings, September 4, 1931.

331ewmark and Newmark (eds.), Sixty Years, ì. 490.

34Ìïst generous of the many private benefactions was that of Mr. and Mrs.

Manuel Dominguez, who provided the altar and other parts of the interior.

35Jïhn Albert Wilson, History of Los Angeles County California with Illustrations

Descriptive of Its Scenery, Residences, Fine Blocks and Manufactories (Oakland,

1880), ì. 120.

36See Reymond Girvigian, “Photograph-Data Book Report. I-Iistoric American

Buildings Survey,” Cal. 343, September, 1963.

37Marguerite Eyer Wilbur (trans.), Los Angeles in the Sunny Seventies. A Flower

from the Golden Land by Ludwig Louis Salvator (Los Angeles, 1929), pp. 130-131.

38Quoted by John B. McGloin, S.J., in Eloquent Indian. The Life of James

Bouchard California Jesuit (Stanford, 1950), ì. 292.

39San Francisco Monitor; May 13, 1876. [p.224] 40Jïhn B. McGloin, S.J., California’s First Archbishop. The Life of Joseph Sadoc Alemany, Ï.P., 1814-1888 (New York, 1966), p. 287.

41Á. T Hawley, The Present Condition, Growth, Progress and Advantages of Los Angeles City and County (Los Ángeles, 1876), p. 137.

42ÁÁLÁ, Statement of Antonio Ferrua, S.J. (Secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archeology), Rome, March 11, 1953.

43Íïõena a Santa Vibiana, Virgen y Mdrtir, Protectora de la Diocesis de Monterey (Sán Francisco, 1856), ñ. 11.

44Jïhn J. Clifford, The Tidings, September 9, 1904.

45Oj9cia de SS. Patronis Pro Stati bus Foederatis Americae Septentrionalis (Rome, 1953), pp. 18-19.

46Interíiew with Joseph Mesmer, The Tidings, September 4, 1931.

47Thaddeus Arnat, C.M., Ásïciación de Santa Vibiana, Virgen)! Mártir, p. 1. 48ÁÁLÁ, Rescript, Rome, June 1, 1854.

49”5 Corpus S. VIÂÉANÁÅ, Puellae M. Norris. Prii. effossum per Nos de Mandato Ssmi. Dni. In. PII PP. IX e Coemetereo PRAETEXATI vulgo S. SIRTI die 9 Decembris 1853 cum vase vitreo Sanguine consperso, et inscrip-ti~ne in tabula marmorea sic - ANIMAR INNOCENTI ADQUE PUDICAE VIÂIÁNÅ IN PACE D PR. K. ST. - et reposuimus in capsula lignea papyri picta cooperta, vitta serica coloris rubri colligate, et sigillo nostro munita ... “ AALA, Constantinus, Bishop of Alba, to Thaddeus Arnat, C.M., Rome, May 10, 1854.

50ÁÁLÁ, n.n. to Charles C. Conroy, Saint Joseph, Missouri, September 17, 1951. 51New York Freeman’s Journal and Catholic Registe; December 22, 1855. 52Íïíena in Honor of Saint Vibiana Virgin and Martyr (Los Angeles, 1949), p. vi. 53Zeñhyrin Engelhardt, OEM., Santa Barbara Mission (Sán Francisco, 1923),

Pp. 343-344.

54Santa Barbara Gazette, December 6, 1855.

55ÁÁLÁ, Pius ÉX to Thaddeus Arnat, C.M., Rome, January 7, 1859. Quoted in Asociación de Santa Vibiana, Virgen y Mdrtir, p. 6.


57ÀÁLÁ, Rescript, Rome, August 17, 1862.

58ÁÁLA, A. Capalti to Thaddeus Arnat, C.M., Rome, December 14, 1863. 59Ìaynard J. Geiger, O.F.M., “The Apostolic College of Our Lady of Sorrows, Santa Barbara (1853-1885),” ProvincialAnnals, XI (April, 1949), 166.

60Charles C. Conroy, The Centennial, 1840-1940 (Los Angeles, 1940), p. 79. 61Thïmas Atwill Neal, Saint Vibiarrn’s Los Angeles Cathedral, 1876-1950 (Los Angeles, 1950), p. 8.

62Quïted in Francis J. Weber, “An Historical Sketch of Saint Vibiana’s Cathedral, Los Angeles,” Southern Califbrnia Quarterly, XLIV (March, 1962), 51.

63 The Tidings, September 9, 1904. [p.225]

6}Certainly the most ambitious of these was Cayetano Sorrentine’s P’negirico en Honor ale Santa VWWian (‘ Vítgen y Mñrtir Protectora de Ia Diocesis de Monterey (Paris, 1857), which was delivered on September 1, 1857, in the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows, Santa Barbara.

65 The Tidings, September 7, 1906.

66Charles C. Conroy, The Centennial, p. 79. [p.226]


[19] California and Vatican Council I

On December 6, 1864, just two days before the publication of his famous Encyclical, Quanta Cura, containing the “Syllabus of Errors,” PopePius IX announced to the curial cardinals plans for the convocation of an ecumenical council to be held at Rome and subsequently to be known as Vatican Council I. During the next four years, details and schemata were prepared for discussion by five separate commissions, each charged with a different aspect of the agenda. Ina public consistory held on June 26, 1868, the Supreme Pontiff made the public announcement. The official convocation or papal summons, Aeterni Patris, was promulgated on June 29 of the following year, and December 8, 1869 was appointed as the date of the formal opening.

The prospect of attending an ecumenical council must have been a fascinating one for the Amercan bishops. When the last council sat at Trent, America had barely been discovered and only a few adventurous priests had arrived to spread the faith among the unknown peoples of the new world. Now that area was to be represented by more than one hundred members of the hierarchy!

Bishop Thaddeus Amat left for Rome on October 7, 1869, proceeding first to San Francisco where he and Archbishop Alernany boarded the “Senator” for Panama. They arrived in the Eternal City in ample time for the opening of the great assembly. The Bishop of Monterey-Los Angeles was a respected theologian with valuable experience in gatherings of this nature. His attendance at three of the Baltimore councils gave him an insight into conciliar procedure, and this experience was to prove highly advantageous to him during the deliberations. When the [p.227] IIistory of the Catholic Church in Southern California — *[p.184]**[p.0]*-*[p.194]**[p.7] Following the opening ceremonies for Vatican Council 1, December 8, 1869, Pope Pius 1×greeted pilgrims and tourists from the balcony of Saint Peter’s Basilica. [p.228] decision was made regarding the precedence to be followed among the Americans, Amat was designated twelfth in the line of bishops from the United States.

A preliminary session, presided over by the Pope himself, had been held on December 2 in the presence of approximately 500 bishops. At this meeting, the officials of the Council were named and the conciliar procedure made known. Five cardinals were appointed to preside over the sessions. It had been decided to use the right transept of the vast basilica of Saint Peter for the assembly and that area was shut off from the remainder of the church. Inside the council chamber, tribunes or daises hung with tapestries were arranged for royal guests and heads of governments who might be asked to sit in on the council’s deliberations. A papal throne was set up at the far end of the room, flanked on either side by benches for the princes of the Church. A raised lectern was placed near the altar.

The morning of December 8 was heavy with rain and in all directions grey clouds could be seen hovering over the seven hills. In spite of the inclement weather, 80,000 people crowded into the basilica while other thousands huddled beneath forests of black umbrellas in Saint Peter’s Square. It was an impressive sight to behold nearly 700 silvercoped bishops filing down the grand staircase into the church. When the seventy-seven year old Pontiff was carried into the ancient basilica, it marked the beginning of the first assembly of this kind since 1563.

Of more than 1,000 fathers in attendance at one time or another during the ecumenical council, the great majority were politically in the center or on the right. On the extreme right were the ultra-montanes, headed by Henry Edward Manning, Archbishop of Westminster, who it was said, “is more Catholic than Catholics.”1 This group was anxious to strengthen the central authority of the Church by a swift proclamation of papal infallibility. A minority of so-called liberals led by Felix Dupanloup, Bishop of Orleans, was hopeful that the Roman Curia would adapt itself to a more progressive policy in relation to the world around it. A middle position was taken by such prominent ecclesiastics as Archbishop Martin J. Spalding of Baltimore, who desired to see the doctrine defined but without the term “infallibility” which, he claimed, had unfavorable connotations among many non-Catholics, Bishop Amat’s position on the delicate question was much the same as Sρalding’s2 and was dictated by his ever present concern for the impact such a definition would have in his own diocese where a strong current of non-Catholic feeling existed even at this time. [p.229] When, in early January of 1870, the schema drawn up by the famous Jesuit theologian, Giovanni Franzelin, was introduced with its proposed definition of papal infallibility, nearly half the American Bishops declared themselves opposed to the definition, among them Archbishops Peter Richard Kenrick of St. Louis and John B. Purcell of Cincinnati. The American bishops were greatly divided though, not only on this matter but on much of the agenda that would confront the council before its conclusion. But in the matter of infallibility, which was clearly the most controversial of the whole council, Kenrick, was “violently opposed to the definition, not only because of what he considered its inopportuneness, but because he did not see it was part of the deposit of faith.”3 Archbishop McCloskey of New York, Archbishop Purcell and twenty other bishops went so far as to sign Kenrick’s inopportunist petition to the Holy Father. Their position was decidedly a minority opinion and although they seem to have sensed this early, an effort was made to prevent a decision as long as possible. Such tactics, they hoped, would add to their number of adherents, especially in view of the growing critical attitude reflected in the world’s press.4

Kenrick’s main contention was his belief that the doctrine of papal infallibility was, at most, only a probably certain doctrine, and therefore, not capable of formal definition.5 He persisted in this view even after a previous query on the definability of the doctrine had been answered in the affirmative by the commission of theologians entrusted with drawing up the agenda. It had been their view, however, that such action ought not to be proposed by the Council of the Apostolic See, unless at the petition of the bishops. Kenrick hoped that by raising sufficient doubt as to the soundness of the doctrine, such a proposal would be made. He went so far as to say that “those numerous and learned Catholic theologians who maintained the infallibility of the Roman Pontiff... consider it as a matter of opinion more or less certain, not as one of Catholic faith. Though not an article of Catholic faith, it is, however, the general belief among Catholics.”6

Amat’s view, on the other hand, was based completely on the question of so-called public relations. He believed the doctrine’s definition highly inadvisable although certainly part of the deposit of faith. As Cardinal Manning remarked in his memoirs, “The only question was whether it was expedient, prudent, seasonable, and timely, regard being had to the conditions of the world, of the nations of Europe, of the Christians in separation from the Church, to put this truth in the form of a defιnition.” 7 And it was Arnat’s concern for these conditions that com-  [p.230] gelled him to join a coalition of twenty-seven prelates of English speaking countries, twenty of them American, in expressing formal disapproval of presenting the doctrine at that time. A petition was drafted and sent to the pope on January 15, 1870 incorporating these views:

We humbly and sincerely beg that the question of defining the infallibility of the Supreme Pontiff as a dogma of faith will not be proposed to the Council...because,

a      Discussion of the question will clearly show a lack of unanimity, especially among the bishops;

b This definition, far from making the Church more attractive, might further alienate those whom we desire to win back by prayer and sacrifice to Christ;

c We foresee that unlimited strife will arise from this definition which we fear might impede our ministry and destroy completely the fruits of this Vatican Council among non-believers.$

While these three reasons alleged against the definition were extrinsic and as such did not touch the doctrine itself, the hostile press seized upon the minority petition as though it proceeded from an organized “international opposition” that would wreck the work of the council. The Alta California gleefully announced that Bishop Amat’s determination to side with this point of view “implies that he belongs to the more liberal class of Catholic prelates,”9 a statement that was not true if one had in mind the philosophical liberalism of the day! Amat’s views were quite similar to those of the Archbishop of Baltimore, who, it was said, “inclined to the opinion that a formal definition would be unnecessary and possibly inexpedient.”t° Bishop Bernard McQuaid of Rochester also opposed infallibility because the htought “there is a determination to pass abstract questions and decrees that may be true enough in themselves, but which will be highly injurious to us in America from the handle they will give our enemies.”11

Archbishop Joseph Sadoc Alemany of San Francisco held opposite views from those of his suffragan from Monterey-Los Angeles. And in one of the most memorable addresses given at the Council of May 14, 1870, he said that though he did not personally regard the Holy Father as wholly infallible except in those matters which he proposes as supreme pastor and doctor of all the faithful, he did regard definition as imperative. The gentle California metropolitan added that he spoke out “not to prolong this argument but merely to show that the fear displayed by many about the definition of infallibility is not sufficiently founded.”12  [p.231] His reasons fοr appealing to the fathers were based on his contention that “at present this definition is necessary on account of the innumerable errors that daily gain ground and fοr the reason that once this Council is closed it will be nο easy task to assemble another.”13

Amat was nο less vociferous in other matters brought before the Council, and recent studies14 have given a new prominence to the Bishop of Monterey-Los Angeles and his activities at the historic assembly. Several characteristics are discernible in Amat s action at the council. He was dogmatic, almost picayune in terminology; yet he never hesitated to insist strenuously on the pastoral implication of the legislation. This is nowhere more obvious than in the complete lack of sympathy he had with his own confreres of the Spanish hierarchy who almost unanimously endorsed the infallibility proposal.15 Nor was Amat given to political maneuvering. IIe stated his position and let it go at that. He was impervious to pressures from all sides as is evident from his outspoken views.

On March 26, Bishop Amat made his first appearance before the assembly during the discussion of certain phrases in the tract De Fide Ciitolica. IIe suggested several alterations in the text and advocated a complete revision of two of the canons. Of the eight changes offered by the Bishop of Monterey-Los Αngeles, two were adopted, among them a more precise phrasing of man’s ability to grasp divine revelation without the aid of grace.16 Chapter II had declared that divine revelation was necessary for man, not only because of original sin, but also because Almighty God deigned that man share in those divine blessings which entirely prescind from the comprehension of reason. Amat pointed out that human intelligence is powerless of itself and cannot comprehend any supernatural truths before revelation and then only to a limited degree. Another of Amat’s recommendations that was accepted by the fathers, dealt with the delicate point of scriptural interpretation. The decree originally ignored completely the freedom and progress of theological and philosophical science and learning since Trent, and forbade all interpretation of Sacred Scripture not in accord with Roman tradition, the Latin Vulgate, and the unanimous consent of the fathers. The more liberal fathers argued that the best defense of the Church was religious science, and that view was sustained when the final draft was made. Amat was also aware that a new era had dawned for the Church, an era when ideas and horizons demanded a more progressive policy on the part of the hierarchy. Nor was he upset at the thought of incorporating the principle of “progress of dogma” into the Council’s decrees for he saw the theories of Saint Vincent of Lerrins as necessary parts of the overall re-  [p.232] evaluation that was being applied to the Church. Nevertheless, he was anxious to preserve Tridentine teaching in those matters where “progress” could be construed as “compromise.” In particular he insisted that the teaching whereby a unanimous opinion of the fathers represented a reliable indication of scriptural meaning be retained. He proposed to add to the second phrase an injunction forbidding the teaching of any interpretation “contrary to the unanimous teachings of the Fathers of the Church,”17 an opinion on which he differed with his metropolitan, Archbishop Alemany of San Francisco.

Another example of Amat’s pastoral concern is obvious when, near the end of that session, he asked for and was given the privilege of seconding a motion incorporating previous condemnations handed down by the Council. He advocated, however, that those holding contrary opinions should not be condemned nominatim but rather the error itself should be labeled as heretical. The revised constitution was a remarkable defense of the fundamental principles of Christianity against errors of modernism, rationalism, materialism and atheism, and it owed no small point of its clarity to Thaddeus Amat.

The Bishop of Monterey-Los Angeles ascended the ambo again on March 31, requesting permission to address the council. Among other matters offered on this occasion was his recommendation that the Pauline definition of faith conclude the third chapter. Up to that time, only fragmentary statements of the classic Pauline text were discernible. Also, in Chapter III, Arnat wanted the word debere added at the end of the canon arguing that to omit it would be equivalent to denying that anyone could be brought to the Faith by internal evidence of its credibility. Another example of Aunat’s thought was his logical observation that the treatise on Faith should follow immediately after the preamble since, as he said, “it seems more fitting first to decide what Faith is and what the authority of the Church teaching is, and then to explain what the Church teaches.”18 When the completed constitution De Fide Cntolicn was submitted for vote on April 12, Bishop Amat registered his placet or approval.19 Formal approbation came twelve days later.

Soon after the schema De Lcclesin Christi came under discussion, Amat sought a hearing on the chapters setting forth the institution, perpetuity, and nature of the papal primacy. He advocated the inclusion of papal inerrancy in teaching as well as papal primacy in jurisdiction, thus hoping to obviate the need for a separate definition of infallibility. He also submitted the following substitution, which was received without comment, condemning the appeal from papal decrees. [p.233] We condemn the assertions of those who say that assent is not due to the decisions of the Ronan Pontiffs in matters of Faith and Morals inasmuch as these decisions are liable to error; or that it is permitted to appeal from such decisions to a future general council as to an authority superior to the Roman Pontiff or what is still more detestable, to appeal then even to secular powers.20

Regarding the canons, Amat was the only American to speak. On June 6, he proposed three amendments to the preamble of which the two following were ultimately accepted:

a)            In the second sentence beginning: “Wherefore before He was glorified, etc.,” it seems that the words of Holy Scripture, which are quoted, do not retain their real sense and one should rather say: “Wherefore, before He was glorified, He prayed His Father both for the Apostles and for those who through their word would believe in Hirn, that they all might be one.” The rest can be the sequence and it may read: ‘just as the Son Himself, and the Father are One, so might they all be one in them.”

b)            Section four beginning: “Against which foundation, etc.,” should be corrected in the following manner: “Ánd since the gates of hell, bent on the destruction of the Church from her foundation, if such a thing is possible, rise up from all sides with greater fury from day to day against its divinely built foundation, we show, with the Sacred Council approving, that for the protection, safety, and growth of the Catholic flock it is necessary that the doctrine of the institution, duration, and nature of the Sacred Apostolic primacy, wherein consists the vigor and soundness of the whole Church, be consonant with the ancient and uniform faith of the universal Church, etc.,” as in the Schemn.21

Amat gave as his reasons for these suggestions the desire to cling more closely to the meaning of Holy Writ and to the mind of Christ. Summarizing Amat’s role in the Council on this point, one historian stated: “Ιn what esteem the Fathers of the Council had, by this time, learned to hold his thought may be gathered from the fact that these amendments were accepted practically verbatim in the final draft of the Constituutio de Ecclesin Christi. This is all the more remarkable since no less than seventeen amendments had been introduced and several of the fathers had demanded that the whole deputation be rewritten.

On Tuesday, June 7, Amat prefaced his remarks with a promise of brevity, to which some of the fathers good-naturedly replied, “bene!” He [p.234] was again the only American to speak, this time concerning the position of Peter in the Church. He thought Peter’s position could better be expressed in words other than those before the Council, and on this there were no two opinions among the bishops. A single day sufficed for the discussion.

The position of Peter in the Church should be expressed rather in this way: “Most Blessed Saint Peter, Prince of the Apostles, head and foundation of the Catholic Church, who, by Our Lord Jesus Christ, etc.,....” It is not traditional to call Saint Peter the prince and head of the apostles and it seems unwise to apply Saint Peter the title columna fidei since the phrase colunma veritatis ía applied, in Holy Scripture, only to the Church.22

Another of Amat’s suggestions accepted was his wording on papal primacy. In this section, too, the bishop exhibited a thorough knowledge of dogmatic theology gained during his many years as professor in the American missions.

Instead of saying:”Blessed Peter. ..in his successors, the bishops of the Holy Roman See... at all times even down to the present, lives, presides, and exercises judgement so that whoever succeeds to this chair...receίves the primacy over the universal Church,” it would be more forceful to put a period before “so that whoever, etc.,” making a new sentence: “Whoever, therefore, legitimately succeeds to this Chair of Peter...receives the primacy of the universal Church.”23

With the expression of the word “legitimately,” this last part of Amat’s proposal was accepted completely and without debate.

Chapter III of the schema came before the Council two days later and the California bishop advised that the term “pastors of particular churches” was contrary to the liturgical title of bishops which is pastores ecclesi-ae. He also stated that this expression might convey to many the idea that the Church was divided within as were the non-Catholic sects. This further amendment of Amat’s was accepted almost verbatim in the final draft.24

Amat’s reputation among the assembled bishops was growing almost daily. Hence his last minute attempt on June 28 to block the definition of papal infallibility carried with it more than a normal amount of interest. Again, his views were close to those of Spalding, who in his famous “compromise” favored the indirect method since it “seems to excel both in force and in simplicity; for it is clearer, and, perhaps, contains more [p.235] than a formal definition.” 2S Amat began his long dogmatic address with a plea for a clearer distinction between primacy of jurisdiction and the primacy of the magisterium, also venturing the opinion that the doctrine of infallibility would be better received if it were couched in less obvious terms. “The definition,” he concluded,

seems to follow plainly from the text adduced in the schema... This inerrancy ought necessarily to inhere in the primacy of the Roman Pontiff in order to continually preserve unity in the Church. It lays down a doctrine that all the theologians from St. Alphonsus Liguori teach in common.26

There was nο doubt that Arnat was proposing the complete omission of infallibility from the final text,27 by leaving out the statement that the infallibility of the Roman Pontiff and the Church have one αnd the same body of truth for their object. Actually, the entire chapter was later rewritten and the term magisterium was added to the title. In its final form, it does nοt require too close a scrutiny to see the effects of Aunat’s thought. When the balloting was concluded on July 13, in the last general congregation, Amat’s vote was among the sixty-two cast placet juxta modem or conditionally favorable, although the majority of the fathers favored the simple and more embracing placet. Those voting placet jz&xta modum were required to hand in written reasons for their action. Amat’s explanation centered around his criticism of the preamble and certain othcr minutiae scattered throughout the chapters.28

The subject of papal infallibility was of great concern to the Council; without any question it was the most important part of their deliberations. No other issue raised so much controversy as did that one, and nο other question produced such a marked line of difference between the bishops and other fathers of the Council.

Amat attended the last solemn session which convened on the overcast, sweltering, muggy morning of July 18, 1870. On that day, 533 fathers gave their assent to the papal definition of infallibility as we ‚rOw it today. The fathers thus settled the question finally by concluding that such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are irreformable of themselves and nοt from the consent of the Church. The final draft of the balloting was solemnly carried to the papal throne and presented to the aging but agile Pius IX. On the same day, the Franco-Prussian War broke out αnd permission was given to the fathers to return to their dioceses with the understanding that they would return to Rome by November 11. On September 8, however, the troops of Victor Emmanuel II entered the Papal States, arriving through the Porta Pia on September 20. The Holy [p.236] Father was compelled for reasons of practicality to issue the decree Postquam Dei munere on October 20, proroguing the council indefinitely. A suggestion of Archbishop Spalding of Baltimore to continue the council at Mechlin in Belgium was never acted on and thus the twentieth ecumenical council never reassembled.

Of the members attending the memorable gathering at the Vatican in 1869-1870, it is safe to say that no American was more respected and few more plan-speaking than the Bishop of Monterey-Los Angeles, a man whose judgement in theological matters was always sound and well-balanced. In his memoirs of the Council, William B. Ullathorne, Bishop of Birmingham, had this to say about Amat:

In my estimation, the shrewdest man in the Council, is the young Bishop from California, a native of Spain, but brought up in America, a little man, with broad shoulders and a broad compact head, like that of the first Napolean.... He never speaks above a few minutes, but he hits the nail on the head invariably. I-le neither argues nor talks but simply proposes amendments on the text and comes down again.29

Amat’s role in the Vatican Council was one of the most constructive in a life that witnessed many and varied facets of the ministry.


William E. Gladstone, History of the Vatican Council (New York, *[p.187]**[p.4]*), p. *[p.72]*.
2John Lancaster Spalding, The Life of Most Rev. M. J. Spalding (Baltimore, *[p.187]**[p.3]*),
p. *[p.383]*.

3James Gibbons, A Retrospect of Fifty Years (Baltimore, 1916), I, 32.

`Cuthbert Butler, The Vatican Council (London, 1930), I, 207. For an excellent treatment of the attitude of the American press toward the Vatican Council, see J. Ryan Geiser, The Vatican and the American Secular Newspapers, 1869-1870 (Washington, D.C.), 1941.

5Jean Dominique Mansi, Sacror^urn cone 110171m nova et amplissima collectio (Leipzig, 1927), XLIX, 668.

6Ñeter Richard I{enríck, An Inside View of the Vatican Council (New York, 1871), p. 143.

7Çenry Edward Manning, The True Story of the Vatican Council (London, 1877), ρ. 101.

$Acta et decreta conciliorum recentiorum (Fribourg, 1890), VII, p. 947c.

9Áltð California, May 8, 1870. [p.237]

1ÓRαγιποηd J. Clancy, C.S.C., “American Prelates in the Vatican Counci,”

Historical Records and Studies, Χ(VΙΙΙ (1937), 40-41.

i 1Frederick J. Zwierlein, “Bishop lcQuaid of Rochester,” Catholic Historical

Review, V (Januaιy 1920), 313.

12Rayιnond J. Clancy, op. cit., 41.

13Jean Dominique Mansi, ορ. cit., LII, 42-45. Cf. Butler, ορ. cit., II, 122.

14Umberto Betti, O.F.M., La Costituzioττe dοττττιιπtίια “Pastor Aeterns” del Concilio

Vaticano,  I (Rome, 1961).

15Cuthbert Butler, ορ. cit., I, 205.

16Jean Dominiquc Mansi, p. cit., LI, 146.


181ύίι1., LI, 231-232; 308.

19Fίve hundred and fifteen voted placet and eighty voted placet jiixta moda”; (Ibid.,

LI, 386).

0Éýßd., LII, 915-920.

21Rayιnond J. Clancey, op. cit., 57.

22Jean Dominique Mansi, ορ. cit., LII, 538-539.


2`1•Ιύίd., LII, 1275.

‘-SJohn Lancaster Spalding, op. cit., μ. 394.

26Αιtπ et clecreta...lic. cit., μ. 755.

27Cuthbert Butler, ορ. cit., II, 103.

2IIΑιtπ et decreta. ..loc. cit., μ. 1000Α.

29Cuthbert Butler, op. cit., II, 113. [p.238]

[20] Bishopric Of Monterey-Los Angeles (1859-1978)

Thaddeus Amat, now officially designated the Bishop of Monterey-Los Angeles, arrived back at Paris in early August of 1859 and from there he wrote several times to Pope Pius IX about the Santa Ines question. While in Paris he paid a number of calls to the headquarters of Propagation de la Foi, elaborating on the needs of the Church in California. From France, Amat journeyed to Ireland where he visited All Hallows College, and left financial drafts for students already destined fοr the Diocese of Monterey-Los Angeles. With his business apparently finished, Amat prepared to leave fοr the United States. One secular journal ventured an unusually inaccurate judgement about the success of Amat’s European sojourn:

We hear that Bishop Amat, who has been absent in Europe for sometime past, is on his way home and that he has obtained from the IIoly See a subsidy of $85,000 to aid in the construction of a cathedral and a seminary in Los Angeles.1

Just before setting out from Ireland, Amat was advised by the Vincentían Superior General to return to Paris where the decision on the Franciscan question was momentarily expected. Amat changed his plans but when no word had arrived by early spring he decided to visit Spain in a final effort to enlist priests for his diocese which was still predominantly Spanish-speaking. During his stay in Madrid, he was received by Queen Isabella II whose aid and interest he sought and to whom he explained his hopes of establishing a seminary to supply priests fοr the dioceses and vicariates of the southwestern United States. After leaving [p.239] Madrid, Amat went to Barcelona where, through the good offices of the queen, he obtained twelve students, two Italian priests, two Lazarist lay brothers, four Sisters of Charity and two others, a total of twenty-two volunteers for the California aροstolate.2 He then journeyed on to Marseilles and was back in Rome by late June.

By October, Amat had returned once again to Paris where he wrote to his distant relative, Luigi Cardinal Amat, about his plans to leave soon for “my distant mission.”3 In the only extant letter to his distinguished relative, Amat said that God’s will was sending him home, unsuccessful in many ways, but happy that the Holy See was fully apprised of his problems.

During Amat’s absence from the diocese, Father Blasius Raho, C.M., the vicar general, carried on the affairs of the struggling See and made what progress he could in the face of overwhelming obstacles. The local newspapers were a constant, if not always reliable, mirror of ecclesiastical activities. For example, early in 1860, one writer stated:

The Catholic Church in this town is enlarging itself. It is to become the future residence of the Bishop, who styles himself “of Monterey and Los Angeles.” A site fοr a new cathedral has been purchased; the buildings to be erected as soon as the funds can be furnished. It was reported that the Pope had appropriated $85,000 fοr this cathedral, but this is a mistake. In money has been appropriated by Rome. In connection with the cathedral, there is to be erected a House of Probation fοr the novices of the Sisters of Charity. Padre Raho informs me that the “house” will be erected immediately, that 12 or 15 Sisters from France, are on their way to organize it...4

Serious flood damage had occurred to many buildings in Southern California in December, 1859, of which one was the Plaza Church whose northeast corner was undermined by the rising waters and needed immediate attention.5

With his return to California, Bishop Amat took up his residence in Los Angeles at Our Lady of the Angels Church, situated on the west side of the city’s plaza, the oldest church in the city. By the end of the 1850’s native culture was definitely on the decline and the bishop wisely judged that Los Angeles would soon form the hub of activity in the southern part of the state. Hence the move of the diocesan curia to this once sleepy Mexican village was but another indication of Amat’s foresight. Nor did Amat’s shrewdness go unnoticed among the American hierarchy. His name had become well known by this time, and it was little wonder that the speculation in ecclesiastical circles of both the United States and [p.240] Europe regarding a suitable candidate for the vacant See of New Orleans was heard even in California. Archbishop Anthony Blanc had died on June 20, 1860, and one of the names frequently mentioned was that of Thaddeus Amat who seemed all the more logical choice because of his familiarity with the area and its customs. Certainly it was more than speculation that prompted the Reverend William C. McCloskey, first rector of North American College, to broach the matter in a note to the Archbishop of Baltimore:

Father Buteux of Natchez dined with me today and told me that he had been informed that Bishop Amat had been appointed to the vacant See of New Orleans.6

But the appointment, if it was ever seriously considered, did not materialize and later that year Pope Pius IX appointed another Vincentian to New Orleans in the person of John Odin, Bishop of Galveston. Amat’s influence, nonetheless, was considerable, even in Rome. One of his closest friends, a Belgian priest who had studied with him at Paris, Father Louis Lootens, had been sent after ordination to work in Vancouver Island. At the insistence of Amat, Lootens came to California and occupied several posts in the Diocese of Monterey-Los Angeles in the late 1860’s. It is not unreasonable to assume that his election to the titular See of Castabala on March 3, 1868, and his appointment to the Vicariate Apostolic of Idaho and Montana was prompted by Amat’s recommendation. Lootens invited Amat to San Francisco for the ceremonies of his consecration and he, together with Bishop Eugene O’Connell of Grass Valley, served as co-consecrators on August 9 when Archbishop Alemany raised Lootens to the episcopate.

Synodal activity occupied much of Amat’s time during these years. A circular letter, bearing the bishop’s seal, was sent to all the priests on February 28, 1862, announcing a diocesan synod which Amat had scheduled fοr the second Sunday after Easter. The notification directed that the prayer Ad Postulimdum Gratianz Spiritus Simcti was to be recited at Mass each day until the conclusion of the Synod, immediately before that already being said for the pope.7 It had been exactly a decade since the first synod had been held in California under the auspices of Bishop Alemany and many new problems faced the Church which only a meeting of this nature could resolve. Fifteen priests were present fοr the solemn opening on May 4 of the first such gathering of this kind in Los Angeles. A primary concern of the fathers were the transitional problems resulting from the transfer from Mexican to American jurisdiction, together with a more precise definition of disciplinary laws not then in [p.241] accordance with legislation of the councils of Baltimore. Much consideration was also given to matrimonial cases brought on by the large influx of non-Catholics into the southern part of the diocese. The matters of cemeteries and of secret societies likewise received attention as did the question of abstinence from meat on certain days. In regard to the last item, it should be pointed out that abstinence had been a troublesome problem fοr many years, indults having been sought and obtained at various times allowing the use of lard and other commodities in the preparation of foods consumed on Fridays. However, it was not until the 1880’s that a final and satisfactory solution of the thorny problem was reached. In fact, parts of the Diocese of Tucson continued to partake of meat on days of abstinence until the middle 1950’s, claiming for their justification an old papal indult given to Spain at the expulsion of the Moors.

Other matters faced the participants of the synod. Up to that time, thirteen parishes had been provided with priests, two new ones were in the process of formation with several others in the immediate planning stage. Still, the need for priests remained a paramount problem and the bishop was vitally aware of it. On one occasion he said:

From every part of this immense diocese, the people ask fοr priests to attend to their wants, but all in vain. There are no priests to be sent to them, there being only sixteen in all the diocese, a number quite insufficient to administer to the spiritual wants of the numerous Catholics, who live around the places of their residence.8

This plea was echoed in a letter to Martin J. Spalding, Archbishop of Baltimore:

...we labor under many difficulties, especially in regard to procuring a proper religious education to the youth, without which our labor is lost, this being the only hope left to us. We need fοr this purpose Religious Communities, whose members would devote themselves perseveringly to this object, being as missionaries must be, content with having ailments et quibus tegantur.... I feel inclined to expect that you could be the means and instrument to fill up this deficiency in the portion of the Lord’s vineyard, confided to my care.9

A cordial response was received which opened the way to further negotiations for religious communities coming to the Diocese of Monterey-Los Angeles.10 The bishop carefully outlined to Spalding the property agreement then in vogue and its application to the various communities, lest there be any misunderstanding on the matter. [p.242] One of the reasons fοr Arnat’s convoking of the synod was his desire to consult his own priests about the forthcoming provincial council which Alernany formally announced on September 6. Thus when the meeting opened in Sαn Francisco on October 19, Arnat was well prepared to present the needs of the Church in Southern California to this first provincial gathering.11 Amat’s typically judicious use of time is exemplified by his itinerary on the way to Sαn Francisco. He travelled through the gold mining town of Aurora and then to Carson City making visitations and administering confirmation. Shortly after his arrival in the Bay City, he issued a circular letterί2 announcing the erection of an association authorized by Rome whose object, he said, was “the protection of the rights of the Holy See, attacked in these times by evil αnd impious men in order to obtain from heaven, through prayers and almsgiving, the assistance that the Vicar of Christ needs to govern the Church with freedom and independence.” Amat urged his people to avail themselves of the indulgences and other privileges available to those promising to pray fοr the Holy Father during this time of trial. With the publication of his circular letter, Amat’s attention was concentrated on the business of the provincial meeting which lasted for several days. It was the first such meeting αnd the bishops expressed the hope that it would seta precedent fοr future gatherings where the problems of the Church in California could be discussed.

One of Amat’s methods of informing his people about meetings such as that held at San Francisco was the circulation of pastoral letters. On May 7, 1865,13 he issued a letter calling attention to the approaching golden jubilee of Pope Pius IX’s ordination and repeating his earlier request for prayers to sustain the Holy Father. Amat attributed the persecution of the pope to his strenuous position as the champion of truth αnd justice which had been the characteristic quality of his pontificate. In another pastoral, published early in 1869,14 the bishop noted the appropriateness of directing “a few admonitions, regarding some of the principal points that may effect Christian obligation.” His presentation of doctrine emphasized that the Church, as the guardian and depository of the faith must go forth not to a single point in the globe, but to the whole world, always preaching not to individuals but to everyone. In a tone reminiscent of our own day, Amat stated that the Church teaches not what is new but what is old αnd proven. She teaches what Christ teaches; her rules are His rules; her ways are Christ’s ways. He went on to speak of the sad plight of the pope but pointed out that suffering seemed to be a characteristic of the rulers of Christendom. “There can be no true liberty, progress and civilization,” he concluded, “without the fear of God [p.243] and submission both to Him and to them by whom He governs the world in temporal and spiritual concerns.”

The bishop used his pastoral to promulgate several of the earlier synodal decrees, noting the duties, not only of the laity but also of the clergy. “Your duties to them (pastors) are their rights, and their duties to you are your rights.” In the matter of the laity’s generosity, he said he could not refrain from expressing sentiments of gratitude and praise for the zeal that some had shown in contributing to the poor and promoting the glory of God. And yet, he observed, poverty was still widespread and therefore, they had “only to look to the actual state of your churches throughout the Diocese and to the several localities which actually need a place of worship to see the needs that still face them.”

Meanwhile Amat had summoned a second synod which met in Los Angeles on April 11, 1869.15 Among other matters discussed was the drawing up of a diocesan catechism upon which to base the instruction of children. Many of the pastors were still using the old doctrine which had been so successful in mission days but whose usefulness was clearly outdated. It had been prepared for strictly missionary areas and Southern California was gradually taking on a structure that set it apart from the earlier concepts of the friars. It was also decided at the synod that an annual collection should be taken up for the maintenance of diocesan orphanages which were experiencing anxiety because of their lack of funds. Amat asked for suggestions regarding the approaching Vatican Council, telling the priests that he would be their spokesman at the conclave later that year. One of the questions settled upon was that of stole fees,16 which up to that time had not been regulated in the diocese. Amat set the general formula, which he later had printed for distribution, and originated the laudable custom of having all such fees accrue to the parishes and not the individual priests as was the observance in the eastern United States. The formal decree was not issued until July 1 as the bishop was anxious to compare it with a similar bulletin in the San Francisco area.

Amat’s third synod convened in May, 1876,17 in the Church of Our Lady of the Angels. It lasted until May 7 when the bishop imparted the apostolic blessing and adjourned the meeting. In addition to reaffirming the earlier decrees, the bishop officially extended to the diocese the regulations adopted at the provincial council recently held at San Francisco. Several liturgical admonitions were contained in the statutes, most of which had not been enforced in earlier years because of the missionary status of the diocese. Nonetheless, Amat insisted that these observationswere only becoming in a jurisdiction which had now risen to some degree of stability within the framework of the American Church.

Nor was Bishop Amat’s knowledge of conciliar matters confined to California. On March 19, 1866, Archbishop Spalding asked him to submit a schema for the forthcoming plenary council which was scheduled to open at Baltimore on the first Sunday in October. As apostolic delegate to the council, Spalding was anxious to have opinions from the nation’s bishops especially those versed in legal matters.18 In July, Amat sent circulars out to all the priests of the diocese informing them of the coming council in Baltimore. The bishop announced his own plans to attend the council and requested that each parish begin a triduum for the fruitful deliberations of the fathers.19 Shortly before leaving for Baltimore on July 25, Arnat named Father Francis Mora, a fellow Catalonian, vicar genera120, conferring on him the same broad powers earlier given with papal approval to Father Blasius Raho. The Sacramento sailed from San Francisco on August 18 with Archbishop Alemany, Bishop Amat and Bishop Eugene O’Connell and three other priests. The voyage took them to Panama where they travelled overland and then up the Atlantic seaboard to New York.21

The council formally opened on October 7. Several items of the councils agenda pertained especially to the Far West, including the recommendation of Alemany that the Vicariate of Marysville be elevated to diocesan status.22 Of more immediate concern to Catholics in Southern California was the suggestion that a seminary23 be set up in Barcelona for the education of priests destined to labor in Spanish-speaking areas of the United States. It was a favorite project of Amat’s and one on which he had been working several years. He read a letter to the fathers from Cardinal Barnabo endorsing the plan for a college in Barcelona. Nothing came of this idea at the time but this matter over a year later would come up again in Amat’s correspondence with Spalding. He then said:

If you thought proper, Most Reverend Archbishop, to devise some means by which this could come to the knowledge of the Prelates of these States as several of them labor under great difficulties for want of missionaries; and according to all appearances, in Spain we could get a good supply, and without great expense. They could likewise be trained in a manner suitable for our missions; I doubt not, that some might be willing to join in the undertakíng...24

No definite action was taken by the bishops, however, and the question remained in abeyance throughout Amat’s life. The fourth and last public session of the council was held in Baltimore’s historic Cathedral of the [p.245] Assumption on Sunday, October 21. A solemn Mass was celebrated by Archbishop John Odin, C.M., of New Orleans attended by President Andrew Johnson and several of his cabinet members.

Immediately after the council’s adjournment Amat travelled the forty miles to Washington where he filed a claim against the government for rental—actually military occupation from 1849 to 1857 — of the building of the missions at San Diego and San Luis Rey.2S Apparently no results were forthcoming at that time although he had asked $8,000 from the War Department for the eight years of occupation, the reimbursement being based on the annual rental of each mission which he estimated to be worth $500.

The Bishop of Monterey-Los Angeles had previously made it known to his Vicar General that he planned to go on from New York to Rome for his ad limi visit,26 it being also the nineteenth century of SS. Peter and Paul. Hence when his business was finished, he set out for the Eternal City where he made the usual calls at the various congregations and submitted his report to Propaganda. In his audience with Pope Pius ΙX he conveyed a spiritual bouquet gathered in his diocese in the pope’s honor on the occasion of the latter’s golden jubilee.27 His reception was most cordial and the audience was concluded with the customary apostolic blessing for the bishop and his people. In October 1867, Amat stopped at All Hallows College where he recruited five more students for California.

While in Barcelona the previous year, Bishop Amat had expanded his earlier treatise on matrimony and had the new version printed in Spanish for use in California.28 It was well received, perhaps more so than the English version which was a favorite of Archbishop Spalding. Later, Amat sent a copy of the Spanish version to the archbishop with these words:

May I take the liberty of sending you by mail a copy of the translation of my treatise on marriage into Spanish, with the few alterations which you were so kind to remark to me. I hope you will be pleased with it and might help a little to facilitate the new impression in English, in case you intend to print it over again as you told me.29

The death of Fray Gonzales Rubio on November 2, 1875,30 the last of the old mission priests who had accompanied Garcia Diego to California in the early 1830’s, deprived the Indians of their most vociferous spokesman, for Rubio never failed to champion the cause of the natives throughout his long and useful life. His refusal of the mitre of Baja California, and his forceful retention by the people at Santa Barbara [p.246] when he was recalled to Zacatecas, were but two incidents that dramatized the high degree of respect in which he was held by the natives and townspeople of Santa Barbara and, fοr that matter, by all California. The great churchman was eulogized as,

a noble man, a true Christian, very much respected and beloved by his people, and by all who knew him.31

Bancroft summed up the worth of Gonzales Rubio, the last survivor of the California missionaries as,

a man respected and beloved by all from the beginning to the end of his career; one of the few Zacetecans who in ability, missionary zeal, and purity of life were equals to the Spanish Fernandinos.32

Other calamities befell the diocese too. Vandalism was a great plague fοr old mission buildings. Frequently the bishop was unable to hire caretakers to watch over the grounds which attracted mischievous youngsters and malicious vagrants who were frequently guilty of defiling the once sacred institutions. Considerable damage, fοr instance, was done at San Luis Rey near San Diego on October 6, 1868, so great in fact, that Bishop Amat wrote to Judge Hayes requesting legal assistance in order to prevent further damage. The justice decided that legal action would be costly and urged the bishop that an announcement in the local press would have a far more useful effect. With that in mind, Amat authorized the following notice to be inserted in some of the papers in the area:

I have been requested by the Rt. Rev, T. Amat, Catholic Bishop of this Diocese, to give notice that he holds a patent fοr the buildings of the ex-Mission of San Luis Rey, in this county, and to warn all persons not to take away timbers, bricks or other material belonging thereto.33

Nonetheless, by the time the mission was again opened for service, most of its appurtenances had disappeared and even today small items are occasionally brought into the mission from nearby ranches where they have been hidden away fοr over a century.

Amat published another pastoral letter while visiting San Jaun Bautista,34 in which he announced certain “dispositions which the Holy Father deigned to make, with regard to our diocese...”

We had observed long since, and not without regret on our part, that some of our dear faithful, notwithstanding their good will and sincere desire to observe all the commandments of our Mother Church, whose observance, unless great obstacles should be in their


way, is necessary for salvation, by reason of the difficult circumstances in which they were placed, they felt themselves depressed in mind, because they could not assist at the holy sacrifice of the Mass on certain festival days of obligation. We therefore entreated our Holy Father and Supreme Pastor that he might deign to provide, so as to quiet their consciences, with some mitigation in this respect, and also that we might thus, as much as the circumstances of the diocese allow, conform ourselves, as to the feasts of obligation and fasts, with the practice of the rest of the United States.35

Amat then went on to enumerate the privileges given by the pope. Among others he lessened the days of obligation by four and allowed certain others the days of precept to coincide with the normal Sunday observance. Fasting on the Saturdays of Advent was dispensed with and certain other minor obligations were suspended. Amat observed, however, that the people should remember that these privileges were granted “principally fοr the benefit of such persons whose circumstances of employment do not allow them the freely comply with the precept of the Church.” He thus seemingly indicated that he expected those who were able to continue the existing practices.

The affection of his people was obvious on many occasions. For example, upon his return from the Vatican Council on December 16, 1870, a large group of people assembled at the station to greet him and to accompany him to the Church of Our Lady of the Angels where he sang a Te Deum fοr his safe arrival back in his diocese. Former Governor John G. Downey was among the welcoming party as were other prominent people of the city. Amat addressed the people in Spanish dwelling particularly on the disasters that had recently involved France and Spain.

“In deploring the momentary triumph of the revolutionists,” said a local reporter in summarizing the bishop’s remarks, “who led those fine old Catholic countries as bleeding victims at their feet, he was so deeply affected as to shed copious tears.” A formal greeting ceremony, held later in the bishop’s residence, was the occasion of several speeches, among which that of Judge Jose Sepulveda was typical. He said:

It becomes the rare privilege of my life to extend to you in the name of the citizens of Los Angeles, a welcome home. The unanimity with which this welcome is extended to you sufficiently manifests the high regard all classes have fοr you; it is only a meet tribute to the talents, virtue and piety which adorn your character.36

Other welcoming speeches were made and, said a local newspaperman: Many devout person presented themselves to welcome him and to kiss [p.249] the hand of him who is venerated as the common father of the faithful of his diocese.

As soon as he had settled down to his customary routine, Amat turned his attention to the problem of church titles. It had been a recurring problem and several of the religious communities had balked at his insistence on holding the titles to their foundations. Nor was it clear to the civil authorities whether the actual titu/us resided in the particular community occupying the area or in the diocese. This was especially confusing in regard to the mission prοnerty which legally belonged only tū the bishop but which, in many cases, was occupied by others. Amat had submitted the matter to Cardinal Barnabo some years previously, as well as to the Vincentian Superior General in Paris since the Daughters of Charity had also been affected by the regulation. The official interpretation of His Eminence, stated that “property in places of missions is to belong to the Missions but their use may be granted by the bishop to a society or congregation of priests.”37

California law entered the discussion, too. Corporation sole, as viewed by the state, was the answer to the thorny problem and was to forestall a difficulty which faced the Church in the eastern part of the country fοr several decades, namely lay trusteeism. One student of the question has summarized the matter as follows:

The American legal theory of corporation is fundamentally the same as that of English Iαw: There can he no corporation which is not the creation of civil law, and all tenure of property likewise requires civil authority. The Church enjoys a large measure of freedom, but the law does not, within the United States, deal with it as such. The citizens of the United States however, in virtue of the federal and state constitutions, are free to practice their religion without interference, and where the state laws permit, to enter contractual agreement fοr the support of religion in a corporate capacity. Such corporations are controlled in the same manner as private corporations, and are subject to the principles of the common law.38

It was on February 27, 1854,39 that Archbishop Alemany had recorded himself as corporation sole and, as such, became the principal spokesman for the Catholic Church in California in matters of property and disputes of legal title, a position which he continued to maintain after his promotion to the See of San Francisco.40

At the time of Amat’s return from the Vatican Council he, too, registered himself as a corporation sole in the office of the recorder in Monterey County, this being done under the terms of an act of the state [p.250] legislature approved41 on May 4, 185242 and articles of incorporation were later filed with the county clerk of Monterey on June 13, 1876. Under previous legislation, especially that of 1850, the real estate which could be held by a religious corporation was limited to two whole lots in a town, or twenty acres in the country. The act of 1852 temporarily removed this restriction for corporation sole, but in 1854 the legislature passed an amendment restoring the clause. This later amendment had validity until the adoption of section 602 of the civil code in 1878 when the limitation was removed on March 30:

The present powers of corporation sole are those set forth in Sections 602, 602a, 602b, Civil Code. These include the power to buy, sell, lease or mortgage and in every way deal in real and personal property in the same manner that a natural person may.43

As one writer stated it:

The corporation is not terminated or affected by the death or incompetency of the incumbent. Nor is an agency created by the corporation sole, such as a power of attorney, which in express terms provided that the agency shall not be terminated by a vacancy in the incumbency of the corporation, terminated by the death of the incumbent.44

A copy of the original articles,45 duly certified by the county clerk of that county, was filed in the office of the clerk of Los Angeles on June 19, 1876. These articles were signed by Amat, who was then in Monterey, on December 9, 1870. He subscribed himself as the

...Roman Catholic Bishop of Monterey duly constituted the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church in the diocese of Monterey in the State of California... the rules, regulations and discipline of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States of America require it for the administration of the temporalities of the said Roman Catholic Church in the said Diocese, and the management of the estate and property of the said Church.46

It should be noted that the older title of the diocese was used in these official documents and not the later one with its addition of ‘Los Angeles,’ dating from July 7, 1859. This was done to safeguard titles to the mission buildings and lands which had been awarded to Bishop Alemany, as the Ordinary of Monterey in December of 1855.

Upon Bishop Amat’s return to California late in 1870, he gave every appearance of being in his typically robust health. It was only with Father lira’s departure for Europe the next year47 that the first indication of [p.251] fatigue became apparent for the added duties which fell on his shoulders during the absence of his vicar general weakened him considerably. The additional activity told on his health as he himself later admitted.

Amat wrote two more pastorals during his later years.51 One in April of 1872 dealt with the “universal corruption, which threatens the very foundations of Christian society, especially in Europe.” Amat attributed the cause of the general world depravity to “the want of faith, which as the Council of Trent says: is the fundament and root of justification.” The bishop went on to cundeuin in nu uncertain words the activity of secret societies operating within the diocese which, he said, “monopolize every branch of enterprise in the country.” In their place, he advised the laity to affiliate with one or another of the Catholic associations recommended by the pope since these latter were, by their very nature, subject to ecclesiastical authority. The second of these pastorals, dated November 30, 1873, was addressed to the clergy and reiterated an allocution of Pius IX to which these words were added: “Histoιy teaches us, that this (world-wide persecution) is scarcely an abnormal condition of the Church. It has been persecuted in the past ages, and will be persecuted until the end of time. It is a part of that flood of pride, falsehood, disobedience, lawlessness, iniquity and immorality which has never ceased...”

On March 14, 1874, Archbishop Alemany announced the convocation of the Second Provincial Council of San Francisco52 which would meet in the Bay City in late April. The four bishops of the province were directed to draw up lists of prospective decrees which would be submitted for action. Among others offered by Arnat were the following:

Ist...We should make a decree about the conditions for ordinations; the oath that the ordinands are to take expressing the things to which they bind themselves, of remaining in the diocese, and not entering a Religious Order, without being dispensed by the Holy See; 2nd.. .A decree expressing the Disposition of the Holy See concerning the Sisters of Charity and other Communities (Religious) with regard to the way of holding property, indicating the communities affected by its exceptions; 3rd... A decree establishing uniformity with regard to the way of granting them or refusing; 4th...A decree concerning secret societies declaring which are to be held as such and which not, precautions to be taken when there is not certainty about their being lawful or not, and penalties for the transgressors of said decree.53

Both Bishop Amat and Bishop Mora attended the meeting. At the conclusion of the council, a pastoral letter was issued to the clergy and laity [p.252]

Right Reverend Francis Mora

Bishop of Monterey-Los Angeles [p.253] of the province which took cognizance of the woes of the Church of Europe. The bishops said:

The attitude of some rulers of the world toward the Church of Christ is also a subject of continual sorrow to us as we feel confident it must be of deep regret to you. Unmindful of their duties and obligations as the guardians of the principles of human jus-

tice_ of the rights and liberties of others, and of that submission due by all to divinely constituted Church authority, they have in several instances.. .sacrilegiously confiscated the possession confiscated the possessions of the faithful — set at naught the authority of the Supreme Pastor...54

The well written and scholarly treatise, composed almost entirely by Archbishop Alemany, also treated of matrimony, dwelling especially on the dangers of mixed marriages. Finally, there were warm words of praise and gratitude to the priests of the province:

Vvé take this occasion to say that we are not unacquainted with the zeal, ardor and devotion displayed by them (our venerable brethren in the Ministry) in the discharge of the duties of the sacred Ministry. It is, indeed, to us the source of the greatest comfort; from it we derive the brightest consolations, that we are aided in the work of the Lord by so zealous and such efficient ciad jutοrs.55

In view of Amat’s failing health it was thought by his physician that a trip to Europe might be advantageous. Accordingly, the bishop left Los Angeles late in 1874 and travelled through the continent to his native Barcelona and Vich56 where he rested and hoped for a return of health, which never came. He journeyed to Paris on his way back and stopped for treatment in the mineral baths of Vìchy.57 By the time he reached the United States in the Summer of 1875, he realized there would be no permanent recovery. His arrival in New YorkS8 was warmly reported by some of the papers which raised the hope that he would soon be active again. Amat went first to San Francisco where he spent some time with the archbishop before returning to Los Angeles.59

The cause of Amat’s original illness is not known although he believed that “to a great extent the debts that weighed me down were the cause of my illness for which reason I went to Europe during the past year.”60 In any event he put himself under the care of Dr. Manuel Fernandez and the physician later reported that the bishop’s memory was occasionally impaired, an indication that he may have sustained several minor strokes [p.254] prior to 1876. He also suffered intermittently from asthma which had weakened his heart. A separate diagnosis of Amat’s illness was made by Dr. William Jones of San Francisco on October 25, 1877. His report indicated that the bishop’s heart and lungs were normal but that there were some signs of advancing age. Dr. Jones said:

My examination was as much directed to the ascertainment of his mental as of his physical condition. He was quite corpulent and I discovered a tendency to paralysis or apoplexy. Though my efforts were especially directed to that purpose, I could detect no defect in his memory. He told me, however, that he could not remember recent events as well as those of an earlier period. Ι did not regard such circumstances as strange in a person of his age. Ι could discover no impairment of the reflective faculties, his judgement or reason. He was fully competent fοr the transaction of business.61

Bishop Mora was able to report to Alemany in November that Amat “continues improving in his health.”62 Nonetheless, the bishop revised his will on November 19, 1877, in favor of his coadjutor with all the legal formalities.63

The end came suddenly. Shortly after one o’clock on Sunday, May 12, 1878, Thaddeus Αmat was seized by a fatal heart attack. Despite the gradual disintegration of his health, the news came as a shock to the clergy and laity of the diocese. He had appeared in excellent spirits the preceding day and had even discussed several important business matters with Bishop Mora. In the afternoon, he took his customary ride in the carriage with apparently little discomfort.64 Immediately upon Amat’s death, Bishop Mora succeeded to the see and began at once to arrange fοr the funeral obsequies of his beloved predecessor. He telegraphed Archbishop Alemany and asked him to sing the funeral Mass. Alemany answered immediately that he would be present for the occasion. Special messages were dispatched to the pope, the Archbishop of Baltimore and to the priests of the diocese.65 Amat’s remains were laid in state in the Church of Our Lady of the Angels in a handsome glass-covered metallic casket. Calla lilies and leaves of myrtle were banked by his loving people around the catafalque bearing the dead shepherd. Great crowds of the faithful filed into the church to view, fοr the final time, the man whom they had known and loved so long as their bishop.

Promptly at ten o’clock on May 14, the funeral cortege came to a halt before Saint Víbiana’s Cathedral, already filled to capacity with mourners. The venerable metropolitan, visibly shaken by the loss of his longtime friend, was helped up the steps by Bishop Mora and Father Hugh

255Gallagher. Priests, sisters, students, city officials, laity had come to pay their final respects. Six priests carried the flower-draped casket into the cathedral and placed it on a porte-mort in front of the chancel rail. At the conclusion of the Mass, Amat’s remains were lowered into the vault beneath the sanctuary of the church, first and only person ever buried in the edifice.66


1Sacramento Bee, November, 1859.

2ÁALÁ, Thaddeus Agnat to Berard DeGlageux, Marseilles, June 23, 1860.

3ÁÁLÁ, Thaddeus Arnat to Luigi Amat, Paris, October 6, 1860.

4Alta Califon iá, January 7, 1860. An article by Mr. Wallace.

5Los Ángeles Star, December 22, 1860.

6Árchives of the Archdiocese of Baltimore (hereafter referred to as AAB), John

McCloskey to Francis P. Kenrick, Rome, April 7, 1861.

7ÁÁLÁ, “Libro Gobiernro, “ p. 37.

$Reprinted in the Tidings, December 8, 1939. Copy of a letter sent to Ireland by

Arnat. No date or addressee was given in the reprint.

9ÁÁLÁ, Thaddeus Arnat to Martin J. Spalding, Los Angeles, January 21, 1865.

ÉÏÁÁÂ Thaddeus Amat to Martin J. Spalding, Los Angeles, April 22, 1865.

11Jïseìh S. lemony to Thaddeus Agnat, San Francisco, September 6, 1862.

12AÁLÁ, Circular, November 23, 1862.

13ÁÁLÁ, Thaddeus Agnat, C.M., Carta Pastoral (Los Angeles, 1865).

14ñ. Á Thaddeus Agnat, C.M., Pastoral Letter (Los Angeles, 1869).

15SÂÌÁ, III, 279. Constitutions, San Francisco, April 11-18, 1869.

16ÁÁLÁ, A chart in the hand of the Very Reverend Francis Mora and signed by

Bishop Agnat. Cf. also SBMA, III, 272.

17SÂÌÁ, III, 465, Constitutions, San Francisco, May 7, 1876.

18John Lancaster Spalding, op. cit., p. 195.

1 9ÁÁLÁ, “Libro Gobierno, p. 53.

20lbid., p. 52.

21The Monitor; August 18, 1866.

22This request was granted by Pius IX in a bull issued March 22, 1868. The title

of the new See was Grass Valley. Cf. Peter K. Guilday, op. cit., p. 214.

23Cf. Appendix to Acta et Decreta Concilii Plenarii Bnitinzorensis Tertii in Ecclesia ...

(Baltimore, 1884), letter dated November 13, 1867.

24AÁB, Thaddeus Arnat to Martin J. Spalding, Los Angeles, February 22, 1868.

25The papers relating to this transaction are in the Hayes Collection which

forms part of the Bancroft Library, Berkeley.

26ÁÁLÁ, “Libro Gobierno, p. 54.

27AÁLÁ, Thaddeus Amat, C.M., Pastoral Letter (San Francisco, 1870), p. 4. [p.257] 28Τhe Spanish title was Tratado sobre de/Matrimonio.

29AAB, Thaddeus Agnat to Martin J. Spalding, Los Angeles, July 4, 1868. 30Los Angeles Express, November 15, 1875.

31William Heath Davis, Sixty Years in Califoτnia (San Francisco, 1889), pp. 73-74. 32Hubert Howe Bancroft, op. cit., III, 760.

33San Diego Union, October 10, 1868.

34ηηLΑ, Thaddeus Amat, C.M. Pastoral Letter (San Juan Bautista, 1870). 35Ιbid., p. 17.

36Los Angeles Star; December 7, 1870.

37ΑSMS, Thaddeus Amat to Jeaīī-Baptīstē Etienne, Los Angeles, July 13, 1864. 38Patrick J. Dignan, Α Ilistoi y of the Legal Incorporation of Cat/u/ic Church Property in the United States (Washington, 1933), p. 208.

39Ιbid., pp. 246, 264.

40The incumbent Archbishop of San Francisco, who claims lineal episcopal succession from Archbishop Alemany, has traditionally acted in behalf of the California bishops in matters involving the several jurisdictions.

41Cf. Book C., p. 19, County Recorder of Monterey County, December 12, 1870.

42Cf. “Corporation Soie,” Stat. 1852, p. 168, Civil Code, sec. 602. This amended the earlier law of April 22, 1850, which read “...Whenever the rules of a society or church require for the management of estate and property thereof, it is made lawful for the bishop...to be a sole corporation.... For a proof of appointment of such bishop, it is made sufficient to record with the county clerk of the county in which the bishop resides, the letters of his appointment....” For the entire text, cf. Theodore Hittell, The General Laws of the State of California (18501864), I, C. 8, Scc. 184.

43Τhc Corporation Act of 1850 granted to every corporation the power:

a.               To have succession by its corporate name, for the period limited, and when no period is limited, perpetually;

b.               To sue and to be sued in any court;

c.               To make and use a common seal, and alter the same at its pleasure;

d.               To hold, purchase and convey such real and personal estate as the purposes of the corporation shall require, not exceeding the amount limited by law. 44Dale G. Vaughn, El Obispo (Los Angeles, 1929), p. 4.

451.e., those recorded in the Monterey County Records, December 12, 1870. 46Vaughn, op. cit., p. 5.

47Father Mora went to Sapin in order to bring back the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The sisters arrived in San Francisco on August 31 and were immediately assigned to Gilroy and San Juan Bautista abandoned by the Daughters of Charity during Amat’s absence in Rome.

48Αrchives of the University of Notre Dame (hereafter referred to as AUND), Joseph S. Alemany to John Purcell, San Francisco, January 30, 1873.


50Los Angeles Star, August 5, 1873.

51AALA Thaddeus Agnat, C.M., Pastoral Letter (Los Angeles, 1 872 and 1873). [p.258]

52SBÌÁ, III, 375, Joseph S. Alemany to clergy, San Francisco, March 14, 1874.

53ÁÁLÁ, “Decrees to be Proposed,” in hand of Thaddeus Amat.

54SBÌÁ, III, 378, PastoralLettei; May 3, 1874, p. 4.

551bid., p. 15.

56ÁÙND, Thaddeus Amat to Charles Ceres, Vich, March 22, 1875.

57ÁSÌS, Thaddeus Amat to Superior General, Los Ángeles, November 4, 1875.

58Ámat arrived on June 20th according to the New York Herald.

59ÁUND, Thaddeus Amat to Charles Ceres, Los Ángeles, October 18, 1875.

60SBÌÁ, III, 443, Thaddeus Amat to Jose Romo, Los Ángeles, September

27, 1875.

61ÁÁLÁ, Written report of the bishop’s health. Source unknown.

62ÁÁLÁ, Francis Mora to Joseph S. Alemany, Los Ángeles, November 27, 1877.

63Bishop Amat had executed wills in favor of Archbishop Alemany on October

16, 1856 and March 27, 1866. He changed them in favor of Bishop Francis

Mora in 1873. His final treatment was dated November 19, 1877.

64Los Ángeles Express, May 13, 1878.

65ÁÁLÁ. Printed notice of Arnat’s death, Los Ángeles, May 12, 1878.

66The remains of Bishop Amat were exhumed on November 30, 1962 and found to be substantially incorrupt. They were reinterred in the episcopal vault at Calvary Mausoleum. [p.259]






 Bishop Mora

[21] Last of the Catalans—Francis Mora

Probably on the very day of his birth at Gurb,1 November 25, 1827,2 i.. Francisco Moray Borreli was christened in the fifth century Church of San Andrés by the parish priest. No more humble surroundings could be imagined than this small, hewn-stone edifice erected on the ruins of the former castle housing the regents of Vích. Beyond a few artistic canvasses by the noted Mariano Colorer, the Romanesque-like church then and now reflected the poverty of the region. The thought that their infant son, born in such humble circumstances, would someday wear the mitre and carry the crozier surely never entered the minds of MigLiei nd Rosa (Sorrell).

Francisco was the second of three sons3 born to the unadorned and simple Mora family.4 The future prelate’s father, a sharecropper of very modest means, was unable to finance the education of his youngsters beyond the primary levels. Much of the training given to Spanish children fell to the local curate and it must have been in these daily encounters that the youthful Francisco attracted the attention and interest of the priests at San Andrés. Eager as they were to further the interest of their people, it was a common practice for the clergy to single out certain more talented children for further studies. Hence it was that Francis Mora came to be enrolled in nearby Vich’s Casa de Caridad,5 an institution supported by the local bishop for orphans and a few other select youngsters of promise unable to defray the expenses of their own schooling. During his early years at the institution, Francisco expressed a desire to study for the priesthood, in consequence of which he was given special classes in Latin grammar and vocabulary. When the superior of the Casa informed the Bishop of Vich6 about bra’s qualifications, the prelate [p.260]

Episcopal Coat of Arms

Right Reverend Francis Mora
Bishop of Monterey—Los Angeles [
p.261] formally recommended the young man to the authorities of the local diocesan seminary.

At the age of eighteen, Francisco entered the Conciliar Seminary of San Joachim on Calle de Sαn Justo.7 Three years of philosophy were required of students: the first devoted to logic, ontology, and elementary mathematics, the second to general and particular physics; αnd the third to metaphysics and ethics. An additional four years were spent in the study of dogmatic theology and sacred scripture, followed by a final three years of moral and pastoral theology.

Most of the seminary’s records were burned by the Communists in the 1930’s, and there is no indication of how far Mora pursued his divinity courses at Vich. Whether the young seminarian exhibited any inclination for missionary work during his early days is unknown. To serve in the Diocese of Vich, a jurisdiction extending into all four of Catalonia’s provinces, was considered highly desirable, for that see still maintained the fervor of its sixth century founders αnd, in those very years, was able to boast of Spain’s foremost philosopher of the century, Jaime Βalmes.8

It is not clear when Francisco Mora first made the acquaintance of the Right Reverend Thaddeus Amat, CM.,9 newly consecrated Bishop of Monterey in far-away California. Students at Vich’s seminary undoubtedly were aware of the Church’s activities on the Pacific Coast for Archbishop Joseph Sadoc Alemany10 of San Francisco, a native of the city, was a son of one of the area’s more prominent families. Perhaps Amat’s friendship with Anthony Claret,11 a graduate of Sαn Joachim, brought about an invitation to appeal for clerical assistance at the seminary on his return from Rome.

many event, Mora volunteered, in 1854, to accompany Bishop Amat to America with the intention of joining the Congregation of the Mission. The records indicate, however, that “after a year of community life, he decided that his vocation led elsewhither, and he was accordingly accepted by Bishop Amat for the Diocese of Monterey.”12

The young clerical student was tonsured and received minor orders at Santa Barbara on February 24, 1856.13 On the following March 8, he was ordained subdeacon and four days later was advanced to the deaconate. The second of Miguel lira’s sons was raised to the priesthood on the Feast of Saint Joseph, March 19, 1856.14

A week after his ordination, on March 26, Bishop Thaddeus Amat appointed Father Mora Pastor of the old presidio chapel of San Carlos Borromeo at Monterey. 1 S It was subsequently recorded that the youthful priest was “respected and honored by all, his name a synonym for charity, [p.262]*

Visitor to Manresa

Much of the spirituality evident in the life of Bishop Francis Mora can be attributed to a religious experience he had shortly before leaving his native Spain for the United States. It was the practice at Vich’s Seminary of San Joachim fοr clerical students to visit Manresa and there to make the thirty day Spiritual Exercises composed by Ignatius Loyola.

The youthful Mora set out on his journey to Manresa in late 1853. Like Ignatius before him, he stopped enroute for several days at the Benedictine Monastery of Nuestra Señora de Montserrat. Upon his arrival at Manresa, Mora further imitated Ignatius by spending his first days serving the poor in the local hospital, performing acts of penance and writing down the inspirations received after period of meditation.

The young seminarian found the atmosphere at Manresa highly conducive to prayer. Located on the left bank of the Ciirdoner River, the ancient city had long been a favorite retreat fοr those seeking solitude and introspection. The local Jesuit spiritual director assigned Mora a room in the residence normally reserved fοr members of the Society of Jesus — only a few steps from that solitary precinct frequented by Ignatius.

Each morning, it was possible fοr Mora to see the rocky peaks of Montserrat in the distance. Then as now, the influence of the “Black Madonna” of Montserrat pierced the innermost recesses of Manresa. Early every day, Mora would spend several hours in the tiny cave which, by then, had been turned into a chapel. He later attended Mass and the chanting of the Hours in the adjacent church dedicated to Saint Ignatius.

During his month-long retreat, Mora also visited the other places of devotion in Manresa — the collegiate Basilica of Saint Mary, the church of Saint Peter, the hermitage of Saint Paul and two other nearby shrines to Our Lady. He also retraced the roads leading in and out of the city, along which were the “terminal crosses” and smaller shrines dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Ignatius often trod those areas making the 1m Crucis.

Francis Mora reflected carefully on the rich lessons of the Spiritual Exercises, especially those relating to the Holy Zìinity and the real presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. He was especially struck by the so-called “extraordinary revelation” which came to Ignatius in December of 1522.

His sojourn at Manresa was indeed a high watermark in Mora’s spiritual life. How better could one prepare fοr the active ministry of souls! Solemnly approved in 1548, the Spiritual Exercises were, in the words of Pope Paul III, “full of piety and sanctity” and “very useful fοr the edification and spiritual profit of the faithful.”

It was a rejuvenated and fortified Francis Mora who regretfully left Manresa for one last visit to his native Gurb. Then on to a whole new life of priestly service along El Canino Real.

 [p.263] self-sacrifice and unswerving devotion to the Church.”16

Not long afterwards, on June 26, 1856, Mora was transferred to Mission San Juan Bautista as a replacement to Father John Μοlinier.17 His four years at San Juan were not without their problems for the area was already showing signs of its late- eminence and growth.18 Μοrα remained at the mission until September 24, 1860, when he was named first resident pastor of the Church of the Immaculate IIeart in Pajaro Valley’s Watsοnville.19 After less than a year, on August 8, 1861,70 Father Mora submitted his resignation, whereupon he was assined to Mission San Luis Obispo.

In 1863, the bishop called Mora to Los Angeles and the pastorate of the Plaza Church of Our Lady of the Angels, a position he held for the following fifteen years. Soon after his arrival in Los Angeles, on February 17, 1863, Father Mora was empowered to govern the Diocese of Monterey-Los Angeles in the event of the bishop’s incapacitation.21 Three years later, on July 25, 1866, Mora became Vicar General of the jurisdiction.22

In his position as second ranking priest of the diocese, Father Mora gradually assumed a place of importance in the Church’s overall activities in Southern California, standing in, when necessary, for the bishop himself. It was in this role that Mora was sent to Europe in July of 1871 to bring back the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary from their lnotherhouse at Olot, Spain. Mother Raimunda,23 her nine companions, and Father Mora left Gerona appropriately enough, on the Feast of Our Lady of the Angels. Ti their consternation, the small group discovered at Liverpool that their ship had already sailed, leaving them more-or-less stranded with no ready funds for passage on another vessel. The inconvenience and hardships attached to arranging for subsequent accomodations were dismissed when the word arrived that the earlier ship had been lost at sea.24 Father Μοrα and the Sisters finally arrived in San Francisco on August 31, 1871, where they received an enthusiastic welcome.

When the health of Bishop Thaddus Amat began to decline in late 1872, the prelate was advised by Archbishop Alemany to ask the Holy See for a coadjutor to help shoulder the widespread obligations of the southland jurisdiction.

Southern California, with its new and growing population, many of non-Spanish origin, posed several problems, most important of which was that of language. The Catholics of Los Angeles were only about half native-born, while those of San Bernardino represented more fully the [p.264] result of the new migration. Even San Diego was profiting by growth. On the other hand, Santa Barbara, San Buenaventura, and other places remained rnοstlÿ Spanish-speaking. All considerations being duly weighed, it was thought advisable to select a man who could easily attend to the spiritual needs of both classes. Both Father Mora and Father Vìnyes were conversant in English and Spanish.

The provincial bishops were obviously favorable to lira’s candidacy. Alernany admitted that Vinyes might have been an able prospect inasmuch as Mora was a “rather timid” man; nonetheless, he pointed out that since “Father Mora has been many years by the side of Bp. Arnat and a good, gentle and prudent priest, we have joined in praying that he may be the coadjutor.”29

There was no opposition to the appointment in Rome and on May 20, 1873, papal bulls were issued naming Francis Mora Titular Bishop of Mosnopolis and Coadjutor of Monterey-Los Angeles.30 Public reaction to the appointment was mirrored in one newspaper account which noted that “the election of the Very Reverend Francis Mora was merited by his great virtues and moral qualities, by his long career in our midst and his careful studies, and by his great fitness for thegrave responsibilities of the place.”31 Another journal recorded, in later years, that bra’s selection brought “rejoicing amongst the clergy and laity of the diocese, for all loved him as a brother or a Father.”32

The consecration was scheduled for Sunday, the 3rd of August, at the old Plaza Church of Nuestra Señora de los Angeles where Father Mora had served as pastor fir the previous decade. A contemporary account of the event recorded that “if the church had been three or four times as large it could not have contained the number οf people anxious to see that ceremony.”33 Promptly at nine o’clock the ceremonies began. One newspaper noted that:

The consecration of a Catholic Bishop ever has been one of the most imposing ceremonies of the Church. On Sunday last, a priest who has long lived amongst us and quietly endeared himself in a very special way to all with whom he has come in contact, was elevated to the higher dignity of the Episcopal Chair. The growing importance of this Diocese, its large extent, and the impossibility of its being presided over effectually by one Diocesan, has led the Right Reverend Bishop Amat to beg the appointment of a Bishop Coadjutor to assist and strengthen him in his labors. The appointment οf Father Mora and his selection from the three names submitted to the Holy Father, is understandably a wise one and we are [p.265]

Ôhés back view of Santa hues Mission features the second floor area where the Biblioteca /lion tereyensis-Angelorum was biased. [p.266] sure that there is no one in Los Angeles today who does not rejoice in the great dignity conferred upon him.34

Preacher for the occasion was Archbishop Alemany who took as his text the twenty-eighth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. It was a sermon “as only the archbishop can preach on an occasion when his heart is gladdened, his emotions unusually heightened.” At the conclusion of the city’s first concelebrated Μass,35 a luncheon was served at which the Honorable Ygnacio Sepulveda3G and other distinguished personages paid their respects to the new prelate.

That Bishop Mora was not unduly impressed with his new position is evident from the following observation:

The old-timers hereabouts say that on the very day of his consecration Bishop Mora started off on horseback to administer to a patient at Anaheim. That was a trip of twenty-five miles, and he made it back in what remained of the day after his consecration.37


1Ìuch of this chapter is based on Francis J. Weber, Francis Mora. Last of the

Catalans (Los Angeles, 1967).

2Bïletin Ofacial Eclesidstico LX (August 16, 1905), 292.

3Ïnïfre was the eldest, Juan the youngest.

4Árchiíes of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles (hereafter referred to as AALA),

Testimonial, Francesca Mora y Roma to aõthïr, November 5, 1962.

5Ôhe school was established in 1830 at Rambla Santo Domingo 28, next door

to the Church of Santo Domingo. Cf. Géézeta Vigatimci CLXVII (August 5,

1905), 248.

6Viz., Pablo de Jesus de Corcuera y de Caserta.

7Dating from 1635, the seminary was established by Gaspar Gil. Shortly before

Morn’s arrival, the institution had been reorganized. It was moved to its new

location in 1767 when the Society of Jesus was expelled.

8Jairne Luciano Balines (1810-1848) has a universally admitted place among the

great thinkers of modern times.

9Thaddeus Amat, C.M. (1811-1878), also a native of Catalonia, was raised to the episcopate on March 12, 1854. For a biographical study, Cf. Francis J. Weber, California’s Reluctant Prelate (Los Angeles, 1964).

10Joseph Sadoc Alemany, O.P. (1814-1888) maintained close personal ties with his native Vich throughout his long lifetime. For a biographical Sketch, Cf. John B. McGloin, S.J., California First Ár chbishïñ (New York, 1966). [p.267] History *[p.0]*f the Catholic Church in Southern California — *[p.184]**[p.0]*-*[p.194]**[p.7] 11Ánthïny Claret (1807-1870), a native of Salient, Catalonia, was founder of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He was canonized by Pope Pius XIÉ on May 7, 1950.

12Charles C. Conroy, The Centennial, 1840-1940 (Los Angeles, 1940), p. 26. 13Libro Gobierno, ì. 26.

14”These were the last ordinations that took place at the venerable mission church until April 7, 1904.” Cf. Zephyrin Engelhardt, O.F.Ì., The Missions and Missionaries of California (San Francisco, 1915), IV, 719.

15L ib ro Gobierno, p. 28.

1 Catholic Tidings, July 25, 1896.

17Zephyrin Engelhardt, O.F.M., Mission San Juan Bautista (Santa Barbara, 1931), p. 105. French-burn John Molinier (1806-1869) had served at the mission since November of 1854.

18By the time of Mora’s resignation in 1896, the original parish of San Juan Bautista had been divided into seven separate parochial units.

19Before the appointment of a resident pastor, Catholics in Watsonville attended Mass at San Juan Bautista. A church in Pajaro Valley had been erected in 1855 and was formally dedicated by Bishop Thaddeus Amat on the following May 25. It was considerably enlarged in 1860. Cf. The Centennial of Our Lady Help of Christians Church (Watsonville, 1955).

20Librï Gobierno, ì. 35.


22Ibid.,p.52-53. Cf. also The Tidings, September 4, 1931.

L3Ángeia Cremadeii (1824-i900), a woriian of daõiééie» uuui age and deep faith, was well fitted to be the foundress of the American foundation.

2`Ìarianï Aguilar, Historia de la Congregation de /as Has del Ssnmo. e Inmaculado Corazon de Maria (Barcelona, 1909), ì. 199.

25Jïhn Baptist Purcell (1800-1883) was among the more influential of American prelates.

26Víncent Vìnyes, O.S.D. (1833-1892) had been active in the foundation of the Dominican Convent at Benecia.

27James McGill, C.M. (1827-1911) was President of Saint Vincent’s College in Los Angeles.

28Árchives of the University of Notre Dame, Joseph Sadoc Alemany, Ï.P. to John P. Purcell, San Francisco, January 30, 1873.

2 9Éýid.

30 ÁI,Á, Bull of appointment.
31Los Angeles Star, August S, 1873.
32The Tidings, August 6, 1898.


34Los Angeles Star, August 5, 1873. [p.268]

35Consecrator was the Right Reverend Thaddeus Arnat, C.M.; co-consecrators were Archbishop Joseph Sadoc Alemany, O.P. of San Francisco and Bishop Eugene O’Connell of Grass Valley.

3ýYgnacio Sepulveda (1842-1916) was Judge of the Seventh Judicial District. 37The Tidings, March 2, 1906. [p.269]

[22] Bishopric of Monterey-Los Angeles (1878-1896)

Though he took a more active role in certain matters, such as the erection of Saint Vibiana’s Cathedral, Bishop Mora remained in the background in the final years of Thaddeus Amat’s life. With the Vincentian prelate’s death on May 12, 1878, Mora automatically assumed charge of the Diocese of Monterey-Los Angeles and only then did the vast jurisdiction begin to reflect the less colorful guidance of its new sh,-ρhvr’1

At the time of his accession Bishop Mora could count forty priests for twenty-eight parishes, fifteen missions and thirty-six stations accommodating the spiritual needs of 21,000 Catholics. The 75,984 square mile diocese was indebted to various holding agencies to the amount of $75,000. Lesser men than Francis Mora might have faltered in the face of such statistics, but the new Bishop of Monterey-Los Angeles, while a gentle man by nature, lost no time in measuring up to what was then considered a staggering financial challenge.

Early in 1881, Bishop Mora determined personally to present the Relatio on the status of his diocese to the cardinals of the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda Fide. In a pastoral letter to the southland’s faithful, Mora stated: “In a few days we are going to set out for the Capital of the Catholic world, in order to make our official visit to the Holy Father, to expose to him the state of our diocese....” I The bishop left Los Angeles on May 8 and travelled to the Eternal City, stopping enroute in his native Catalonia. He was received in papal audience in November. In addition to a lengthy discourse with Pope Leo XIII, Mora [p.270] had several informative meetings with Giovanni Cardinal Simeoni of Propaganda Fide. His Eminence strongly urged the Bishop of Monterey-Los Angeles to expand the diocesan school system as an effective means of providing Catholic leadership fοr the west coast.2

Soon after his return to Los Ángeles,3 Mora was once again engrossed in the daily routine of his ever-active and far-flung diocese. One area of particular interest to the bishop was the apostolate of the Catholic press.

Catholic Journalism

In both the secular and religious field, “a history of Los Angeles publications is largely a graveyard record.”4 Nonetheless, with the open endorsement of Bishop Francis Mora, James McGee5 secured financial underwriting in mid-1888 fοr the Cnlifòrniπ Catholic. 6 Initially the newspaper was quite successful and by the end of the year, the publication had attracted national attention. An editorial in the Indianapolis New Recurt referred to the “Church of Los Angeles” as “full of life and activity” sustaining “a vigorous, enterprising, bright-looking newspaper, the Cπlifor”in Catholic.” 7 Issued under the management of W. D. S. ~arrington8 and Father Charles Tanquerey,9 the paper perdured fοr about two years before discontinuing publication under the editorship of John J. Bodkín.10 A subsequent movement to organize a Catholic Press Association in 1889 likewise failed “because some of the strong papers did not take kindly to the idea, presumably fοr the reason that they feared the weak ones would be helped thereby, and thus, possibly curtail their own circulation. “ 1

“About the year 1890, Bishop Mora was anxious to have a Diocesan paper published”12 and asked Joseph Mesmer13 whether such a venture could be self-supporting. Mesmer having called a meeting of the city’s Catholic merchants and with the support of Edward J. Robertson14 and Isidore B. Dοckweiler,15 agreed to forma stock company. With $10,000 subscribed capital the trio launched the southland’s third Catholic newspaper.16

The first edition of the cause appeared on October 4, 1890; however, trouble soon developed. Even though the proprietors purchased no plant, preferring to have their printing done by contract, the paper was in serious trouble within fifteen months. Bankruptcy brought about the publication’s demise in 1892.17 Shortly after disbanding the Cause, “a Mr. Ηarrington18 undertook to resurrect the enterprise on his own accord — changing the name of the publication to The Voice. The paper was pub-  [p.271] lished fοr a short period.., but Catholic support was also too weak to sustain their paper.”

With the failure of these earlier Catholic papers, it is understandable that the bishop faced prospects of another one with dampened enthusiasm. When Patrick W. Croake,19 James Connolly20 and Kate Murphy21 approached Mora early in 1895, the bishop offered little, if any encouragement to their proposal fοr another journalistic attempt, refusing categorically to invest the meagre diocesan funds in so shaky an enterprise.22 Coadjutor Bishop George T. Montgomery was even more skeptical about hopes for “a new journal where four or five had failed financially earlier.”23

Though the San Francisco Μοnitοϊ already had a considerable circulation in Southern California, Croake and his companions felt that a locally-based newspaper would be more effective in spelling out the Catholic cause and would be supported by the faithful. On June 29, 1895, the first issue of the catholic Tidings was published from a small three-room loft at 258 New High Street. In the initial copy of the eight-page, four column weekly, the founders outlined their purpose:

The field which the CATHOLIC TIDINGS will humbly aim to occupy is a wide fertile one. In territory it includes the whole of Southern California, and in population more than sixty-thousand Catholics.... In all matters pertaining to the best interest of the nation, state, and city, the CATHOLIC TIDINGS will be ebreast of the most progressive.24  The new publication filled every expectation of its founders and once it was assured of success, Bishop Montgomery, on behalf of Mora, “did all in his power to help it along.”25 Thus launched, the Catholic Tidings began its career of service to California’s southland.


Bishop Mora’s selection of a new site fοr the Catholic cemetery in Los Angeles was hailed “as one of the last of the many monuments which attest his untiring zeal in a long and laborious episcopate.”26 Fortunately, after the land boom of the 1880’s, the bishop had purchased a fifty-two acre tract of land on the eastern edge of Los Angeles. In September of 1895, Mora went before the City Council to announce that “realizing growth of the city, taking into account general sanitary conditions and desiring to meet the necessities of a large congregation” he had determined “to close as early as possible the old cemetery grounds situated on Buenavista Street.”27 And he told the council members that the Church was anxious [p.272] Text Box: ry of the Catholic Church in Southern California — 1840-1947









1878  1879

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AALA, Statement of Diocese of Monterey-Los Angeles to Propaganda Pide, Los Angeles, December *[p.35]*, *[p.189]**[p.0]*.

to see its already acquired property authorized fir burial purposes.

The Boyle Heights site was approved by the Board of Health28 but because of the pressures from the powerful American Protective Association, Bishop Mora soon announced that the diocese had exchanged the Colgrove property for acreage further out of town and would “establish New Calvary Cemetery beyond the city limits”29 on Stephenson Avenue “only a half mile beyond the Odd Fellows’ Cemetery, on a direct line to Whittier.”30

Considerable planning was involved in the new site and many of the remains from the old graveyard were transferred. Minute regulations were issued for the first of Los Angeles’ planned memorial parks. Among other requirements, there was to be “no woodwork of any kind around the graves, such as fences, cribs or other contrivances of the kind...excepting a temporary small cross of wood marking the head and foot of each grave.” Those charged with laying out the new area noted that “nothing in the way of general ornamentation of a cemetery excells the lawn or grass plot.”31

Α.P.A. And Ecumenism

The American Protective Association, founded in March of 1887 by hIemy F. Bowers32 and six associates, was an offshoot of the Know-nothing movement. As a secret society, the objective of the A.P.A. was to “place the political positions of this government in the hands of Protestants, to the entire exclusion of the Roman Catholic Church...”33

The American Protective Association owed its popularity to a number of fortuitous events on the national and local scene. The loosening of party labels and generalized political unrest, coupled with industrial panic and depression, tended to focus attention on the growing social and economic stature newly attained by some Catholic-American citizens.

One source has recorded that “Los Angeles was afflicted with more than its share of these fanatical dupes with a slick political program to stir up animosity against Catholics of this community.”34 The A.P.A. was championed in the southland mostly by those generally unfamiliar with the heritage which the Catholic Church had bequeathed, through the colonization and provincial eras of California’s growth. The predominance of Irish and Spanish priests in a culture that was quickly absorbing the less favorable aspects of an Anglo-Saxon and Protestant influence, resulted in an atmosphere hostile to Catholic interests.

Evidences of the A.P.A.’s activity were visible at a number of levels of

Dated on the verso June 28, 1886, this page gives the first parochial boundaries of Saint Vibiann’s cathedral. [p.275] the Church’s operations. A reaction to the constant harassment brought about formation of the American Liberal League by a group of Catholic laymen. Members wore a distinctive little ribbon on their buttonholes fοr identification purposes in their campaign to “spread the gospel of religious toleration and American ideals.”35

Bishop Francis Mora was a favorite target of the A.P.A. Though his religion was the more outstanding object of their venom, the American Protective Association’s members missed few opportunities to deride other supposed failings of “that damn nld foreigner at Second and Main.” For the most part, the prelate ignored the charges and insinuations preferring, as he once said, to pray “that God may bless them and give them the light to enter into His fold.”36 While he never hesitated speaking out fοr essentials, the bishop at no time engaged in useless polemics. He was a practical ecumenist many years before that quality was generally recognized as a virtue. The Bishop of Monterey-Los Angeles was half a century ahead of his contemporaries in realizing that much of Protestantism is good, mirroring as it does the stone from which it is hewn.

Though his very retirement was hastened by the resentment and unrest stirred up by the Α.P.Α., Bishop Mora harbored no resentment. In fact, just before his departure for Spain, the prelate had this advice for his people:

Give them always a good example, fοr although of different religions, yet they are your brethren. Our Creator is theirs. The sunshine and the dai fall alike on the field nf Catholic and non-Catholic.37 God wishes the salvation of all. Be kind and considerate to your non-Catholic acquaintances, and let no animosity ever exist between you; have confidence in them. Such has been my endeavor always, and I request you to do the same. I have never mentioned the name of Protestant in the pulpit — they are my separated brethren.38

The Franciscan chronicles indicate that “Bishop Mora... belonged to the Third Order and was inclined to be friendly to the Franciscans.”39 In the early years of his episcopate, dealings between Mora and the Santa Barbara friars were rather cordial despite the many years of controversy that had marked the relations between Bishop Thaddeus Amat and the friars. Shortly after his accession, Mora even sought permission from Rome to condone a debt of $17,000 that the Franciscans had incurred with his predecessor in 1876.40

This harmonious relationship lasted until June of 1883, when the bishop became aware that a group of people in Santa Barbara was sponsoring a fair to raise funds fοr the friars without episcopal authorization. [p.276]*

The Prelate’s Coach

One of the most interesting mementos displayed in the Historical Museum attached to the Archival Center for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is a model of the stagecoach given to and used by the Right Reverend Francis Mora, Bishop 0f Monterey-Los Αngeles by the legendary Phineas T Banning (1830-1885).

Historians can testify that the early stage coaches used in Southern California were seldom the freshly-painted concords drawn by six spirited horses and driven by a perfect reinsman. Passengers were carted about in those pioneering times by converted army ambulances, mud wagons or stages. The only common denominator was the motive power of horses or mules.

Horace Bell described a ride he took in October of 1852 from the landing at Sαn Pedro to El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora de los Αngeles: “At San Pedro we found two stages of the old army ambulance pattern, to which were being harnessed as vicious a looking herd of broncho mules as ever kicked the brains out of a gringo.”

Finally the stages were ready and we were invited to get in. Α sailor-looking fellow, who seemed to be at least half-seas-over, sat on the driver’s seat and held the lines together in both hands, while two savage-looking Mexicans, mounted on horses which would have vied with the famous steed of Mazeppa, stood with lassoes tightly drawn on the leading mules to guide center, while two others stood in flanking position with their riates ready to be used as whips to urge the animals forward.

When all hands were seated, (Phineas) Banning, the operator of the line, offered to each of the passengers an ominous black bottle, remarking, ‘Gentlemen, there is no water between here and Los Angeles.’

‘Suelto carajo!’ shouts the Mexican ‘major-domo and sure enough it was let loose and away we went. Of all the rattling of harnesses, kicking, bucking, pulling, lashing and swearing, the twelve broncho mules, the two half-drunk sailors drivers, and the six Mexican conductors with their chief, the majordomo, they did the most.

in December of 1854, Phineas Banning, hoping to gain publicity and financing for an improved roadway to the north, drove a concord stage and nine passengers over the treacherous Sαn Fernando range. Fortunately he and his passengers emerged safely.

The model of Bishop Mora’s stage is a fairly good miniature reproduction, complete with the prelate’s coat-of-arms. Though it bears the designation, Obispado de Ambas CaliforτΡτΡias, the original coach was built only in 1854 by the Abbott, Downing Company of Concord, New Hampshire.

It was later used by the California Stage Company on its overland routes. There was room for ten passengers inside, with others on top alongside the driver who handled the reins for the horses. It is not known whatever became of Mora’s historic vehicle. Perhaps one day it will emerge from the shadows of an old country barn. Until then, the little model will serve to recall the chief means of transportation used in an earlier day by the Bishop of Monterey-Los Αngeles.

 [p.277] Though the local superior, Father Jοsé Maria Rοmο,41 disclaimed any previous knowledge of the pending event, Mora was apparently convinced that the three-day entertainment was “premeditated...if not pro-moted”42 by the Franciscans. In addition, the bishop had been told that two of the friars had publicly complained about the lack of compensation they received from the parishes to which they were assigned.43 Mora maintained that such statements, in addition to being untrue, reflected poorly on the diocese and demanded reparation and restitution. Two of the friars44 were suspended by the bishop and ordered to withdraw from their duties at La Patera (Goleta), Montecito, and Carpinteria. Mora then informed Romo that the matter would be referred to the Holy See for further action.

The question of support for the Mendicants had long been a point of disagreement. Bishop Thaddeus Amat had consistently refused to let the friars solicit throughout the diocese, mostly, he said, because of the objection raised by his own clergy. In one heated exchange, Amat informed the Holy See that he would not turn over the city parish of Santa Barbara to the friars unless so ordered directly by Rome, in which case, he noted, they could have the whole diocese. In conveying this message to Archbishop Joseph Sadoc Alemany of San Francisco, Mora had stated his own views by noting that this position was one in which “I concur with his Lordship.”45

Upon the advice of Alemany, Romo appealed to the Franciscan Minister General, the Most Reverend Bernardino a Porto Romantino. The reply favored the bishop, however, inasmuch as a fαίr was thought to be an unusual manner of collecting funds. Romo was told to express his regrets to Mora and to seek reinstatement of the suspended priests after conveying their apologies to the bishop.

Though he was anything but a vindictive man, Mora felt that “before God and his conscience could repair the damage and scandal which had spread through nearly the whole diocese,”46 some manner of public expression should be made. Subsequently, the manner was resolved by a statement from Romo which appeared daily for a week in the local press. Therein Romo acknowledged a lack of judgement in not stopping the proposed fαίr “thinking that, by virtue of our privilege, as Mendicant Friars, neither the Bishop nor the Pastor had any right to interfere.”47

In other dealings between the Franciscans and Bishop Mora, there was evidence of greater cordiality. For example, shortly after the friars in California had aligned themselves with the eastern Province of the Sacred Heart,48 the Franciscans, on their own initiative, invested a large [p.278] DIOCESE OF MONTEREY-LOS ANGELES

















1891 l     1892





Diocesan Ñríests














56  50





Religious ñríests














18  18





Churches with Pastors














40  40





Miôôions with Churches (Chapels)














20, 20



















30 i 30



















9      9





Colleges and Academìes for Boys














2      2





Academies for Girls



7 1   7










9      9





Ñárochíal Schools



9      9










14  14


12 13
















5:    5


8     7
















6001 600


1,000 1,000


Ôóbcl School Children

















3,476 4,443



















3     3


Caéholic Ñïñulatiïð

















80,000 50,000



amount of money expanding Saint Francis Orphanage and Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in the Pajaro Valley.

In November of 1892, the Master General of the Order of Friars Minor, the Very Reverend Michael Richardt, wrote to the Bishop of Monterey-Los Angeles about the possibility of allowing certain exiled friars from Mexico to establish a novitiate at Santa Barbara. Mora was not altogether opposed to the plan but suggested San Luis Rey as a more practical site for such a foundation. This alternate proposal was acceptable and on May 12, 1893, San Luis Rey became the novitiate for all the Apostolic Colleges of Mexico.49 Eventually, through the bishop’s intervention, the necessary sanctions were obtained from Rome formally to launch a canonical novitiate at the old mission.50

During these negotiations Mora asked the friars to assume charge of the already established Parish of Saint Jοseph51 in Los Angeles. Father Richardt notified the bishop of his Chapter’s approval early in 1893 and on the following September 4th, Miecislas Cardinal Ledochowski, on behalf of the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda Fide, signed the documents handing over the predominately German-speaking parish to the Friars Minor.

Joseph Mesmer noted in later years that “Bishop Mora was a most methodical and very capable business man.” The pioneer Californian went on to say that “only one who had the confidence of Bishop Mora as I had, could have any idea of the nerve-racking trials and hardships that these earlier bishops.. .underwent.”52

When the bishop succeeded to the See in 1878,53 there was an indebtedness of $75,000 on the diocese. In addition, the creditors were demanding annual interest payments of 10% on the debt.54 Economic conditions were further strained in 1877 when Monterey-Los Angeles was dropped from the list of dioceses financially assisted by the Societe de Propagation de la Foi.55 There were other problems of a similar nature confronting Mora. Though the jurisdiction had considerable land holdings, the titles were often clouded and “the more the Bishop delved into these legal matters, the more entanglements he found in order to clear the titles. His predecessor believed that church properties were sacred and, therefore, immune from attack of ownership.”56 Mora’s determination to correct injustices forced him to borrow large sums for legal fees.

Immigration also presented difficulties, for ever growing numbers of people demanded expanded facilities. The Sacred Congregation of Propaganda Fide was constantly badgering Mora to enlarge his school [p.280] system though the prelate answered that his people’s poverty and oppressive taxation made such additional institutions wholly impractical at the time.S7 The congregation was not impressed with bra’s reaction and, early in 1891, took the extreme measure of depriving him of the financial administration of the diocese. He was forbidden to alienate property or incur new debts without special permission from the Holy See.58

The bishop angrily replied that the Church’s financial situation in Southern California had been misrepresented by certain “American Bishops” hostile to his alien background. He told the cardinal prefect that without authority to sell property, he would be unable to pay the annual taxes, a factor which would further complicate the already unhappy situation.

Giovanni Cardinal Simenni, the Prefect of Rome’s Sacred Congregation of Propaganda Fide, sought advice from others about the matter. One of those questioned was the Right Reverend Peter Verdaguer,59 Vicar Apostolic of Brownsville. Verdaguer felt that curtailment of bra’s authority to alienate property would only aggravate the problem. He also concurred with bra’s explanation about the extreme poverty of the Catholics in the widely scattered jurisdiction. The vicar thought that matters would straighten out of themselves with the advent of additional immigrants from the east.

The members of the congregation seemed satisfied with their inquiry. On August 29, 1891, Mora ‘vas advised by Cardinal Simeoni6° that the ban against alienation had been lifted, although Propaganda Fide reserved the right to review any major financial involvements contemplated by the Bishop of Monterey-Los Angeles. At the time of bra’s retirement, his successor found the See in reasonably sound condition, at least in comparison to the needs of other equally outstreched jurisdictions. By then, there were seventy-six priests (diocesan and regular), seventy-two parishes and missions, seven orphanages, three hospitals, two colleges, nine girls’ academies, and thirteen parochial schools to serve a Catholic population of 50,000. Nuns from ten different religious communities who staffed the schools and other institutions of the diocese numbered 183.


The shaky economic status of the Diocese of Monterey-Los Angeles was reflected in the bishop’s inability to expand the school system as rapidly as the Holy See wished. Three years after his accession, Mora reported that the ever-increasing immigration to California had not [p.282] strengthened the Church proportionately, since most of the newcomers were non-Catholics. For example, he noted that of the 13,000 people in the originally Catholic settlement of Los Angeles, only 5,000 were members of the Church, and many of these were non-practicing. In 1878, there were nine parochial schools and six academies fοr girls in the entire jurisdiction.

Notwithstanding the overwhelming difficulties he faced in his eighteen years as ordinary, bra’s progress in educational expansion is quite impressive. By the time of his resignation in 1896, 4,343 children, 8.68% of the Catholic population of the diocese, were receiving church-oriented education.

Immaculate Heart Sisters

Shortly after assuming the title of the diocese in his own name, Bishop Mora authorized the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to close the day and boarding school at San Juan Bautista in order to concentrate full attention on their orphanage there. Two years later, on August 19, 1880, Mora blessed the new convent and school erected by Mrs. Catherine Quinn61 fοr the Immaculate Heart Sisters. Boarding accommodations were added at a later date.

Immaculate Heart Academy had been in operation at San Luis Obispo since 1876, mostly with the assistance of the then Coadjutor Bishop Mora. Almost a decade later, in 1884, the Catholics of the area raised funds fοr a boys’ school which opened in the summer of 1885 in a small frame structure constructed on the convent grounds. With the bishop’s permission, the Sisters had moved their novitiate from San Juan Bautista to San Luis Obispo in July of 1878

, and erected there a lovely new community chapel in 1882.62

Α school fοr Saint Vibiana’s Cathedral in Los Αngeles was envisioned as early as 1882, and, in the fall of 1884, Bishop Mora announced a drive for the necessary funds. Since the building was completed late the following year, the school opened on January 4, 1886, with an attendance of 250 pupils.63

Facilities at San Juan Bautista were expanded in 1887 to allow fοr a boys’ school in addition to the already existing orphanage. When a severe earthquake on April 24, 1890 demolished the large, red brick building housing the orphans, Mora arranged fοr the structure to be rebuilt with diocesan funds.

The added responsibilities of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart necessitated an ever-increasing personnel, a fact which Mora saw illus-  [p.283] trated in 1888 when Sacred Heart School at Hollister, only a year and a half after its inauguration, was forced to close for lack of teachers. Additional curtailment was necessary in August of 1888, when Mora authorized the closing of Immaculate Heart School at Gilroy because the supply of teachers was insufficient to care for the large number of schools.64

Bishop Mora was of the opinion that moving the headquarters of the community to Los Angeles would facilitate its many-phased activities. On June 30, 1886, the prelate purchased four lots on the corner of Tenth Street and Union Avenue for Sisters’ eventual use. In the meantime, he allowed the nuns to use their residence at the cathedral as a novitiate. The previously designated property was never used and on May 28, 1889, Mora gave permission to the Sisters “to erect in Los Angeles at their own expense or with donations from friends a convent for the purpose of novitiate, day school, and boarding school, or all three together, the legal title to be vested in them.”65 Mother Raimunda Cremadell then purchased a five acre section of the Schumacher tract on West Pico Street and began erection of the new Immaculate Heart Academy. The new edifice was blessed by Bishop Mora on March 30, 1890.

The Dominican Sisters

The first foundation of the Dominican Sisters of Mission San José in the southland was made at Anaheim in 1889. A three-story brick structure was blessed by Bishop Francis Mora on March 19, 1889,66 and the new Saint Catherine’s School commenced on the 25th of that month, to which an orphanage was added in 1893.

In 1890 the Sisters were asked to open a parochial school in Sacred Heart Parish in Los Angeles. The institution began operation on August 17, 1890. The work of the Congregation was again expanded in 1892 when they took charge of St. Joseph’s school.

Saint Joseph of Carondelet Sisters

The Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet made their initial foundation of the Diocese of Monterey-Los Angeles at San Diego on April 18, 1882, when they inaugurated their day school in a small frame house on a terrace overlooking the bay.67 Two years later the school was moved and the nuns “opened the Academy of Our Lady of Peace in 1884, in a building erected by Mr. Hortonó8 on block 12 of this addition...”69

Early in 1889, the Sisters came to Los Angeles and within a short time had in operation Saint Mary’s Academy, about a block from Saint [p.285] Vincent’s College. Originally commenced as a parochial school, the institution later became an academy and boarding schoo1.70

In April of 1886, the Sisters of Saint Joseph agreed to operate the government school at Fort Vuma, which continued until their withdrawal in 1900.71 Saint Anthony’s Indian School at San Diego was inaugurated in 1887 in two large frame buildings on the site of the old San Diego de Αlcal Mission. A visitor to the area noted that “San Diego only perserves a few ruins of its old greatness, but an Indian boarding school on the mission grounds maintains its old traditions.72

Saint Boniface Indian School in Banning was originally built by the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions with money donated by Mother Katherine Drexe1.73 When plans to staff the institution with Benedictines from Pennsylvania failed to materialize, the Sisters of Saint Joseph took charge αnd opened the school on September 1, 1890.

Holy Name Sisters

In November of 1889, the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus αnd Mary extended their work to Southern California by opening their first convent on acreage made available by James de Barth Shοrb,7`1 near present-day Alhambra. A boarding school was envisioned, and on January 15, 1890, the new institution was blessed by Bishop Francis Mora. A contemporary newspaper account noted that Ramona Convent was “a beautiful Christian home (for Protestants and Catholics) where young ladies” were educated amidst artistic surroundings.75

Holy Cross Sisters

The Holy Cross Sisters arrived in Fresno on November 13, 1893 to inaugurate their educational apostolate in the southland and on January 5, 1894, a select school for boarders and day scholars, called St. Augustine’s Academy, for young ladies of all creeds in the San Joaquin Valley, was opened with fourteen pupils in attendance.

Daughters of Charity

Though they had operated schools within their own institutions, the Daughters of Charity have mostly confined their activities in Southern California to hospitals and orphanages. On February 9, 1889, the cornerstone for a new building on a twelve acre plot of land on Boyle Avenue, about half a mile south of First Street, was set in place. The completed Catholic Orphan Asylum was dedicated by Bishop Francis Mora on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 1891. [p.286] Small though the diocesan system was, by 1889 the program was capable of accommodating all youngsters interested in obtaining a Catholic education. For that reason, in the fourth Synod of the Diocese of Monterey-Los Angeles, held in July of that year, Bishop Mora directed that “all Catholic parents must send their children to parochial schools, unless at hone or in other Catholic schools (e.g. academies), they are sufficiently informed or, if for a cause judged worthy by the bishop, and with remedial compensations observed, they are allowed to send them elsewhere.76

Appointment of a Coadjutor

Never a man of robust health, Bishop Mora nonetheless exhibited only the ordinary ailments prior to the serious carriage accident he sustained in the early summer of 1882.77 According to the meagre sources available about the incident, the bishop was on his annual pastoral visitation to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation in the scattered parishes of the diocese. He was no stranger to discomforts on these long journeys over the rough and unproven roads linking the population centers of Southern California. Μοrα interrupted his tour to confirm a bedridden Indian woman78 in the backwoods area outside San Bernardino.79 On his return trip, the insecurely fastened seat on the spring wagon, apparently jolted loose and spilled the prelate backwards off the carriage. So severely was his spine wrenched that Mora lay unconscious for some hours until a passerby carne on the accident. Even then, as Bishop Montgomery later related, the injured prelate “lay in an Indian hut without receiving any care”80 for a number of days after the accident.

The bishop’s recovery was slow and incomplete. In a letter to a friend two months after the accident, the Southern California prelate noted:

Today I said Mass for the second time, but with difficulty because of the weakness of my legs. My head is a little better, thanks be to God, but my hearing and my nose are not functioning properly.81

Though he was able to resume many of the burdensome duties of his office after several months of pain and suffering,82 it was evident enough that he never fully recovered from the effects of the fa1183 which continued to plague him the rest of his life.

Late in 1888, Archbishop Patrick W. Ríordan,84 Alemany’s successor at San Francisco, informed the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda Fide that appointment of a coadjutor for the ailing Μοrα would alleviate the more pressing problems then facing the Diocese of Monterey-Los Angeles. A few months later, the Holy See advised Μοrα that “your dio-  [p.287]*

cese is too large and the number of inhabitants increases daily, so that it is extremely difficult to see how one person, however industrious, can effectively provide for the demands and necessities of the Church.”85

The Bishop of Monterey-Los Angeles welcomed the proposal for a coadjutor and immediately suggested for the position his Vicar General, Father Joachim Adam.86 Giovanni Cardinal Simeoni, the Prefect of Propaganda Fide, then wrote to Archbishop Riordan for the metropolitan’s appraisal of the candidate. Riordan acknowledged that the priests of the southern jurisdiction, if asked, “would overwhelmingly prefer Adam,” but he felt that, in many ways, the Vicar General was “wholly unfit to be made a Bishop.” He enumerated the advantages of appointing a man “rather young in age but endowed with talent, energy, and strength of character so as to be able to infuse vitality into that diocese which is presently weak and infirm.” In the archbishop’s opinion, a “strong, active, energetic Bishop, who has good use of the English language” was needed in the southland.87

The cardinal then directed Mora to submit the formal terna of candidates. Such a list was drafted by the diocesan consultors and listed in order: Fathers Joachim Adam, Polydore Stοckman,88 and Laurence Serda.89 These names were forwarded to San Francisco where the four bishops of the province, in September of 1889, put aside the last two names and substituted Fathers Edward Dunne90 and Geroge T. Montgomery.91 Riordan agreed to leave Adam’s name at the head of the list, apparently as a concession to induce Bishop Mora to allow his jurisdiction to be split into smaller sections.92

Upon receipt of the terna in Rome, the cardinal prefect decided to appoint a commission to examine the entire question. After a diligent investigation Father Aloysius Meyer, C.M., recommended immediate appointment of a coadjutor. On the other hand, Father Kilian Schloesser, Ο.F.M.,93 advised against both a coadjutor and a division of the diocese. After weighing the evidence, the Roman officials of the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda Fide sided with Schloesser and ruled, on February 23, 1891, to abide by the geographical status quo in the Diocese of Monterey-Los Angeles.

The matter of a coadjutor was held in abeyance for two more years. In the meantime, the physical condition of the bishop deteriorated considerably and in January of 1893, Mora reopened the question of his succession by flatly asking the cardinal prefect to accept his resignation. San Francisco’s Catholic press commented later that Mora “stated that his health became so poor (about fourteen months ago) that he found it nec-  [p.288] CLERGY OF THE MONTEREY-LOS ANGELES DIOCESE II é*[p.878]*

1’ja,ne                Date of ÏrdinationorArriiál Death

ô. Rev. Joachim Adam Came on December 2, 1863      July 31, 1907

2.                Rev. Valentine Aguilera Ordained June 29, 1872....February 24, 1908

3.                Rev. Francis Alvarez, Ï.S.F Caine in 1872       July io, 1897

4.                Rev. Doroteo Ambris Ordained January ô, 1846. February 5, 1883

5.                Rev. Joachim Bot Ordained June 29, 1862      August 13, 1903

6.                Rev. Peter Carrasco Ordained March 12, 1876 ....March 27, 1924

7.                Rev. Angel Cassanova Came in 1860.... March ii, 1893

8.                Rev. Valentine Closa Came September 30, 1870    March 9, é9é6

9.                Rev. Francis Codina, Ï.S.F.... Cane in August, 1860       Left in 1887

io. Reí. Hugh Curran Came October 16, 1866 ...November 29, 1917

ax. Rev. Denis Delaney, CM Ordained August 12, 1877. December 22, 1884

12.             Rev. Michael Duran ... Came in 1860.... October 29, 1889

13.             Rev. Philip Farrely Came October 24, 1868    May 16, 1916

14.             Rev. Victor Fauron...... Came in 1872.... January of 1887

15.             Rev. Joseph Galera Caine in May, 1873  November 14, 1878

s6. Råí. Bernard Gelss Came December 9, 1874   June 8, é890

17.             Rev. Joseph Godiol, O.S.F.....Ordained 1856  October 30, 1901

18.             Rev. Patrick Hasve Came September 25, 1872....August 30, 1923

19.             Rev. Thomas Hudson Came October 14, 1864 June io, 1907

20.             Rev. Michael Lynch Came October 3, 1872    August ii, 1903

z1. Rev. Michael Mfahony Came October 16, 1866      June 24, 1901

22.             Rev. Martin Marron Ordained March 12, 1876        March ô6, 1905

23.             Rt. Rev. Francis Mora Ordained March 19, é856....August 3, 1905

24.             Rev. Joseph but Ordained June 29, 1S62 October r, 1889

25.             Råí. Hugh I’fciamee Came September 27, 1573.... October 3, 1902

26.             Rev. Maurice O’Brien, C.M Came in 1866      October 22, 1890

27.             Rev. John O’Donnell... Came in 1877.... Left December 21, 1880

28.             Rev. John Pujol Came September 30, 1870.. October 30, 1921

29.             Rev. Michael Richardson, C.M Ordained June 26, 1869 .. December 8, 1920

0.               Adm. Rev. Joseph Romo, O.S.F Came in 1872        circa 1891

30.             Rev. Apollinaris Roussel Came in 1857    January 25, 1891

31.             Adm. Rev. Michael Rubi, C.M.. Ordained March 25, 1855   October 8, 1907

32.             Rev. Cyprian Rubio Ordained March 19, 1556.... August 15, 1905

33.             Rev. Francis Sanchez, O.S.F... Ordained in 1838    April 7, 1884

34.             Rev. Cornelius Scannell  Caine December io, 1S70....October ô, 1913

35.             Rev. Frederic Schots, O.S.F...............

36.             Adm. Rev. Cajetan Sorrentini Came in 1354   June 30, 1893

37.             Rev. Polydore Stockman Came ín December, 1873       July 16, 1924

38.             Rev. Anthony Ubach Ordained in March, 1860       March 26, 1907

39.             Rev. Peter Verdaguer Ordained June 29, 1862..      October 26, 1911

Rev. James Vila      Ordained in 1355    October 20, 1895 [p.289] Text Box: é 
essary to apply to the Holy See fοr leave to resign. In answer to this, the Cardinal of the Propaganda wrote and said it was not necessary for him to do so and suggested that he take a coadjutor.”94

Mora agreed to Miecislas Cardinal Ledochowskí’s counter-proposal. Though he still preferred the appointment of a Spanish-speaking priest, Mora finally decided to accept the candidate backed by Archbishop Patrica W. Riordan. In August of 1893 the consultors of the diocese drew up a teimz comprised of the names of George T. Montgomery,95 Thomas Grace and William O’Connor.96 The list was countersigned at San Francisco and forwarded to Rome where the Sacred Congregation formally recommended George Montgomery to the Holy Father on December 18, 1893. Leo XIΙΙ sanctioned the nomination on January 26, 1894, naming the forty-six year old priest to the titular see of Thmuis.97


‘Pastoral hastruction of the Rt. Rey. Francis Mora (Los Angeles, *[p.188]**[p.1]*), μ. *[p.11]*.
2Sirneoni elaborated on his views in later correspondence.
Cf. AALA, Giovanni
Simeoni to Francis Mora, October *[p.24]*, *[p.188]**[p.2]* and November *[p.20]*, *[p.188]**[p.2]*.

3Τhe bishop’s residence was now at the cathedral where he moved into the newly constructed rectory in 1878.

`+Julia N. McCorckle, “A History of Los Angeles Journalism,” Historical Society of Southern California Annual X (1915-1916), 24.

5Canadian-born James McGee (d. 1922) had formerly been in the lumber business in Wisconsin.

6λpollinaris W Baumgartner, Catholic jounialisnt (New York, 1931), μ. 42. 7December, 1888.

8E\ veteran journalist, Harrington also founded the Pacific Catholic at San Francisco in 1884 as a journal “devoted to the achievement of the interests of Catholic young people and Catholic associations on the Pacific Coast.” Cf. Francis J. Weber, A Select Guide to California Catholic History (Los Angeles, 1966), p. 139.

9French-born Charles Tanquerey (1842-1893) was a brother of the renowned Sulμiciarι theologian.

10The Tidings, June 3, 1899. John J. Bodkin (1841-1918), a native of Ireland, came to California in 1875 where he spent his early years traveling in the interest of securing subscriptions and advertisements fοr the California Catholic.

1 Τhe Tidings, June 3, 1899.

1216íd., September 4, 1931. [p.290] 13Jοseph Mesmer (1855-1947) operated the legendary Queen Boot and Shoe Store in the old United States Hotel Building on North Main Street. It was the first business of its kind west of the Mississippi River.

14Robertson was selected to act as editor of the new publication.

15ιsidοre B. Dockweiler (1867-1947), a prominent figure in the Democratic Party, received, in 1902, a plurality of votes for the post of Lieutenant Governor of California but lost the race on a technicality.

160 Amigos dos Catolicos had been established at Irvington in 1888 by Manuel Fernandez and Jose Tevares.

17Francis J. Weber, A Select Guide to California Catholic History (Los Angeles, 1966), μ. 140.

180ne authority suggests that the founder of this journal was the VV. D. S. Harrington referred to in Note 45. Cf. Eugene P. Willging and Herta Hatzfeld, Catholic Serials of the Nineteenth Ce um), in the United States (Washington, 1964), p• 18.

19Ρatrick W. Crooke (1864-1958), a native of Utica, New York, came west in 1889. He devoted considerable time to the publication of the descriptive booklets about the States of Washington and Oregon.

220James Connolly was a retired sea-captain “‘ho had written a number of stories for children.

J1By profession, Kate Murphy was a typographer. She resigned her position with the Catholic Tidings in November of 1897 preparatory to her marriage.

22Cf. Francis J. Weber, “Tidings Will be 70 Years Old Next Tuesday,” The Tidings, June 25, 1965.

23Francis J. Weber, Ceorge Thomas Montgomery, California Churchman (Los Angeles, 1966), μ. 12.

2`ICathοlic Tidings, June 29, 1895.

2511íd., January 12, 1901.

26Τhe Tidings, January 23, 1897. Mora had also provided cemeteries at Santa Cruz (1873), Castroville (1875), Salinas (1875), San Luis Obispo (1879) and Fresno (1885), in addition to the numerous parochial burial grounds scattered about the diocese.

27Ιbid., September 28, 1895.

28Ιύid., October 5, 1895.

29Los Angeles Herald, February 18, 1896.

30The Tidings, January 23, 1897. Burials in the old cemetery were suspended in 1910 by order of the City Council though few internments had been made there since November of 1896.

31/did., September 12, 1896.

32Henry F. Bowers (1837-1911), a Maryland-born lawyer, is credited with inaugurating the first organized movement against the Catholic Church since the Civil War. [p.291] 33Cf. The Congressional Record, October 31, 1893. Quoted in Michael Williams The Shadow of the Pope (New York, 1932), p. 104.

34Ôhe Tidings, September 4, 1931.


3611,14. October 24, 1896.

37This was a paraphrase of Matthew, 5, 17. “For he makes his sun rise upon evil men as well as good, and he sends his rain upon honest and dishonest men alike.”

38The Tidings, October 24, 1896.

39Ìáynárd J. Geiger, O.F.M., “The Apostolic College of Our Lady of Sorrows,

Santa Barbara, California (1853-1885),” ProvinciaÉënmßésXVIl (July, 1954), 4. 40Though at first denied, permission was finally given by Govianni Cardinal

Simeoni in 1885.

41Áfter the dissolution of the Apostolic College at Santa Barbara, Father Romo (1826-1890) went to the Moly Lands. He died in Alexandria, Egypt.

42Santa Barbara Mission Archives, Francis Mora to José Rimo, O.F.M., Watsonville, June 8, 1883.

43There were other areas of friction. For example, Bishop Mora was incensed

over Romo’s public blessing of a bell for the mission tower on December 2,

1883. The prelate felt that such blessings were “reserved” to the local ordinary. 44Vg., José Godiol and Bonaventure Fox.

45Santa Barbara Mission Archives, Francis Mora to Joseph Sadoc Alemany, O.Ñ., Los Angeles, November 27, 1877.

46Éýßd., Francis Mora to José Romo, OEM., Los Angeles, December 17, 1883. 47Santa Barbara Free Press January 24, 1884.

480n May 5, 1885, Pope Leo XII “issued a decree declaring the Apostolic College of Our Lady of Sorrows abolished and annexing the institution as a monastery of the eastern American province.” Cf. Maynard J. Geiger, O.F.M., Santa Barbara Mission, 1782-1965 (Santa Barbara, 1965), ì. 203.

49On that sane day, the restored mission church was dedicated by Bishop Francis Mora. Cf. Cataalogôés Provincae (1943), p. 12. Mission San Luis Rey was itself annexed to the Province of the Sacred Heart on July 24, 1912. Cf. Marion A. Habig, OEM., Heralds of the King (Chicago, 1958), ì. 245.

50Zephyrin Engelhardt, OEM., San Luis Rey Mission (San Francisco, 1921), ì. 243

51The parish had been founded in 1888 by the Reverend J. Florian Bartsch. Cf. Golden Jubilee of St. Joseph’s Church, Los Angeles, California, 1903-1953 (Los Angeles, 1953).

52The Tidings, September 4, 1931.

53Bishop Thaddeus Agnat had signed over all the diocesan holdings to Mora on May 3, 1876. [p.292] History *[p.0]*f the Catholic Church in Southern California — *[p.184]**[p.0]*-*[p.194]**[p.7] 54ΑΑLΑ, Francis Mora to Propagation de la Foi. Los Angeles, July 2, 1878. “Theodore Roemer, O.EM, Cap., Ten Decades of Alms (Saint Louis, 1942), p.

175. Between 1849 and 1877 the diocese received $99,800 from the Lyons-

Paris office of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. Cf. Edward John

Hickey, The Society for the Propagation of the Faith (Washington, 1922), p. 188. 56The Tidings, September 4, 1931. Interview with Joseph Mesmer.

57The priest’s salary, for example, was fixed at $12 per month when finances so allowed.

58ΑΑLΑ, Giovanni Simeoni to Francis Mora, Rome, March 21, 1891.

59Giovanni Simeoni to Peter Verdaguer, Rome, April 14, 1891. For this reference the author is indebted to the Reverend James P. Gaffey who made available his thesis on “The Life of the Most Reverend Patrick William Riordan, Second Archbishop of San Francisco, 1841-1914,” (Washington, 1965), Pp. 250-251. Peter Verdaguer (1835-1911) was ordained on December 12, 1862 for service in the Diocese of Monterey-Los Angeles. He was named to the Vicariate Apostolic of Brownsville on July 25, 1890.

60ΑΑ Α, Giovanni Simeoni, to Francis Mora, Rome, August 29, 1891. 61Catherine Quinn and her husgand, Aeneas, operated a general merchandise store in San Bernardino at the corner of D Street and Fourth.

62Τhe Τidńngs, June 17, 1921.

G3Los Angeles Evening Express, January 7, 1886.

64Sister Mary Reginald Baggot, I.H.M., “The California Institute of the Sisters of the Most Holy and Immιculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary” (Los Angeles, 1937), p. 31.

65Ibid., p. 120.

66Cf. Historical Sketch of the Dominican Congregation of the Queen of the Holy Rosary (San Jose, 1926).

67Sister Mary Lucida Savage, C.S.J., The Congregation of Saint Joseph of Carindelet (Saint Louis, 1923), p. 263.

68Αlonzo Erastus Horton is credited with the founding of modern-day San Diego.

G9William E. Smythe, History of San Diego, 1542-1907 (San Diego, 1907), p. 324. 70Sister Ann Cecilia Smith, C.S.J., “Educational Activities of the Sisters of Saint

Joseph of Carondelet in the Western Province from 1870 to 1903,”

(Washington, 1953), Pp. 59ff.

71This is not the same as Sacred Heart School at Yuma, Arizona.

72Bryan J. Clinch, California and Its Missions (San Francisco, 1904), II, 530. 73Mary Katherine Drexel (1858-1955) had inherited her father’s vast fortune in 1885 and this she devoted to the foundation and development of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. She built sixty-three schools throughout the country including Xavier University in New Orleans. [p.293] 744James de Barth Shorb was born in Maryland. He came to California in 1864 and three years later married Marié Jesus Wilson, son of Don Benito. He died in 1896, four years after his election as Los Angeles County Treasurer.

75Los Angeles Times, January 30, 1890.

76Francis Mora, Constitutiones Lntne et Promulgate (Los Αngeles, 1889), p. 30. 77ÁALA, Joseph Sadoc Alemany, O.P., to Francis Mora, San Francisco, June 16, 1882.

78Τhe Tidings, March 2, 1906.

79Ιnter iew with Joseph Mesmer, The Tidings, September 4, 1931. Another source

reports that the prelate and Father Peter Carrasco were injured by the breaking

of a wagon near Hanford. Cf. Sπλlieτ’.ι Githolíc Directory (New York, 1883), p. 51. 80William Hughes in The Tidings, December 16, 1910.

81Santa Barbara Mission Archives, Francis Mora to José Romo, O.F.M., Los Angeles, August 27, 1882.

82Intewiew with Joseph Mesmer, The Tidings, September 4, 1931.

83The Tidings, August 6, 1898.

8}Patrick William Riordan (1841-1914) became Archbishop of San Francisco upon the resignation of Joseph Sadoc Alemany, O.P. Before coming to the Bay City, he had been Pastor of Saint James Church, Chicago.

85AALA, Giovanni Simeoni to Francis Mora, Rome, February 18, 1889.

86Father Adam (1837-1907) had only recently refuest the Vicariate Apostolic of Brownsvi Ile.

S7Ρatrick W. Riordan to Giovanni Simeoni, San Francisco, June 1, 1889. Quoted in James P. Coffey, op. cit., Pp. 242-243.

δ8Stockman (1843-1924) was the Pastor of Saint Bernardine Parish, San Bernardino.

89Serda (1843-1924) was Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Oakland, a position he continued to hold until 1917.

90Dunne, a cousin of Archbishop Riordan, was Pastor of All Saints Church, Chicago.

91George Thomas Montgomery (1847-1907) was the only westerner ever nomi-noted by Riorclan for the episcopate.

η2Patrick W Riordan told Mora that “the Bishops were of the opinion that the line should be drawn north of Santa Barbara County and south of Kern County and south from San Bernardino.” Cf. AALA, Patrick W. Riordan to Francis Mora, San Francisco, February 24, 1890.

93German-born Aloysius Meyer, C.I. (1839-1898) was the highly respected

President of Saint Vincent’s College and Pastor of the local Lazarist parish. 94Kilian Schloesser, O.F.M. (1826-1904) was appointed superior at Santa Barbara

in 1888. [p.294]

95San Francisco Μοnitοτ; May 5, 1894.

Irish-born Thomas Grace (1841-1921) was consecrated Bishop of Sacramento

on June 16, 1896.

96William B. O’Connor (1841-1910), a close personal friend of Archbishop

Riordan, was Pastor at Stockton.

97Cf. Francis J. Weber, George Thomas Montgomery, California Churchman (Los

Angeles, 1966) for particulars. [p.295]

[23] Resignation, Departure and Epilogue

Soon after the arrival 0f Coadjutor Bishop Montgomery, Mora was taken on an extended vacation to Europe by Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Delano of Redondo. The prelate and his hosts left Los Angeles in November of 1894, and, after a brief stay in New York, took passage on the steamer Fulda for Naples. At Rome the bishop was cordially received by Pope Leo XIΙΙ. Hoping to regain his failing health, Μοrα spent two weeks west of the Alps and then travelled on to Lyons for Christmas which he spent with some distant relatives.

At the personal request of the pontiff, Bishop Μοrα rested in Barcelona for six additional months. Late in June he rejoined the Delanos at Madrid and journeyed north through Lourdes, Paris, and London to Southhampton where they sailed for America on July 6. The prelate arrived back in the southland late in the summer.

When it became evident that his health showed no appreciable signs of improvement, Bishop Mora dispatched a letter to the Holy Father, dated February 1, 1896, asking to be relieved of his burdensome duties. On May 16, Cardinal Ledochowski notified the prelate that the matter had been decided in Mora’s favor when presented to Pope Leo on March 13, 1896.1 A subsequent letter from Cajetan Cardinal De Ruggieno, dated May 6th, informed Mora of his transfer to the titular See of Hierapolis in Phrygia.2

Though he personally maintained that retirement would “be for the greater glory of God and the good of my heretofore diocesans,”3 that sentiment was not voiced by those who shared the opinion that:

The history of the beloved Bishop is that of Southern California, [p.296] Text Box: 1
and his two-score years of labor in the Master’s cause have witnessed and been instrumental in bringing about the phenomenal advance of the diocese from a few sparsely settled parishes to the 60,000 Catholic population and forty-two parishes now included in the province.4

Though his coadjutor automatically became the residential ordinary at the time of his retirement, Bishop Mora felt that a formal installation would be in order for Bishop Montgomery. The function was scheduled fοr September 8, 1896. Saint Víbiana’s Cathedral was packed as never before when Father Peter C. Yorke stepped5 into the pulpit to tell the southland’s Catholics that it was their new ordinary’s “privilege to take possession of the foundation which has been laid so broad and deep by his predecessors.


At a public reception held for the prelate prior to his departure for Spain, Isidore B. Dockweiler,7 prominent Los Angeles attorney, told the bishop:

We doubt not, but that when back again in the land that proudly boasts of Ferdinand and Isabella, you will, often and anon, in reverie recount your adventures in our land; remember your privations; your hardships; toils; your years of arduous labor; your administration as a priest; your government as a Bishop.8

Speaking on behalf of the clergy, Father Joachim Adam, the Vicar General, noted that Mora’s maxim has been “to conquer by kindness rather than by rigor” noting that if any fault could be found, it would be that sometimes he had been “too lenient— too forgiving to those who erred.”9

Bishop Mora’s response to the tributes reflected his own simplicity. He made known his sorrow at leaving his post, but explained that his voluntary resignation was necessitated by his physical infirmities which, in conscience, he could no longer conceal. As fοr his contribution to the growth of the Church in Southern California, the bishop thought the faithful had overestimated his “share in the work that has been done.... Let it all be attributed to Almighty God, the Giver of Gifts, fοr whom I have ever worked.”10

The last Mass offered by the prelate in the Golden State was celebrated the day following the civic reception, Sunday, October 25, 1896, at the convent chapel of the Immaculate Heart Sisters in Pico Heights. The bishop set out by rail for Saint Louis where he stayed and rested briefly at Kenrick Seminary. Then he journeyed to New York and a visit with [p.297] the Paulist Fathers. After a short meeting with James Cardinal Gibbons,11 the retired bishop of Monterey-Los Angeles left on November 4 for Genoa in the Ems.

lira’s influence did not end with his departure, fοr his name was “enshrined as a zealous Father and a model prelate— a true shepherd, one never to be forgotten by the flock that he ruled for nearly a quarter of a century.12

The Final Days

A notice published in the southland’s Catholic paper in 1897 thus described the activities of Bishop lira’s retirement:

To the hosts of friends and admirers in the Golden State it will be a source of rejoicing to know that between presiding at college fetes, administering Confirmation in crowded churches, and pontificating at solemn Masses, His Lordship has a busy time of it— a fact which proves that his native air has wrought a wonderful improvement in his health and which happily, too, affords hopes that the vigor that once animated him during a lengthened episcopal life by the shores of the Pacific may be so restored that the autumn of his years may be blessed by the ability of still continuing the performance of these pastoral dutics.13

In fact, the bishop’s final years were far less active than the aforesaid prognosis may have indicated. Mora continued to suffer considerably from the after-effects of the carriage accident and much 0f his meagre income was used to defray medical expenses.14 José Marius Cohade, who had served Mora during the prelate’s many years at Saint Vibiana’s Cathedral, continued to look after the bishop in Sarria as did Mora’s niece, Rosa. Except fοr an annual summer trek to San Baudilio of Llusans in the country, the bishop remained at his second-story flat in Sarria, at Number 9 Dr. Robert Street,15 where he was privileged to reserve the Blessed Sacrament in his small private chapel.

lira’s health declined appreciably early in 1905. In July he wrote to Bishop Thomas J. Conaty:16

I am very sick: cannot walk or stand. Since October last I have been in the room, but saying part of the Office, and hearing lass and receiving Communion when I can,... I expect this state of things will not last...17

On July 27, lora was seized by cerebral congestion from which he [p.298] never rallied. He was anointed five days later by his friend of many years, Father Joachim Adam. The local pastor, lira’s confessor, his family, and a few friends were summoned late the following day. At 7:45 p.m., on the 32nd anniversary of his episcopal consecration, Bishop Francis lora expired.18

His demise elicited only a small passing reference in the ecclesiastical journal of the local diocese:

El 3 del presente Agosto, en Sarria, El Ilmo. y Rimo. Sr: D.D. Francisco Mora, Obispo titular de Hierapolis, y dimisionario de la Diïcesis de Monterey-Los Angeles, en California, a la edad de 79 aiôïs.1 9

Press accounts in the secular press of nearby Barcelona reported the prelates death a bit more expansively:

El Ilmo. Sefior D. Francisco Moray Burrell, Obispo de Hierapolis. Ha fallecido en Sarria habiendo recibido los Santos Sacramentos. Sus afligidos sobrinos, primos y los Albaceas testamentarios Rdo. Padra Joachim Adam, José Tous, Enrique Adam y su familiar D. José Marius participan a sus amigos tan sensible perdida y les ruegan le tengan presente en sus oraciones y se sirvan asistir a la conduccion del cadaver; que se veriflcard hoy, sdbado, a las nueve desde la casa mortuoria calle del Doctor Robert, no. 9, a la iglesia parroquial de San Vicente de Sarria, en donde se celebrará del oficio de cuerpo presente, y desde allí a1 cemete-rio de dicho pueblo.20

By his own decision, the funeral obsequies were performed with little solemnity. The local Capuchins provided a simple wooden box in which lira’s remains, dressed in pontifical garb, were placed. On August 5, the coffin was transported to the Church of San Vicente for the final liturgical ceremonies. The Requiem lass was clebrated by Bishop Peter Verdaguer who had been enroute from Gerona when notified of lira’s death. A small scattering of neighbors, a score of priests, and the secretary of Salvador Cardinal Casanas, Bishop of Urgel, assisted at the services. At the conclusion of the lass, lira’s remains were taken to their resting place by the Capuchins.