Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Missionary Bishop: Jean-Marie Odin in Galveston and New Orleans

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Missionary Bishop: Jean-Marie Odin in Galveston and New Orleans

Article excerpt

Missionary Bishop: Jean-Marie Odin in Galveston and New Orleans. By Patrick Foley. Foreword by Gilbert R. Cruz. (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2013. Pp. [xviii), 206. $40.00, ISBN 978-1 60344-824-6.)

Ecclesiastical biographies are still necessary in American Catholic historiography, which is why Patrick Foley's new book on Jean-Marie Odin is so welcome. Bom on February 25, 1800, in the small hamlet of Hauteville in southeastern France, Odin was the seventh of ten children. Raised in a devout Catholic family, young Odin expressed interest in the priesthood at an early age, entering seminary in 1814. While still in seminary, he decided to depart for the United States, arriving in New Orleans, Louisiana, on July 11, 1822. Odin completed seminary in Perryville, Missouri, and Bishop Louis DuBourg of New Orleans ordained him to the priesthood on May 4, 1823. A year and a half later, in January 1825, Odin joined the Congregation of the Mission, or the Vincentians, a religious group started in France in the seventeenth century that founded the Barrens Seminary in Missouri in 1818.

Odin served at the Barrens Seminary from 1823 to 1840, eventually becoming its rector. He quickly earned the reputation as a disciplined and holy priest. On July 13, 1840, Odin arrived with three other Vincentian clerics at Lavaca Bay to begin a missionary tour of Texas. On July 31, 1841, the Vatican named Odin vicar apostolic for Texas, meaning Odin was now elevated to the rank of bishop, yet with no designated diocese. On March 6, 1842, Odin was formally consecrated into the hierarchy in a New Orleans cathedral. In 1847 Pope Pius IX erected the Diocese of Galveston, which corresponded to the political boundaries of Texas.

Odin reestablished a Catholic presence in the Lone Star State, an area long neglected since the Spanish colonial era. …

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