Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

American -- Bishop East of the Rockies: The Life and Letters of John Baptist Miege, S. J. by Herman J. Muller

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

American -- Bishop East of the Rockies: The Life and Letters of John Baptist Miege, S. J. by Herman J. Muller

Article excerpt

Bishop East of the Rockies: The Life and Letters of John Baptist Miege, S.J. By Herman J. Muller, S.J. (Chicago: Loyola University Press. 1994. Pp. xii, 198. $13.95 paperback.)

John Baptist Miege, S.J. (1815-1884), was a Savoyard priest who became one of the pioneer bishops of the American West. Leaving Europe in 1848 during an era of anticlericalism and revolution, Miege dedicated himself to missionary work on the Great Plains, soon being appointed Vicar Apostolic of all Indian Territory east of the Rocky Mountains--from the Canadian border on the north to Texas on the south. There he ministered to scattered Indian tribes, and, as white civilization entered the area, witnessed "Bleeding Kansas: the Colorado Gold Rush, and the Civil War. His varied career included attendance at the First Vatican Council, a fund-raising tour of South America (needed to pay off the debt incurred in the construction of his resplendent Leavenworth cathedral), and service as the first rector-president of Detroit College.

Herman J. Muller, S.J., has written an engaging biography of this prelate whose life was a panorama of so much of nineteenth-century Catholicism. Muller's book, befitting its "life and letters" subtitle, includes copious quotations from the letters of Miege and other priests who worked with him. Perhaps the best aspect of the book is its presentation of slices of everyday life on the three continents of Europe, North America, and South America. …

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