1816
Joseph Rosati, The first American bishop of Italian descent.


Joseph Rosati(1789-1843) who came to America to begin his ministry west of the Mississippi River, was born in the Frosinone province of Italy in 1789 and became a priest of the Congregation of the Mission (Vencentians) in 1811. For several years Fr. Rosati diligently engaged in parish work in the area of Rome and Naples. In 1816, upon the appeal of the bishop of Louisiana, Fr. Rosati, along with other Vincentian and Lazarist order priests, came to the United States to assume missionary work in western Kentucky and Vincennes, Indiana. Piedmontese born Fr. Felix de Andreis who headed the Lazaraists in America was responsible for establishing the Seminary of St. Mary, the first Catholic institution of its kind west of the Mississippi River. In 1817, upon the death of Fr. DeAndreis, Fr. Rosati was named president of the new seminary that was opened in St. Louis, and where he also taught courses. This was later to be called St. Mary's College. In 1829 Fr. Rosati encouraged the Jesuit order to build an institution of higher learning that became St. Louis University.

In 1824, when the Louisiana diocese was divided into two dioceses, Rosati was named bishop of St. Louis where for decades he oversaw the development of numerous schools including the first school for the deaf west of the Mississippi River. He also founded orphanages, hospitals, and churches, including the Basilica of St. Louis the King, a monumental house of worship. Fr. Rosati was also in various provincial councils held in Baltimore that were important in translating papal documents. For a time he functioned as Apsotolic delegate to Haiti on behalf of the Pope and worked to produce a concordat between the Vatican and that country. Although he died in Italy, in 1970 his remains were transferred to the crypt in the St. Louis cathedral he had built.






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