Barbelin, Felix Joseph

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Pastor and educator; b. Lunéville, Lorraine, France, May 30, 1808; d. Philadelphia, Pa., June 8, 1869. After education in French schools and seminaries, he became a Jesuit in Maryland in 1831, was ordained on Sept. 22, 1835, and taught at Georgetown University. He served as an assistant at St. Joseph's, Philadelphia, and became pastor there in 1844, remaining in that post until his death. He inaugurated the first parish sodality at St. Joseph's (1841) and established a St. Vincent de Paul conference and a free school for girls in Philadelphia. The Italian congregation he organized developed into the first Italian Catholic parish in Philadelphia. He gathered the first African American congregation in Philadelphia and established a school for African American children. He founded St. Joseph's Hospital and established St. Joseph's College, Philadelphia, serving as its first and third president. He also conducted a night school for adults.

Bibliography: j. m. daley, St. Joseph's Church, Willing's Alley (Philadelphia 1963). f. x. talbot, Jesuit Education in Philadelphia (Philadelphia 1927). Records of the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia. Woodstock Letters.

[h. j. nolan]