Bishop, William Howard

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Founder of the Glenmary Home Missioners; b. Washington, D.C., Dec. 19, 1885; d. Glendale, Ohio, June 11, 1953. His mother, Ellen Teresa Knowles, was a Catholic; his father, Francis Besant Bishop, a rural doctor, was received into the Church by Cardinal Gibbons. Bishop was educated in Washington public schools, attended Harvard College from 1907 to 1908, and St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore. He was ordained for the Archdiocese of Baltimore on March 27, 1915, and was sent to study at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. In 1917 he became pastor of St. Louis parish, Clarksville, Maryland. With the approval of Abp. Michael J. Curley he founded the Archdiocesan League of the Little Flower to aid needy rural pastors. In 1925 he organized the Archdiocesan Rural Life Conference of Baltimore, the first of its kind in the United States. He became president of the National Rural Life Conference in 1928 and served in that capacity until 1933.

In the 1930s, when the unemployed were looking to the national government for relief, Bishop took courses in agriculture and studied the complex economic problems associated with it. Concern for the spiritual malaise of the country led him to compile statistics that he set forth on his "No-Priest Land" map; they showed that nearly half the counties of the United States were without resident priests.

In March of 1936 Bishop published a plan for a society of Catholic home missions to operate in rural sections where Catholics numbered as few as one-tenth of 1 percent of the population (see glenmary home mission ers). The following year he was invited to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati by Abp. John T. McNicholas to found such a society. Within two years he had acquired six students and a priest; by 1949 he had started a theological seminary at Glendale, Ohio. The Glenmary Lay Brothers Society and the Glenmary Home Mission Sisters were also organized by Bishop and received approval from the Holy See before his death.

Bibliography: h. w. santen, Father Bishop, Founder of the Glenmary Home Missioners (Milwaukee 1961). c. j. kauffman, Mission to Rural America: The Story of W. Howard Bishop, Founder of Glenmary (New York, 1991).

[c. f. borchers]

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Bishop, William Howard

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