Cataldo, Joseph Mary

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Jesuit missionary; b. Terracina, Italy, March 17, 1837; d. Pendleton, Ore., April 9, 1928. He was the son of Antonio and Sebastiana (Borusso) Cataldo. He became a Jesuit novice on Dec. 23, 1852, and was ordained on Sept. 8, 1862, in Liège, Belgium. Two days later he departed for the U.S., where he studied and taught at Santa Clara College, Calif., until 1865. From 1865 to 1877 he worked among the Nez Percé, Coeur d'Alène, and Spokane native peoples, whose languages he mastered. Before his death he had learned eight native tongues and two Alaskan languages in addition to French and English.

Appointed superior of the Jesuit Rocky Mountain Mission in 1877, Cataldo sent missionaries to the Gros Ventres, Crow, Blackfoot, Assiniboine, and Arapaho tribes in Montana; to the Cheyenne in Wyoming; the Okanogan in Washington; the Umatilla in Oregon; and the Alaskan Eskimos. He founded Gonzaga College, Spokane, Wash. (1883), and approved the establishment of Immaculate Conception College, Seattle, Wash.(1892). After he was replaced as superior in 1893, he worked with the native people of Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Alaska and with the settlers in the Pacific Northwest. His greatest attachment was to the Nez Percé at St. Joseph's Mission, Culdesac, Idaho, for whom he wrote a prayerbook and a life of Christ in the Nez Percé language.

Bibliography: w. n. bischoff, The Jesuits in Old Oregon (Caldwell, Idaho 1945). r. c. carriker, "Joseph M Cataldo, SJ: Courier of Catholicism to the Nez Percés," in Churchmen and the Western Indians, ed. c. a. milner, ii and f. a o'neil (Norman, Okla. 1985) 109139.

[w. n. bischoff]