Chatard, Francis Silas
CHATARD, FRANCIS SILAS
Fifth bishop of Vincennes (now indianapolis), Ind.; b. Baltimore, Md., Dec. 13, 1834; d. Indianapolis, Sept. 7, 1918. Both his father, Ferdinand, and his paternal grandfather, Pierre, an emigrant from Santo Domingo, West Indies, were physicians in Baltimore; his mother was Eliza Anne Marean of Massachusetts. Chatard attended St. Francis Xavier Institute, Baltimore, and Mt. St. Mary's College, Emmitsburg, Maryland, from which he graduated in 1853. He received his degree in medicine from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1856, and served for a year as resident physician in the Baltimore Alms House, which later became the City Hospital.
Chatard abandoned medicine to enter the Urban College of Propaganda Fide, Rome, Nov. 5, 1857, as a student of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. He was ordained in Rome by Cardinal Constantine Patrizi June 14, 1862; he received his doctorate in theology in 1863 and was appointed vice rector of the North American College, Rome, assisting William McCloskey. In 1868 Chatard became prorector of the college and in 1871 was officially named rector. Pius IX appointed him papal chamberlain in 1875. Although Chatard was a capable college administrator, he encountered financial difficulties under the new Italian regime, and made a visit to the United States in 1877 to appeal for support. The following year Leo XIII named him to the diocese of Vincennes, and he was consecrated in the North American College chapel on May 12, 1878. Extensive reorganization marked his episcopal administration. He summoned synods in 1878, 1880, 1886, and 1891; raised the status of the clergy; improved the schools; encouraged the founding of hospitals and religious institutions; and established 47 new parishes and missions. After the title of his see had been changed to Indianapolis (1898), he built SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral, in the crypt of which he is buried.
In the ecclesiastical controversies of the day, among which the question of secret societies was of particular concern to him, Chatard was classed among the conservatives. He represented the Province of Cincinnati in the Roman meetings preliminary to the Third Plenary, Council of Baltimore, and also wrote numerous articles for American magazines, chiefly the Paulist periodical Catholic World. Some of his formal lectures were published as Occasional Essays (1881) and Christian Truths (1881), and he translated Abbé G. Chardon's Memoirs of a Seraph (2 v. 1888).
Bibliography: h. j. alerding, A History of the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Vincennes (Indianapolis 1883). c. blanchard, ed., History of the Catholic Church in Indiana, 2 v. (Logansport, Ind. 1898). r. f. mcnamara, The American College in Rome: 1855–1955 (Rochester 1956).