de Andrea, Miguel
DE ANDREA, MIGUEL
Argentine bishop and social leader; b. Navarro, Buenos Aires, 1877; d. Buenos Aires, 1960. He was ordained in Rome in 1899, and held various posts in his native city, including that of rector of the Catholic University of Buenos Aires. His chief position from 1912 until his death was parish priest of San Miguel. He was consecrated titular bishop of Temnos in 1919, and served as founder and adviser of the Argentine Popular Union and of his favorite project, the House of Working Women, which has not declined in importance since his death. In 1923, following the death of Archbishop Espinosa, the president of Argentina, Marcelo T. de Alvear, urged the Holy See to appoint De Andrea as his successor. For very confidential reasons that were never divulged, the Holy See refused to do so. The scandal was great and caused shock and disunity among the Catholics. The nuncio, Beda Cardinale, was dismissed by the government, and the Jesuits were considered enemies of the country since they did not adhere to the regalist traditions that the country had inherited from Spain. The anti-Catholic elements played an important part in augmenting the schism between the Catholics of both factions. Three bishops—Alberti, of La Plata; Orzali, of San Juan; and De Andrea—were not as prudent as they should have been in such compromising circumstances.
Both before and after that unpleasant event, from 1911 until his death, De Andrea was not only a spokesman for the social encyclicals, but a man of action, who worked ceaselessly to implement their directives in factories, shops, and all kinds of undertakings, promoting and obtaining laws on accidents that occurred at work, repression of alcoholism, employee retirement, construction of low–cost housing, regulations for piecework at home, healthful conditions in factories, etc. In 1919 he organized a memorable campaign to build low–cost housing developments for workers. It was very successful, and resulted in the construction of some 400 homes in suitable locations within the city limits of Buenos Aires. He was a great preacher and an excellent speaker. Far from being strident, his words fell slowly, gently, on the ears of those who listened to him and encouraged them to think. He knew how to descend to the level of children, whose catechism classes in his own parish he himself directed.
Bibliography: a. romero carranza, Itinerario de monseñor de Andrea (Buenos Aires 1957).