Glennon, John Joseph
GLENNON, JOHN JOSEPH
Cardinal; b. County Meath, Ireland, June 14, 1862;d. Dublin, Ireland, March 9, 1946. Although he was born in Ireland, the previous residence of his father in New Jersey brought him U.S. citizenship at birth. He completed his courses at All Hallows College, Dublin, at the age of 21, and went to Kansas City, Mo., to work under Bp. John J. Hogan until he had attained the canonical age for ordination. Glennon was ordained in Kansas City's cathedral on Dec. 20, 1884. A year at the University of Bonn gave him knowledge, valuable later, of the German language
and people. After returning to Kansas City, he became successively vicar-general, administrator, and finally coadjutor bishop of the diocese.
Less than seven years after his consecration on June 29, 1896, he was transferred to the coadjutorship of St. Louis, Mo. When Abp. John J. Kain died on Oct. 13, 1903, Glennon succeeded as the youngest resident archbishop in the U.S. The need for a new cathedral had been recognized by his two predecessors. Abp. John Ireland has been credited with suggesting its construction at the conferring of Glennon's pallium, the insignia of office, in 1905. However, Glennon himself had already called on his clergy for contributions. A St. Louis architect, George D. Barnett, was chosen; Glennon turned the first spadeful of earth in 1907; and the first Mass was offered in the uncompleted structure seven years later. Although the building was finished in his lifetime, the adornment of the massive cathedral continued after his death.
The new Kenrick Seminary was opened in 1915 and at the same time Glennon purchased a home in St. Louis for use as a preparatory seminary. In 1918, the centenary of the advent of Bp. Louis W. Dubourg, the 100th parish was established within the city of St. Louis. The system of diocesan high schools that Glennon began prior to World War I contributed much to Catholic education. He used his episcopal jubilee gifts in 1921 to erect Rosati-Kain High School for girls. Shortly thereafter a new boys' school, McBride Memorial, was built with a large benefaction connected with his jubilee. Through all these projects the archdiocese remained free of debt and Glennon's economic acumen caused his advice to be sought extensively.
Second only to Glennon's reputation as a builder was his nationwide fame as an orator. Best remembered is his address at the Eucharistic Congress in his native Ireland in 1932, although he preached also at congresses in Chicago, Montreal, Buenos Aires, and Budapest. Less well known were his significant activities in the field of immigration and colonization. He organized the Colonization Realty Company in 1905 to attract Catholic colonists from overcrowded cities of the U.S. East Coast and from Europe to the farmlands of Missouri. He also encouraged the National Catholic Rural Life Movement. In 1911 he began the organization of charity in his archdiocese through the Catholic Charities and Kindred Activities of St. Louis. He sponsored also such institutions as Father Dempsey's Hotel for the homeless and Father Dunne's Newsboys' Home and Protectorate, and he was one of the founders of the National Catholic War Council, which was later transformed into the National Catholic Welfare Conference. He was still active in his eighth decade, when he was elevated to the College of Cardinals at the age of 83. During the trip to Rome he was afflicted by bronchitis, and he died while stopping at the home of President Sean O'Kelly of Eire on his way back to the U.S. His body was buried in the crypt of the Cathedral of St. Louis.
Bibliography: Archives, Archdiocese of St. Louis. j. e. rothensteiner, History of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, 2 v. (St. Louis 1928). t. b. morgan, Speaking of Cardinals (New York 1946).
[p. j. rahill]