Haid, Leo Michael

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Bishop; b. near Latrobe, Pa., July 15, 1849; d. Belmont, N.C., July 24, 1924. He was the son of German immigrants. Entering the scholasticate of St. Vincent Abbey, Latrobe, he was admitted in 1868 to the novitiate and made his profession on Sept. 17, 1869. Following ordination on Dec. 21, 1872, he served at St. Vincent College, Latrobe, as professor, chaplain, and secretary. On July 14, 1885, he was elected first abbot of Maryhelp Abbey (Belmont Abbey) in Garibaldi, N.C., which had been a priory since 1876. He received the abbatial blessing on Nov. 26, 1885, in Charleston, S.C. In 1886 he opened a seminary and began construction of buildings for the lay school, which was chartered as St. Mary's College. He persuaded the townsfolk to call their settlement Belmont and in 1913 the school was renamed Belmont Abbey College. On Dec. 7, 1887, Haid was appointed vicar apostolic of North Carolina and titular bishop of Messene. He was consecrated at Baltimore, Md., July 1, 1888, by Cardinal James Gibbons.

The interests of the abbot-bishop were necessarily divided. At Belmont the seminary trained diocesan priests; the college grew; and an abbey church was constructed. Throughout the vicariate churches, schools, and charitable institutions were established. In 1889 Haid was placed in charge of the Florida Benedictine missions, which became St. Leo Conventual Priory in 1894 and an abbey in 1902. From 1890 to 1902 he was president of the American Cassinese Congregation. He founded St. Joseph's Institute near Bristow, Va. (1893), Sacred Heart Priory, Savannah, Ga. (1902), and St. Benedict Priory, Richmond, Va. (1911). On June 8, 1910, Pius X withdrew eight counties from the vicariate to constitute Belmont an abbey nullius. Haid was named assistant at the pontifical throne and count of the apostolic palace on July 15, 1914.

Bibliography: t. oestreich, Dictionary of American Biography, ed. a. johnson and d. malone, 10 v. (reissue New York 1957; suppl. 1958) 4.2:8889.

[a. g. biggs]