Kindekens, Peter

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Founder of the American College of Louvain; b. Denderwindeke, Belgium, date unknown; d. Detroit, Michigan, March 23, 1873. Before his ordination on Sept. 24, 1842, he offered his services to bishop Peter Paul lefevere of Detroit. On coming to the United States, he became Lefevere's vicar-general. He served as director of St. Thomas Seminary, Detroit, which opened in 1846, and designed the new cathedral in Detroit, begun in 1845. In 1856 he was sent to Rome to represent Lefevere in a controversy with the redemptorists of the diocese. There, on behalf of archbishop Francis P. kenrick of Baltimore, Maryland, Kindekens inquired into the possibility of establishing an American College at Rome. Conditions there were unfavorable, but it seemed possible to found a similar college at Louvain, Belgium. On his return to America, Kindekens sent a circular letter to the bishops of the United States proposing this idea. Bishops Lefevere and Martin J. spalding adopted the project, and Kindekens was sent to Louvain early in 1857 to establish the college. During his two and a half years as rector, he purchased a house and property, opened the seminary, and obtained financial support from Belgian and German donations. He admitted at least 30 students and sent nine to the missions of America, most of them to the Diocese of Detroit. In 1860 he surrendered his office to John de neve and returned to his duties as vicar-general of Detroit.

Bibliography: j. d. sauter, The American College of Louvain, 18571898 (Louvain 1959). g. pare, The Catholic Church in Detroit, 17011888 (Detroit 1951).

[j. d. sauter]