Mazzuchelli, Samuel

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Dominican missionary and founder of the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters; b. Milan, Italy, Nov. 4, 1806; d. Benton, Wis., Feb. 23, 1864. Mazzuchelli was the son of Louis Mazzuchelli, a Milanese banker, and Rachel (Merlini) Mazzuchelli. He was educated by the Somaschi Fathers at Lugano and entered the Dominican Order at St. Andrew's, Faenza, where he made his profession on Dec. 6, 1824. After study at S. Sabina and the Minerva in Rome, he was sent to the American missions in 1828. After being ordained in Cincinnati, Ohio, by Bp. Edward D. Fenwick, OP, on Sept. 5, 1830, he was assigned to Mackinac, Mich., where no priest had resided for 60 years.

Working among the scattered settlers of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and northeastern Wisconsin, he built the first church in Wisconsin at Green Bay and established a school for Menominee children. Beginning in 1833, he visited the Winnebago near Portage, Wis., and compiled a prayer book for their use, perhaps the first publication in their dialect. When obliged to leave these missions, he settled in Galena, III., and Dubuque, Iowa; in 1835 he began churches in both villages. With the erection of the See of Dubuque in 1837 and the arrival of Bp. Matthias Loras in 1839, Mazzuchelli became vicar-general of the diocese. He built more than 20 churches and designed the old Market House in Galena. The courthouses in Galena; Ft. Madison, Iowa; and Dodgeville, Iowa; were his design, and he was responsible in part for the planning and design of the old state capitol in Iowa City, Iowa.

In 1843, after a serious illness, Mazzuchelli returned to Milan, where he published his Memoirs. In 1844, he became a missionary apostolic authorized to establish the Dominican Order on the banks of the upper Mississippi; the following year he founded a novitiate and built several small churches. He opened Sinsinawa Mound College for boys in southwestern Wisconsin, 1846. Three years later, when his collaborators failed him, he turned the foundation over to the Dominican Fathers of St. Joseph's Province. He continued, however, to direct a small community of Dominican Sisters that he had initiated at Sinsinawa in 1847 and that he transferred to Benton, Wis., in 1852. He resided as pastor at Benton from 1849 until he died while ministering to the sick during an epidemic.

Bibliography: r. crepeau, Un Apôtre Dominicain aux États Unis: Le Père Samuel Charles Gaétan Mazzuchelli (Paris 1932). s. mazzuchelli, The Memoirs of Father Samuel Mazzuchelli, tr. m. armato and m. finnegan (Chicago 1967). m. n. mcgreal, Samuel Mazzuchelli O.P.: A Kaleidoscope of Scenes from His Life (Sinsinawa, Wis. 1994).

[j. b. walker]