Second archbishop of the baltimore, Maryland Archdiocese, president of Georgetown College, Washington, D.C.; b. Port Tobacco, Maryland, Oct. 15, 1746;d. Baltimore, June 18, 1817. Neale was born of an old Maryland family, son of William and Anne Neale. At about the age of 12, he was sent to Europe to obtain his education under Catholic auspices, a privilege he could not enjoy in the colony. After his course at St. Omer's in French Flanders, he entered the Society of Jesus on Sept. 7, 1767. At the time of the suppression of the Society in 1773 he was a priest and still engaged in the study of theology. He then went to England and from there to Demarara in British Guiana as a missionary.
In 1783, Neale returned to Maryland and was assigned to the mission of Port Tobacco. When the yellow fever plague of 1793 in Philadelphia took the lives of Lorenz Graessel, who had been named coadjutor bishop of Baltimore, and Francis Anthony Fleming, OP, Neale went to Philadelphia and was soon named its vicar-general by Bp. John carroll. During Neale's ministry in that city, he met Miss Alice Lalor and helped her to found the first community of Visitation Nuns in the U.S.
In 1798, Carroll called Neale to the presidency of Georgetown College. While retaining this post, he was selected as Carroll's coadjutor and was consecrated bishop of Gortyna in the procathedral of St. Peter's in Baltimore on Dec. 7, 1800, the first time this ceremony was performed in the U.S. Neale joined Carroll in 1803 in writing to Gabriel Gruber, superior of the Jesuits in Russia, to present the petition of the former Jesuits to be joined with the Society of Jesus still existing in White Russia. Moreover, Neale's support of this project continued until the viva voce restoration was effected in 1806. He likewise rejoiced with the Jesuits at their final and complete restoration throughout the world in 1814.
On the death of Carroll, Dec. 3, 1815, Neale succeeded to the metropolitan See of Baltimore, receiving the pallium from Pius VII the following year. One of his first acts was to request from the Holy See the formal approval of the Visitation community at Georgetown. His episcopate was sorely tried by schisms in Philadelphia and Charleston, South Carolina. Burdened by these troubles, he sought a coadjutor and selected the Sulpician, Ambrose Maréchal. The latter's appointment as titular bishop of Stauropolis on July 24, 1817, came about a month after the archbishop's death. Neale is buried in a crypt beneath the altar of the convent chapel of the Visitation Convent in Georgetown, Washington, D.C.
Bibliography: m. brislen, "The Episcopacy of Leonard Neale," Historical Records and Studies of the U. S. Catholic Historical Society of New York 34 (1945) 20–111. p. k. guilday, The Life and Times of John Carroll, Archbishop of Baltimore, 1735–1818 2 v. (Westminster, Md. 1954). a. m. melville, John Carroll of Baltimore (New York 1955).
[j. m. daley]