Pise, Charles Constantine
PISE, CHARLES CONSTANTINE
Educator, editor, historian; b. Annapolis, Md., Nov. 22, 1801; d. Brooklyn, N.Y., May 26, 1866. He was the son of Louis and Margaret (Gamble) Pise. After attending Georgetown College (later University), Washington, D.C., he joined the Society of Jesus and went to Rome as a scholastic. Shortly thereafter, he left the Jesuits to
prepare for the secular priesthood, probably at Mt. St. Mary's Emmitsburg, Md., although he may also have attended St. Mary's Seminary and College, Baltimore, Md. He taught at Mt. St. Mary's, where his students included two future archbishops of New York, John Hughes and John McCloskey. McCloskey later attributed his priestly vocation largely to the counsel Pise had given him at Emmitsburg. After his ordination March 19, 1825, Pise continued to teach at Emmitsburg and also for a time at the newly founded seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio. Between 1827 and 1832 he served at the cathedral in Baltimore and then at St. Patrick's in Washington, where he became friendly with Pres. John Tyler and Sen. Henry Clay and was elected Chaplain of the U.S. Senate (1832–33), the first Catholic priest to hold this position. At the invitation of Bp. John Dubois, Pise went to New York and served at St. Patrick's Cathedral and as pastor of St. Peter's parish. In 1850 he transferred to Brooklyn and was founder and pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Church until his death.
Pise achieved a national reputation as a preacher and polemicist; he delivered his noted panegyric on Charles Carroll of Carrollton at Georgetown a month after the death (1832) of the signer of the Declaration of Independence. In 1848, at the request of Bp. John Fitzpatrick, he lectured in Boston against the bigotry of the times. For a time he edited the Metropolitan, and he was coeditor with Rev. Felix Valera of the Catholic Expositor and with Rev. Joseph Schneller of the Weekly Reporter and Catholic Diary. Pise's works included a five-volume History of the Catholic Church (1827–30), Christianity and the Church (1850), Aletheia (1845), and a poem, "The American Flag," written to answer the Know-Nothing charge that a Catholic could not be a good American.
Bibliography: m. m. meline and e. f. mcsweeney, The Story of the Mountain, 2 v. (Emmitsburg, Md. 1911). j. gurn, Charles Carroll of Carrollton (New York 1932).
[w. k. dunn]